I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently thinking about who we communicate with, why and whose responsibility is it to keep others up to date, check in and remember changes in plans.
Some of this has come from my daughter transitioning into adult health and social care, and also having to think and plan for the next education placement for her. The decision regarding her future education impacts on all aspects of her life and knowing who to tell and when is a bit of a minefield, especially when you are still in the fact finding and possible application stage. The list of ‘professionals’ involved in her life currently is quite extensive there is the career connect service (supporting moving from Post 16 to adult education), the current children’s social worker, the newly allocated adult social worker, the transition worker (linking the two services), her current school (do you contact the class teacher or head of upper school in the first instance?) and of course the possible future residential college that she hopes to attend. All of these people and services need to be involved in some way, so I’m left thinking what is the best way to communicate with them all? A simple hi, just thought I’d update you kind of email, a telephone call, or a more formal email?
I understand that communication is important, and we all stress how valuable good, clear lines of communication are, but I feel like there is little privacy in our lives whilst we ponder the future and how that might look for my daughter. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to share our thoughts, findings and plans until we absolutely have to, but the sensible and experienced parent in me knows that the more notice you give statutory agencies and the reasoning behind your decisions the more likely you are to get a positive outcome. If you leave an application for funding too late, you certainly won’t get it. If we apply for funding in good time, we stand a chance of appealing and fighting a negative outcome.
With regards to changes in plans, I’ve a small bug bear with my daughter’s PA, again connected to communication. We had verbally agreed a change in times from one week to the next. Earlier today I wondered to myself if the PA would remember the time changes, but was too busy to actually act on whether or not I should remind her. Low and behold, she arrives for her shift half an hour early (her usual time, not the agreed change). I explained that my daughter wasn’t ready yet as we were not expecting her. She was a little peeved and said that her text message from 3 weeks ago showed such a time. I reminded her of our verbal agreement, and she said she would return in 30 minutes time. Once the shift was completed I was left wondering if it was my responsibility to remind her of the changes. I know she is quite young and a little forgetful, so should I have text her to remind her of the later start? Should I accept some responsibility for the misunderstanding as I didn’t follow up the change with a text or email?
I have a feeling that I am going to encounter some positive and negative experiences of communication with ‘professionals’ in the coming months ahead, and will have to get used to sharing our decision making process with people who are in effect strangers that hold the power, and are the key access to my daughter’s start in to being an adult who just happens to need help and support to live her life.