Many parents find the amount of meetings and appointments they have to attend about their disabled child overwhelming. It can be really difficult to juggle all the demands of life, a family and all the additional responsibilities that go with having a child or young person with a disability.
Here are some tips from other parents which have helped parents reduce the stress of multiple meetings with health, education, social care professionals and others involved with their family.
Before The meeting
- Be clear about what the meeting is for. It sounds obvious, but sometimes meetings are arranged in advance, and when the time comes, things may have changed and the meeting may not be necessary, or issues can be sorted out over the phone – check with the person who set up the meeting
- Try to see the same professionals so you don’t have to keep repeating your story
- Write down a list of all the questions you would like to ask at the appointment or meeting
- If a meeting has been scheduled that does not fit in with your commitments, you can ask for it to be rescheduled. However, bear in mind that if a lot of professionals are requested to attend and the meeting is rescheduled, they may not be able to be there. Give as much notice as possible if you do need to reschedule
At the Meeting
- Take a friend, relative or someone from a charity for support at appointments and meetings. They can jot down notes as it can be hard to remember everything that is said
- If any professional says something that you don’t understand, ask them to explain it and don’t be afraid to ask any questions, even if you think they may be unimportant – if you are worrying about something, it is better to ask
- At the meeting, ask if there will be any notes or minutes taken and if so request a copy and ask how long it will take to receive them – it is not unheard of for professionals to take minutes and not circulate them until the day of the next meeting!
- If you do receive notes or minutes at the meeting, ask for time to read through them before the meeting starts, so you have a chance to ask any questions
After the Meeting
- After the meeting, if there are any actions to be done by either yourself or a worker, make sure they are written down so that at the next meeting there is a record and this can be followed up to make sure the action has been completed