As a parent, fighting for services for your child can lead you into loops and delays. Times when you don’t have an essential letter with you for example, or a report on your child that needs forwarding after appointments. To avoid delays in service provision, you can do a few things to stay in the game.
- Buy yourself a notebook or diary to track all appointments, contact details and progress. You will always have these notes as a back-up if you need someone’s name or the date of a past appointment. Whether you are noting audiology sessions, school visits or even phone calls, all dates are important and it takes just seconds to write them up.
- Save copies of all correspondence you receive and send. File all the originals in a folder. Make multiple copies to share as needed. Bring one folder with copies of all letters to every appointment. This way, you will always have referral letters with you. Follow up all phone-calls and correspondence. If someone says they will call you and they don’t, call them. At times like this, having names and dates is essential.
- Prepare for all meetings in advance. If you are meeting an audiologist or a visiting teacher, think ahead and list your questions. Sometimes you may have questions for a meeting, but only remember these afterward which can be too late. If there are services you want for your child, ask for straight-out answers rather than ‘maybe’s’ or ‘if’s’.
- Join social networks like IDK’s Facebook group. Getting advice from other parents can help. If you are stuck ‘in the system’, they may have a contact you need, or advise you on what to do next. The experiences of parents who have been there, can be a lifeline for ‘new’ parents.
Advocating for your child, making contacts, getting information and services from organizations can be very challenging. However, if you keep records, your job (and quality of life) as a parent or carer will improve markedly.
(compiled by Miriam Walsh)