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Catching more flies with honey... (problem solving)

(92 Posts)
BeeMom Fri 12-Jul-13 14:22:11

You may have heard the adage "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" and i have definitely found this is true, particularly dealing with the officious gints we encounter on this unusual journey that we are taking.

When I need something for the dcs, I try to do as much of the footwork for the "other party" as possible. I come to the meeting/discussion with the problem clearly defined and several potential solutions, including what I need to contribute, what they need to contribute, and what we can do together.

I know what is absolutely non-negotiable from my viewpoint, and where that does not match up with their non-negotiable points.

I also try and wrap my head around how I will react and what steps are next if my contributions are ignored or rebuffed. Surprisingly enough, I don't need to go into that "fallback" position very often.

I always try to remind myself that we do likely have the same goals (but very different motivations and limitations). Above all, I do my best to avoid becoming defensive or adversarial, not demanding or rigid, and I never expect to get my way (that way, it is a really nice surprise when I do).

I have lots of friends who ask how we manage to stay sane through all these challenges - and frankly I think that this is a big reason. We generally get what we ask for - not necessarily in the format we have requested, and definitely not right when we ask, but we eventually find a way to accomplish what we need.

I have come along to support friends at meetings, and seen how things go right down the plug hole as soon as they start to lose their temper, demand instead of ask, say where things are wrong instead of looking at the positive first... and once the first negative personal comments ("you are not doing..." "you are failing...") come out, the meeting might as well be over.

Maybe it is because a million years ago in my professional life, it was my job to work with people in exceptionally stressful situations, first as a paramedic, then working in mental health services. While I do find the lead-up to the meetings stressful, I rarely walk out of a meeting wanting to do away with every other person in the room.

However... there are still those days where you desperately want to hurl the vinegar bottle and watch the damn flies scatter... how do you manage to get through those times without damaging relationships permanently with the people you have to work with?

MumuDeLulu Fri 12-Jul-13 19:39:51

Truthfulness is often good, can cut through the damn flies.

"I'm feeling so frustrated re issue x, we need y to happen, it's hard to be so powerless <permit genuine tears>"

"How would you suggest tackling this if he were your nephew? [NB Always niece/ nephew. Never 'your child']"

"Unresolved Issue x is really damaging my trust in your service"

MumuDeLulu Fri 12-Jul-13 19:41:45

If the table needs to be banged, always delegate that. Ideally to a tame professional, but dad, auntie/ uncle or gran if need be.

BeeMom Sat 13-Jul-13 00:41:45

Thank you - particularly for the "your child" tip.

I have found that playing nicely and professionally (and being willing to defer, or at least prioritise) has almost entirely prevented the table banging... in fact, in Bee's life, only on one occasion has it truly been required (and exceptionally justified).

It led to someone's dismissal from their employment, as my complaint in the meeting was apparently the last straw (Bee was only 2 months old and in hospital at the time, the Managing Director of the Social Work department ended up involved because of this person's behaviour, and the SW in question was summarily dismissed).

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 08:16:57

I am glad you have a strategy which works for you but it absolutely wouldn't and doesn't work with my LA.

We have nothing like the 'same goals'. Their only motivation is keeping costs low. But even when costs are the same or not substantially increased, they have one way of doing things and so kick at doing anything differently. They don't agree to meet, discuss and even when everyone else agrees: school, parents, all professionals, they do whatever they like.

In fact it doesn't matter if I use vinegar or honey, the outcome is the same. They do nothing unless you take legal action against them.

So, my worry with what you say is that you are suggesting that success in 'getting what you want' is somehow down to the way a parent conducts themselves in a meeting. This is not my experience and it might lead to others blaming themselves for poor outcomes if they cannot be as professional and smooth as you.

I feel this is very rarely the case as whatever I say, I am rarely listened to in a way which makes a difference. I have years of prevarication, vile behaviour and having to take legal action to get them to follow the law. if they sit in a meeting and tell me they are concerned for my son, I shall tell them bluntly that concern for my son is my job and theirs is to educate him in accordance with the law.

The reality is that outcomes are more dependent on whether your LA is willing to follow the law than your own personal attributes.

Certainly, parents shouldn't feel they can only 'get what they want' if they are a smooth operator or that standing up for themselves will somehow result in a worse outcome for their child. There is every difference between rudeness and speaking your mind and parents should never be dissuaded from the latter or encouraged to develop some kind of Stockholm syndrome.

So yes, be firm and try not to be rude but remember flies play in shit most of the time and I think that is more important than the way you say things

squidworth Sat 13-Jul-13 08:40:49

This is dependent on the child as well, for me, two boys with needs so very different the same LA but two completely different approaches needed in gaining the support they need. With one it was very relaxed he is a child with clearly identified needs, I never had any problems with the LA (Lea, NHS, OT and SS), the other child I had to prove at all levels the needs and more important what was failing him, I never banged tables but I also was not up for compromise as generally what I was arguing against was the failing of there compromised provision.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 09:15:04

I think that is a good point. I think parents of children with Aspergers or so-called HFA can really struggle as there is so little in terms of provision and they 'look the same' as everyone else.

BeeMom Sat 13-Jul-13 13:15:27

OK, fair enough - I am ridiculous.

From the tones of some of the posts here, I wonder if the expectations are adversarial conflict because there has been so much water under the bridge that it has been washed away. I do acknowledge that support needs of less "involved" dcs can be more challenging (I have dealt with that myself, remember that I have a DS 7 years older than Bee who has HFA).

I guess I am living in Pollyanna land and should be fighting tooth and nail with all persons in authority instead of working to find mutually beneficial middle ground. Maybe I should not be willing to accept that my children with additional needs are my children 24/7 and only "belong" to the school for 6-7 hours a day, 172 days a year. Those are a lot of days and hours I have to work with them to help them with tasks and tools that are transferable to a school environment.

I will bow out gracefully before I am further told I am idiotic and delusional.

Iirc Bee, you are living in a different country and culture!?

bochead Sat 13-Jul-13 14:25:46

Beemom - I do think a LOT depends on the culture of your particular local gov. Mine are horrible, but it's not uniformly awful across the UK.

In my area a 14 yr HFA child has just committed suicide, and the attitudes of those in charge STILL aren't for changing. angry I'm not the only family I know who has been treated appallingly, & the ONLY time I've ever got bolshy was when I called the police after my son experienced his SECOND physical assault by those paid to look after him (the 1st time I didn't want to make enemies so didn't report). I come on here to let off the steam I dare not in RL.

I have friends who are praying the coroner can achieve what no one else has done - a sea change in attitudes. For myself I'm getting the hell out of dodge, before my child suffers any more damage at their hands. I don't have the parental rights you mention here, even on medical matters.

TBH BeeMom I don't disagree with you on a general level. But I'm pretty sure that the majority here started with the honey approach and only started to rock boats when they realised that it was being taken advantage of and that they were running out of time. Many on here lament the years they spent NOT arguing for their child.

I also don't think many people here demand or accuse. We all know to keep on topic, to the point and unemotional, with our tempers in check is the only way to keep our dignity or be taken seriously. The problem is when the professionals start accusing, banging tables and waffle on for hours on end as a diversion, or simply an emotional justification for some poor service as a reaction to a calm and well-reasoned respectful plea of a parent.

Your post has upset me. This is because what you say is a reflection of what so many believe 'out there' and it is dangerous to allow that belief to prevail because it automatically isolates parents as having a 'one off' bad experience or doubting themselves, and concludes with an apathy to change cultures or experiences which is where the route of the problems predominately lie.

These people might not be evil, but they behave in alarming ways towards parents who they see as dangerous to their belief system and culture. These parents are the ones who can present a reasoned argument calmly and politely, ask for evidence, refer to policy. These parents are asking for something many professionals have got away with ignoring for years allowing their egos to run their work unchallenged. The professionals are not used to accountability and are incredulous that they should have to explain themselves, especially when given the culture they are a part of they often can't.

That might not be their fault, but regardless, it IS their job. And their failure to do it impacts on the life chances of vulnerable children.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Jul-13 17:34:06

You are not delusional and I am really glad things have worked out for you.

But I am a sane, civilised, professional person and I'd like to think I am courteous and generous in my time.

This matters not a jot!

You mistake what I say. I do 'work with' people. I have a team of professionals who are completely onside but I have had to fight tooth and nail to get them in place. But this team of people helping me and my son makes no difference because it still doesn't stop the LA ignoring EVERYONE and choosing to not provision in place as if they were somehow separate from the evidence they have a duty to consider.

This is, of course, about costs. I know this. But with a son out of school and my life on hold for the third time in three years, and an LA ignoring everything everyone says, I have to say I am long passed thinking anything I say makes any difference so I may as well call it as I see it.

MumuDeLulu Sun 14-Jul-13 11:18:35

I think BeeMom's approach is the most effective one most of the time. Even when dealing with people who are failing us. Even though I agree with Star and IE's comments about the limitations of the 'nice' approach.

To continue the Stockholm analogy: the low-level guards staff don't have the authority to free us disregard policy, and banging the table makes it less likely they will disobey or challenge their illegal orders.

MumuDeLulu Sun 14-Jul-13 11:24:46

In fact, I profoundly disagree with analysis of the Stockholm syndrome proper as a psychiatric illness. For a powerless captive, it can be life saving. Being able to take on some of their captors' emotions and beliefs is generally an adaptive response, even with the inevitable side effects.

MumuDeLulu Sun 14-Jul-13 11:29:04

IE has escaped (for now), and mini-IE is at home for the moment.
Mini-Star has been transferred to a much more benign jurisdiction.
BeeMom (through Bee's need for care) is still dependent on the jailers

SallyBear Sun 14-Jul-13 12:28:39

Beemom. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have three DC with statements for a variety of reasons, and I strongly believe in fostering relationships. I have a good relationship with my LA, and because we have been "in the system" for the last 12 years I have learned who to talk to, who to avoid and who ultimately says yes.

Sally It upsets me that for those of us who have not managed to foster good relations with our LA's that anyone could consider it was our fault.

Who doesn't want a good relationship with their LA? Who hasn't tried and put thought and effort into their communications, meetings, thank you letters and end of year presents to ensure that as much gratitude and praise is given as possible for a smooth path and good partnership working.

I think sometimes it just takes one person to take a disliking to you for whatever reason for the internal communications to flow freely and damagingly. For us that was triggered by a parental request for SA before ds started school, against the recommendations of the Autism Advisory Team. It was pretty much game over from then on.

SallyBear Sun 14-Jul-13 13:05:37

Sadly, I do think that a Parental request for SA that goes against professionals is as you say often "game over". This happened to a friend of mine. She applied against school's wishes and when they went to the LA (same as mine btw), there was a definite sense that the decision was made even before the parents opened their mouths. The Ed Psych tried to swing it in the favour of the parents but the LA were having none of it as the HT had written a report which led them to be at sunk before they started. hmm

I've been very lucky, I've got the things I needed doing pretty much 90% of the time, whether I can swing getting DS1's hours increased from 20 to 30 is debatable but I've put in a good case with school's backing for the increase. We started off being joint funded by PCT and LA with DD 12 years ago, and I have had the same LA SEN case worker for the last 8 years. She's been brilliant. When DS4 needed to be moved from MS to SS she was very supportive and helped the process along by getting us onto the SS Approval panel at very short notice, as DS4 couldn't continue where he was.

I do think things were different 10 or so years ago.

We did get a SA and then statement on first go, with parent application. The Autism service weren't against it per se, only against it happening before ds started school iyswim because they didn't want to fund any preschool support. They were offering 1 hour a week of a nursery nurse in the home. 10 years ago they were offering 10-15 hours automatically, without statement or even dx. In fact just 8 years ago my LA was giving £10k to families towards a home programme preschool.

I'm not sure I had a choice but to go for a parental request. We were getting nothing, not even SALT. OT refused referral for ASD and the early intervention timebomb was ticking.

But parents before me had accepted this. So I was the black sheep, though only asking for my ds' legal entitlement.

SallyBear Sun 14-Jul-13 13:30:12

Then you were probably instrumental in facilitating this change in your area. There's a reason why we are all so doggedly determined to get the help that our children so obviously need. Sadly it's less of a battle for some to achieve this but a harder fight for others.

But at least we have MN SN board to spur us on. smile

No, I came along after they'd closed everything down.

They whinged at me all the time about their team having halved whilst the number of children dx at preschool had tripled like I would agree how unreasonable I was being in requesting a SA to secure some support at what they insisted could only be at the expense of other children.

How is that my responsibility to address? How was it my 3yr old ds'?

I was treated like I was greedy, grabbing and reported for DLA fraud by the LA as in their opinion there were other children more needy. Someone (a MNer at the time, perhaps still) was responsible for this and for reporting me to social services to make a request that I was never given respite.

This all appeared in the minutes of a governors meeting of a school we were considering for ds plus a claim that I had been banned from MN for SEN propaganda. The HT of that school chose to believe it all as if it were fact. For 2 years these plus other rumours had been circulated without me having a clue, and despite moving across county to get away from the rumours that I KNEW were being spread where I lived (delivered to me by my vicar).

Honestly. This post makes me sound insane. I'd forgotten it. I must depart now and write it up for IEs data capture campaign.

zzzzz Sun 14-Jul-13 14:00:09

star I've heard snippets of your life on here over the years. I have a poor memory and have been on my own roller coaster, so retain little. I'm not sure if I've ever posted how truly extraordinary and awful these glimpses of your story are. I don't for a second think they aren't true, or that you are insane. Your "voice" is very measured and often very wise. I suspect you should be very proud of yourself. HONK HONK.

tessietribunal Sun 14-Jul-13 14:20:18

These are the stories that you just couldn't make up but that sound so unbelievable. It's just awful what a lot of parents have to go through in simply trying to meet their children's needs.
This is the real danger - schools and professionals believing what they are told and pre-judging rather than reaching their own conclusions.
I do believe that my ds was pre-judged when we moved to a new school and nothing he could have done would have prevented them from having that view. It blighted his life there and any complaint by me was simply ignored by the school who always 'knew best'. sad

zzzzz Sun 14-Jul-13 14:20:38

As for "honey" not "vinegar", I don't think it makes that much difference where I live. I get on well, almost to a man with the professionals in ds's life. I am disgustingly presentable, articulate, and an all round box ticker. blush. On top of that I have "managed" people from an early age.

It makes little difference because what's on offer (pitifully little) is NOT productive or useful. I don't think it is rationed, I think it is a mirage.

The true difference between handling professionals well and getting their backs up/offending them, is that some professional when roused can be vicious. The "vinegar" group then have to deal with the onslaught to their self esteem, as well as coping with inadequate support.

bochead Sun 14-Jul-13 15:39:35

tbh I'm not & never have been a "confronter" by nature. Growing up with a younger sibling with SERIOUS behavioral challenges meant any of that was trained out of me before I ever went near anyone connected professionally with my own child.

I was trained into being a "smoother-over" and to always keep the peace before I was old enough to have any comprehension of what that might mean in adult relationships. I suspect some posters here may be raising NT siblings in a similar manner, whether or not they are aware it's happening.

My previous career (the one I had to give up through inability to get DS support) was built on my ability to create, build and foster relationships. For years I got new work solely(indy contractor) on the word of mouth from previous clients.

Just recently I've been planning a total lifestyle change, & it's been truly disconcerting to speak to people who don't automatically treating me like the crap off their shoe. Seriously - I think I may have to have counselling for it, it's been such a massive shock to my system! My friend had to pour me a large G&T Friday night when I had a mini-panic attack at this realisation, so unused had I become to not being the kicked dog.

I'm the same person, discussing the same child, in the same manner. The difference in perception is incredible from authorities that have even a fraction of the facilities my child needs.

Yes Boch. I'm somewhere new now and had to have a level of interaction with various professionals re having a baby and starting new schools etc.

I've been secretly gunning for them when they appear and am at a complete loss when they don't start attacking me but treat me like a responsible and caring adult.

Some of the old stuff has followed us, as the old LA took some delight in sending a heap of stuff 'to help' the new LA including their bloody contracted solicitor (wouldn't be surprised if old LA paid for him too such was the level of personal vendetta).

But all in all we've been left in peace, and the few phonecalls I have had with believe it or not parent partnership, have been sensible and helpful ones. And the council SEN plus admissions too.

I cannot work out what the difference is, because I'm the same, if not less patient and less willing to compromise than before.

zzzzz Sun 14-Jul-13 16:12:32

boc thanks for this,

I was trained into being a "smoother-over" and to always keep the peace before I was old enough to have any comprehension of what that might mean in adult relationships. I suspect some posters here may be raising NT siblings in a similar manner, whether or not they are aware it's happening.

You've highlighted something I need to address. thanks

Yes, thanks for me too, though I reckon it is probably what I am trying to achieve with dd but failing miserably.

And thanks zzzzz for your kind words. I read the post back myself and thought 'really?' But the sad thing there is more, quite a bit more. But for now it is peaceful. Do I rest or do I use my new found time to fight for others?

zzzzz Sun 14-Jul-13 16:30:33

What about writing it all down? It might be cathartic and allow you to make peace with what has happened, and it might help others to hear what did happen, and what you have learned. It also may help your children one day to understand how it was. I doubt very much whether the things we struggle with will make much sense in 30 years time, so it will be hard for them to understand the choices you made and battles you fought.

bochead Sun 14-Jul-13 17:01:43

What followed you?

Can I pm you? The worst event that happened to me was due to unfounded rumors about my "lifestyle". I've said I'm not confrontational, but I'm so offended by them that I will kick off if those follow me (probably via some torturous hideously expensive legal route), as they are VERY untrue iykwim.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 14-Jul-13 18:09:18

MumudeLulu - I absolutely agree on the adaptive response bit. I also think that, if you have achieved what you feel your child needs, it is easier to perceive your LA benignly and to attribute your outcome to your own persuasive powers of negotiation.

Many of us on here have had an awful, awful time at the hands of our LAs (incl Star and Boc and me) and we did not ask for it or encourage it by our own actions. This is tantamount to blaming the victim - 'your skirt's too short, what did you expect?' etc

I have held legal and policy jobs at the highest level where the utmost diplomacy was required. I have sat in meetings with MPs and had to argue complicated points in the politest possible way. I have advised on pragmatic policy approaches for NGOs. I spent years in courts using persuasive arguments. I am well-skilled at negotiation, research, preparation, and clear headed diplomacy.

But ALL of this is threatening to my LA. It is the very fact that I am able to put together a well-reasoned point and argument that makes me threatening and they bite back with a vengeance.

In fact, I know parents who rant and rave (and I don't blame them, they need support not condemnation) and the LA will deal with that happily all day. One parent I know regularly sent 'please help my son' emails with attached newspaper cuttings of ASD issues daily to the head of sen. The LA can deal with that until the cows come home so ignored him.

Me? Letters pressing home my son's legal entitlement to provision and the fact that the LA were in legal breach of their duty to arrange provision resulted in a determination that I was vexatious which was then circulated to everyone dealing with my son. When we moved schools, the new head was rung up and told about it. Luckily, he could see I was a perfectly reasonable person and school have supported my son ever since.

I just think if you have got what you want, and had a reasonably good experience, great! I am happy for you and wouldn't doubt what you say. But please don't attribute other people's bad experiences to them 'asking for it' somehow.

That is just offensive beyond belief.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 14-Jul-13 18:23:46

Beemom, I have just realised that you are not in the UK, are you?

I wonder if this makes a difference to your experience?

Absolutely not a criticism, I just genuinely wonder if different systems are better. That might have been something to consider when proposing new legislation.

MumuDeLulu Sun 14-Jul-13 20:42:15

IE, my dc has almost nothing of what is needed, despite my honeyed words. I'm not criticising the decisions of those who had to stand and fight the authorities. If I thought we had any chance, I'd be copying you. My posts are an attempt to explain the behaviour of those (like us) with very poor odds of winning the fight at the moment.

Pending escape, or the intervention of a powerful outsider, some unarmed hostages stand a better chance of surviving if we sweet-talk the captors. The danger is of giving up, of losing hope whilst biding our time and waiting for a chance.

BeeMom Mon 15-Jul-13 21:16:10

I live in Canada, where there are NO independent specialist schools, NO public funding for them, or publicly maintained specialist schools, so no amount of table banging will get them.

If you go back to the original post, I was actually asking for advice, which Mumu kindly offered - before the train derailed.

I honestly regret starting the topic - suggesting that I am blaming mothers is ridiculous and insulting, and I think that I'll recede into the Land of Lurk for a while, as unless you are ready to go hammer and tongs against your LA, you don't fit.

Maybe when things fall apart and I am unable to negotiate, compromise and reason with the individuals that work with me to support my children, then I'll be welcome.

Again, mea culpa.

Isn't it true that parents of children diagnosed before school age get a lump sum to spend on therapy? I have a couple of friends with children who have ASD that say they got this, and that Canada is much faster at dx in the first place.

If that is true, then the overall culture is one of support and early intervention is real, if under-funded, rather than a charade of pretence.

Have to add that how you are treated as a parent when you first get a diagnosis kind of sets the tone.

If it is 'oh well, bad luck, bye' then the parent has no choice but to start to find out their children's rights.

This is a document I was sent re Ontario which I could only dream was the attitude and recommendations in the UK.

The focus is on accountability, evidence-based practice and generally high expectations for children with ASD.

I'm certain that families face all kinds of problems on their journeys, but with this document as their backdrop is nothing short of a dream here.

zzzzz Mon 15-Jul-13 22:42:10

beemom I'm not sure why you regret starting the thread. I think it has been interesting to hear people's opinions on parental attitude and it's effect on levels of care. I don't "go hammer and tongs against the LA" and certainly feel I fit here as much as anywhere else. For my part you are more than welcome.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Mon 15-Jul-13 22:53:29

Beemom please don't disappear into the Land of Lurk! I really value your posts and your wise insights and think MNSN would be a much poorer place without you.

I've only just seen this thread and think it's taken an unfortunate turn. I'm sure that if your experience has been one of mainly honey then it's nevertheless massively frustrating when it goes all vinegar-y! I have had this on a small scale and it felt like a slap in the face, that something I thought was agreed was not in fact acted upon.

My experience has been mainly honey although I'm aware bluechick is still v young and we haven't had the joys of statementing yet. My approach has been a mixture of how you describe yours but I've also been demanding, rigid, angry and tearful at times! Can't say there's been any coherent strategy though, droends on my mood and the situation! So who knows what works - I certainly don't take all the credit as we've been v lucky in some of the profs we've had.

Don't know what I'm saying really. Just know I didn't take any offence at your post and saw it as just a plea for advice. But this is so hard and we're all just doing our best.

Please do 't go Beemom and I hope one of our threads getting a bit heated remains the rare event that it is.

BeeMom Mon 15-Jul-13 23:00:34

Star - no, not true... certainly not in all provinces. Bee was diagnosed at 2y5mo and we have been waitlisted for any access to funds since that day.

It is a pretty document, but was a report from a reference group - not a single recommendation has become practice. I live in Ontario, with no access to ABA for either of my children with ASD, no respite, and no support aside from what I have negotiated for them or learned to do myself. As for lump sum... I would have loved to get in on that train.

Surely you have seen government publications in the UK that look beautiful but are absolute balls? This is one of those (and also 6 years old - there have been 2 complete changes of government since that time, and a total financial collapse. This is the same government that arbitrarily decided to cut funding for medical devices by 1/3 without notifying the users... thus requiring patients to reuse sterile urinary catheters, feeding pump giving sets etc that are not intended for reuse.

The wait list in our part of the province from referral to first assessment, depending on age, is 18 months minimum, but for older (school age) children, in excess of 3 years.

I live in Southern Ontario, so live this - and the document you posted is a pipe dream of the highest order.

zzzzz Mon 15-Jul-13 23:20:01

But even if it was true, what difference does it make? We aren't in competition with each other. All of us have different environments (social, financial, educational, emotional and therapeutic) that we are raising our children in. All of our children have different hands to play, with regards to the level and profile of their disability.


BeeMom Mon 15-Jul-13 23:33:04

Because what Star asked was Isn't it true that parents of children diagnosed before school age get a lump sum to spend on therapy? I was merely answering the question... and explaining that the document she referred to was a report to the government suggesting actions, not a report from the government outlining what is already in place.

In saying I could only dream was the attitude and recommendations in the UK she was suggesting that provision in Ontario was superior to what is available in the UK, both financially, and academically - I was clarifying that, living here, it actually isn't.

But why I am defending myself... I don't know. Sucker for punishment, perhaps?

zzzzz Mon 15-Jul-13 23:41:49

I think there is an element of this I just don't see.

star says but you get X. bee says she doesn't get X. That's not one person defending themselves it's just an exchange of information.

It doesn't matter who gets what. It's interesting discuss if you can schmooze your way into provision or bulldozer your way to provision. "My life is harder than yours/no it isn't" is just confused

Beemom I'm sorry that document is just a pipedream. My friends with the grants live in British Columbia, not Ontario, and were hoping the Ontario model (in that document) would come to them.

I didn't entirely expect it to be full practice, as I know the National Autism Plan is not in this country, but that document does go much further than the UK one so I was hopeful that bars were raised generally, if not to the level the document implies.

But zzzzz is right. It doesn't matter.

What matters to me however, is raising awareness of just how impossible it is for some parents in some LAs to have anything except years of hell for simply asking reasonable questions of provision.

Those years of hell that follow are not their fault, because when they start out they are only asking for what they understand their child needs and what their LA promises. The expectations in many LAs in this country is that parents should be unquestioningly grateful and humble for getting anything at all regardless of it's legal basis or appropriateness.

The idea that those parents DESERVE years of hell for not having an evangelical faith in the system is one that appears to be prevalent at least in the LA I left. It's this view that isolates parents, undermines them and takes up hours of their time in defence and justifications and the writing of clarification documents to demonstrate reasonableness in even a brighter light.

claw2 Tue 16-Jul-13 10:00:10

Things I have learnt along the way.

Professionals don't like complaints being made (regardless of how valid they are). Game over.

Professionals are not always truthful. Game over.

Most professionals stick together. Game over.

Parents knowing their rights. In my experience some professionals use this to show other professionals (educational professionals to show non educational professionals who have no idea about the 'system') just how obsessed you are, how unreasonable and wont take no for an answer. Game over.

Parents applying for SA. Game over.

Professionals like to blame parents, instead of spending money or support, if at all possible. Particular with 'hidden' disabilities.

It is impossible to negotiate the 'system' without having to do any of the above AND manage to get the support for your child.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 11:04:00

"Pending escape, or the intervention of a powerful outsider, some unarmed hostages stand a better chance of surviving if we sweet-talk the captors. The danger is of giving up, of losing hope whilst biding our time and waiting for a chance."

A clever analogy! But if you are being tortured by your captures, sweet talking doesn't necessarily increase your risk of survival!! You might die whilst in captivity and with that knowledge, you might choose that finding a means of escaping unnoticed or chiselling a tool to effect your escape is your only option.

That tool, I think, is the law and specifically judicial review and legal aid in the child's name!

mymatemax Tue 16-Jul-13 11:24:14

Beemom, I agree with your post, i'm not sure if its maybe because I have evolved my approach from birth & because ds2 had issues from birth I have never had to approach a meeting and try to convince the others in the room that my child is "different"
Its not to say that I have never had to justify my sons needs etc, of course we have had to fight.
& yes I do believe we all have the same goal, yes the LEA, PCT, NHS etc are working within tight budgetary controls but I do still believe 10yrs down the line that actually they do want to do the right thing.
I think there will always be a difference between what I would love my child to have in an ideal world & what the LEA, PCT believe my child really needs, it is about compromise & finding the middle ground.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 11:50:52

Actually, I don't work on the basis of 'what I would love my child to have in an ideal world' but on what constitutes an adequate education for him within the law.

There is no middle ground with my LA as they consistently fail to fund his provision and leave him out of school without support. That is not changed by 'sweet talking', diplomacy or compromise

My LA do things one way and have no measurement of whether this works or not, it's just the way it is done and it is the cheapest.

So I am really glad you have found the system to be fair to you, and I believe in some cases with some LAs it can be, and I can say that because I would not extrapolate from my experience a lesson that applies to yours.

So, all I would say is that broad pronouncements that everyone should act in a certain way to achieve the desired goal based on one's own personal experience undermines the experience of others.

We are not all the same, our LAs are not all the same, and we should stop blaming 'victims' or decrying them as 'asking for an ideal world' if they don't get the provision they need for their child.

notsurprisedanymore Tue 16-Jul-13 12:02:29

Claw -I totally agree!
I have had to complain along the way and the school and professionals hate it (even threatening to sue me for libel/slander at one time).
It is terrible when you think they are being supportive and then get to see all the records that show what was really going in behind the scenes sad.
They don't feel that they are accountable to anyone though so just carry on doing what they want. I have been told numerous times that everything is being done in the child's best interests yet the actions lead to major distress. It's criminal really.

I think it is very unfair to suggest that parents on here or elsewhere are expecting anything more than the law upheld, or for LAs own public-facing policies to be adhered to.

Most of the parents on here who have become fighters have done so, not because their children aren't getting something they should, but because of the damaging effects of neglect at best and abuse at worst, on their child and family. That is the context for most who have given the honey approach they're all and seen their child suffer not just continually, but more severely.

bochead Tue 16-Jul-13 14:32:38

4 years from 1st referral to that all-important assessment here beemom. Took 18 months to get the first referral before that. DS was one of the lucky ones!

My sibling has a SN, & my parents experience was nothing like mine has been in a different LA, despite the profs not having 1/2 the info available they do nowadays. Children with different specific SN's to my own child's are treated verywell in my LA. We are living proof of what it's like to be on the wrong end of a post code lottery!

My Mum was a SN teacher for over 40 years and never witnessed anything like that which she's had to endure watching her own grandchild suffer.

However, I'm about to start out with a new LA, where I will once more start out with the honeyed approach, simply because I feel more comfortable with that, than being FORCED into any kind of confrontation. (When your child is physically assaulted and able to tell you, by a person you know is often put to care for the non-verbal you HAVE to speak out & say "this is wrong and it must not happen again", or it becomes hard to look at your own face in the mirror each morning)

I suppose I'm trying to say that I agree with beemom's advice, with the caveat that sometimes it just isn't possible to employ pure honey and protect your child from harm.

We care for the most vulnerable in society, and that means that we have a duty to advocate for them sometimes, even if we find the experience of doing so unpleasant.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 14:42:37

Exactly. If the honey works great, but there's no point slopping it on if the flies just lap it up and continue playing in shit with your child!

And if it doesn't work, it's not because we haven't been nice enough or polite enough or articulate enough or decent enough.

Sometimes, if it looks like shit, and smells it like shit, it's probably shit.

zzzzz Tue 16-Jul-13 14:46:49

I don't think it is true that it is better if your child is more overtly different either. Ds cannot pass for normal, you could not tuck him in the back of a class and pretend he was doing fine, yet he has had no real input from any professionals.

At some point you have to give up and rather than placate and learn to love your captors, run far away and escape to a wilderness where you must teach yourself everything needed for your survival, but you are free.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 14:49:17

Oh zzzzz, that sounds so good!

MumuDeLulu Tue 16-Jul-13 15:13:05

Bringing the thread back to the original question:

"How do you get through those times without permanently damaging relationships with those you have to work with"

I've been thinking about it a lot. Relationships between dc with SN & parents & professionals often degenerate into the classical victim-rescuer-abuser triangle. The pattern can shift around, a bit, occasionally it even kicks off to the extent that all 3 parties become casualties (victims).

Therapists usually teach that "The only way to win is to refuse to play the game". But if parents don't try to help victimised child we feel like co-abusers.

Very often, IE and star are right, the relationship can be so very abusive, that the fight is unavoidable. If only as a way to avoid compounding the abuse by collusion and denial. BeeMom's approach reminds us that society's disregard for dc with SN shouldn't be taken out on professionals who are trying (often poorly) to be co-rescuers of our dc.

So: encourage the good (honey), and be open and trustworthy throughout, regardless of provocation. when you can stand it no longer, give a warning then explain what you're going to do and why. Then fling the vinegar bottle. Aiming at the shit, not at the flies. And help clear up afterwards. The relationships worth keeping will recover.

Trigglesx Tue 16-Jul-13 15:22:35

For the most part, I go the "honey" route, which IMO makes the "vinegar" route all the more noticeable when I do pull it out. I would like to think that most of those we've dealt with (professionals, I mean) realise that I'm happy to cooperate, however I have limits and I expect them to be fully accountable for things that are their responsibility.

I generally stick with "you play fair with me, I'll play fair with you." The biggest fight I think that we have had was with the LA when we were trying to get DS into a specific SS and the LA wanted him in MS, even though DS's teachers, senco, headteacher, paediatrician, OT (and various personnel at the suggested SS) agreed that the SS could meet his needs and that he would be best off attending the SS. The LA said no. We were very clear that we would push it all the way, and after tribunal date set and one meeting with the LA already, they finally gave in and agreed. So not as huge a fight as many on here have had. And I was so stressed and exhausted after it all, I just can't imagine the ongoing stress other parents have had.

I'll be the first to admit, we have been VERY VERY LUCKY. And that's a shame, as I know of some in the same LA/area that haven't been. It's so frustrating.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 15:23:54

I always try to explain where I am coming from too e.g. can you always send me a copy of your report before you circulate it? I am sure you would anyway, but we have had some terrible experiences with therapists who don't and end up circulating incorrect information etc etc

claw2 Tue 16-Jul-13 15:38:06

Often the shit and the flies are so close, you cant help but to hit a few flies while aiming for the shit.

zzzzz Tue 16-Jul-13 15:44:16

If you lie down with dogs you get guess if you rely on shit to feed you, you are unlikely to remain clean for long.

MumuDeLulu Tue 16-Jul-13 16:12:37

Claw, you're right. But if the flies choose not to move...

MumuDeLulu Tue 16-Jul-13 16:15:24

Zzz :-)
Maybe the honey will give them a taste for better food...

zzzzz Tue 16-Jul-13 16:16:58

ie yes it is lovely but the woods are dark and scary and there are bears. Ds is flourishing. grin

claw2 Tue 16-Jul-13 16:21:31

"How do you get through those times without permanently damaging relationships with those you have to work with"

Honey and keeping relationships going is all well and good, however when you have professionals giving 'inaccurate' info and not being truthful, refusing to communicate with you etc, etc.

For example saying that a service has been provided when you know for a fact it hasn't. When you have Freedom Requested and even asked for evidence formally in writing and been met by a brick wall.

Why would you want to keep the relationship going? For some, this is how it turns out and as zzzz says, you have to run far, far away. Draw a line in the sand, move on, start again. Sometimes even this isn't enough, as the smell of shit follows you.

Then what?

It takes two to tango. You can't flog a dead horse.

Keeping relationships sweet might have a cost for your child. You would start with the assumption that it doesn't and go from there.

It is absolutely essential that you praise good practice when you see it and also effort, even if that effort is that persons job. However you do have to be careful that a 'thank you' doesn't get turned against you and used in evidence in a tribunal to demonstrate that you were once happy with a service you never were.

mymatemax Tue 16-Jul-13 17:31:15

that's the point we are all only speaking from our own experience, I truly appreciate that I have had the good fortune to be able to work with ds2's school, LEA, SEN officer & medical professionals to ensure he is happy & making progress at school.
I completely get that this isn't the case for everyone.
I thought the OP was saying, look this is how I've played it, its worked for me & then asking what do you do when it still all becomes too much.
I didn't read her post or intend mine to undermine anyone else's experience

There are professionals that we have parted company with along the way, but even when they were not being constructive & having no positive impact on ds2's life I still don't believe their goal was to have a negative impact just to save the pennies, we just had a different idea of what was in ds2's best interest.
It is sad & fckign disgraceful that LEA's continue to operate in anything but the childs best interest but it is just not my experience.

SallyBear Tue 16-Jul-13 18:47:28

Well I absolutely hate the cynicism in this thread. I've had a relatively good experience over the last 14 years with assorted professionals from various "areas". Yes there has been the odd chocolate teapot, but on the whole my experience dealing with professionals who see my 3dc with SEN/SN has been good.

zzzzz Tue 16-Jul-13 19:26:16

I don't think I'm a cynic, but I'm am a realist.

My experience of mothering, nurturing and educating ds has been good. How could it not be he is mine?

My experience of professional insight, and support, has been underwhelming.

This is my experience. If it makes uncomfortable reading, that is unfortunate, but hardly my fault. I won't hide the truth, especially not here. I won't pretend that professionals how ever kind and well meaning have done what they haven't. The provision is appalling. Ill thought out. A cruel mirage whose promise wastes prescious time not to mention enormous amounts of money.

Weller Tue 16-Jul-13 19:31:22

I've name changed due to not wanting to out myself, I have worked with two neighbouring LEA, the smaller one i received thank you cards and even flowers and chocolates, the larger one it was mainly upset parents leading to anger. The difference was provision the smaller LEA never fully got involved with the inclusion policy (mainly due to cost) the larger LEA closed special schools and merged others. I know MLD school now having HFA children they should not be there it is not the correct peers but if mainstream fails the parents have little choice. Provision or lack of often govern the parents behaviour.

MumuDeLulu Tue 16-Jul-13 19:53:48

Weller, exactly.

Rubbish provision makes children suffer, and make it hard for professionals to do an adequate job,

Wave 1: School X shuts so professionals can't assist much and then parents get cross. Wave 2: professionals get upset at criticism, forget council badguy shut School X, and start blaming parents. Wave 3: parents upset at this, also forget who shut School X

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 16-Jul-13 20:12:18

Sallybear - isn't that rather the point? YOU have had a good experience. I can accept that and I am pleased for you.

Others have not. Why does that make them cynical?

I worry that parents who have had really bad experiences have very few places to go where they can share this safely without being accused of being at fault in some way - or of being cynical.

I am a grown up with a responsible job, who has been through some very tricky things in life and work but the way I was treated was devastating because it affected my child.

It was poor practice and it affected my child and still does.

Yet, my LA will tell me, in writing, how everyone else things there swell.

I am not fragile enough for this to make me think it was my fault., I know what happened and I can see the written evidence of it.

But it will further isolate some parents.

Speak of the good you have encountered but please let others speak of the bad.

cansu Tue 16-Jul-13 20:32:50

I have tried to be fair in my dealings with the La and I have also tried to pick my battles. There has been things I have not been v happy with at school, but I have held back to maintain the good relationship. There have of course been times when things have been quite tense with the local authority but I have tried to keep it non personal as much as possible. I appreciate that this isn't the case for everyone but I suppose the key is to always approach a new person or service with a positive approach. I remember the senco at my dd school telling me that there was always surprise expressed when she told them that I was v supportive and v easy to deal with! senco was great, v down to earth and v caring which made it easier to overlook stuff when things went wrong. I suppose when you have had experience of professionals acting unprofessionally and making it personal this makes you defensive. I don't blame people for that. I can see totally how that might happen.

Strongecoffeeismydrug Wed 17-Jul-13 08:45:27

I have had both the good and the bad within the same LA, and believe me if I stayed honey coated and sweet our LA walk all over you.
DS is now getting the support he needs and deserves only because I'm no longer seen as a knowledge less pushover (an ex LA worker told me this personally).
This shouldn't be the case but that's the reality for kids like mine in this area.

KimberlyMicado Wed 17-Jul-13 09:08:10

Morning all haven't been on here in donkies I occasionally just lurk these days after one of my posts ( under another name) asking for some advice was met with the worst animosity I have ever seen and I left feeling sick to my stomach before sinking into a corner with the " world's worst special needs mum" badge attached to my lapel.
So I haven't read any of the posts yet just the heading but am glad positivity has found it's way back onto the site. It would be so easy for us as a family to retell negative experiences we have had many but being positive reaps rewards. I am a firm believer of chose your battles wisely don't fight fight demand everything give and take ask nicely and if that fails then a nice friendly polite email copying in the right people. If that fails then we take things to a complaint level it takes a lot to get us here but if it does happen it shows that we are normally fair and reasonable people who it takes a lot to rile so our complaint is of a serious nature. This has worked well for us after a stint where I complained about everything and was very confrontational this got us nowhere and my health suffered.

I just remind myself stay positive as this helps my children stay calm I let my husband deal with any complaints ( which are few) as I am easily stressed and this doesn't make for a calm happy house and holy crap we have enough stresses here.

claw2 Wed 17-Jul-13 09:34:33

I and some others on here have had terrible experiences and the one thing that strikes me is that in face of it all, despite everything, they are some of the most positive, calm people i know on here.

The implication that the parents who have had bad experiences are losing their tempers, screaming and shouting and banging tables etc, isn't accurate.

I and the others i mention, deal with stress and problems extremely effectively, without emotion, we have had to. We deal with problems, in a calm, professional manner.

We have been handed lemons, yet we are still trying to make lemonade.

KimberlyMicado Wed 17-Jul-13 10:16:31

Oh no Claw how awful who implied that? I was hoping those sort of negative posters had gone :-( Was hoping to read all the posts later but from your comment I am assuming it's a grim read so might give it a wide berth. Am in a positive mood today and all is calm don't want to depress myself. Thanks for the heads up.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 17-Jul-13 10:31:26

Mmm, well, again, I am glad that your approach led to a positive outcome.

For me it was:

-stay calm,
- ask politely,
- when my son was without provision for 5 months and everyone was ignoring my polite requests, escalate it to a complaint
- have complaijnts ignored
- provision still not in place
-find yourself branded vexatious 2 weeks before a Tribunal by an LA trying to cover up this lack of provision
- receive reports from LA services for Tribunal pretending they have been delivering provision when they had not
- withdraw child from school due to lack of support and lying adults

I am not mad or negative. With a son out of school for the third time in third years, I just get on and work and address issues practically and positively.

But we have had an appalling, traumatic experience which has left us without money for holidays etc as we have had to consistently cover gaps in provision ourselves despite what is in the statement.

So this was not my fault for not being positive or nice enough. I was not 'asking for it' and neither was my son.

I cannot understand why those who have been fortunate to have an LA respond properly to concerns are so quick to disregard and dismiss those who have not as if it is somehow their fault or criticise them for 'negativity'.

Are we really having some kind of 'deserving poor' type argument here? How appalling.

claw2 Wed 17-Jul-13 10:37:44

You did Kimberley

PolterGoose Wed 17-Jul-13 10:40:07

I do wonder how much our own personalities affects what we see as honey or vinegar, and also what we might consider to be all the variations in between. My instinctive response is always combative, demanding and probably verging on aggressive, I have to work very hard to sweeten this and act in a more collaborative fashion, but I suspect even when I act in a more honeyed manner I am still very assertive. So, my vinegar is probably considerably more acidic than most and my honey is probably less sweet than others...

Conversely, if you are by nature more compliant, gentle natured, driven to ameliorate, negotiate and agree, when you 'toughen up' and be more vinegary, it probably takes you to a similar place to my sweetened vinegar. Your honey is more sweet than mine and your vinegar less acidic.

The difficulty with an Internet forum is all we have is words. They are important but we may not all ascribe the same meanings and have the same understanding. My honey or vinegar is not the same as yours, because we all start from a different place. What you may see as assertive I may see as a bit feeble. What you see as aggressive may be my best efforts at negotiation.

At every stage of the 'game' of SN provision we assess the professionals and make constant judgement calls on how best to get our children's needs met, our skill is in using the best tactics for the situation, for some that will be deferential and compliant, because that is what works best, for others it will be demanding, complaining and legal action, but each situation, each professional, each 'set' of professionals, is different. For some of us having to find our inner warrior to enter battle is necessary but tough, for those of us who are naturally fighters it is equally tough to have to curtail that instinct. I don't like the assumption that vinegar is the harder path, it all depends where you begin.

BeeMom I suspect, like me, you are naturally vinegar?

TBH, I'm neither honey vinegar or anything else. I am presented with a problem, I assess the problem for the ability to be solved, and the risk of it not being, then should it be necessary for my efforts I seek out the most effective path of resolution, focussing on the outcome.

That is a skill I began learning when I worked with homeless people who for various reasons could be aggressive, have their own set of rules, be downright unpredictable and also vulnerable. I developed it hugely when I entered the world of SEN in a LA which I can only regard as cruel, playing their front-line staff as well as parents, and creating divisions to divert and confuse.

Data Protection requests show quite an alarming perception of me, and justification for some of the cruelty, yet when I hid ds in a local private nursery without disclosing his SEN, his statement or the fact that his 1:1 we paid for was an ABA tutor, the private nursery, even when they found out the extent of our withheld information, had nothing but praise for me and for what we were doing, and for being no trouble at all despite having a child with a disability and some specific requirements.

In fact they laughed when we finally had to come clean and ask permission for the LA EP to go in (close to tribunal), as everything the EP had said about us, about ds and about the ABA tutor was plainly ridiculous to her. They were also shocked at the level of viciousness towards us and the way the EP threatened them too.

Now ds is in an independent special school. His journey there hasn't been without meetings with the HT, Head of behaviour, Head of House for various things that either I or the school are concerned about. We haven't reached agreement about some things, other things are on trial, and some things the school has conceded.

I absolutely am not getting everything my own way, however I see that they care, that they are rubbish at communicating with parents but like the idea of it. They see and respect that I am a parent who DOES know a thing or two and that can add and support their work. It's not brilliant. I had a falling out with the SALT. However, at the same time, some of the things I had tried to get them to do with ds, they have asked for more information on to try with another child. The SALT, well, she's remained professional and I have let her know that I am very pleased with her work this year, because, well I really am (just think she's a bit odd).

Had this school been my only experience I would very likely be holding myself up as some kind of smooth and likable negotiator.

So I think that sometimes, people show you how to treat them. And in such a huge power-imbalance relationship that is the LA to parents, it SHOULD be the LA that bends over backwards to get the best from their clients and to be answerable to them and accountable, not deceiving.

claw2 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:05:19

Exactly Star, that is how I feel, im presented with a problem and I try to find the best solution and outcome. If anything I have become very matter of fact, almost robotic.

My expectations are very low, I don't ask for much, just honesty. There have been situations, I have compromised, the professional has not been great, however they have been honest.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:09:38

I prefer the two-faced approach. Over the telephone and at face to face meetings I play one role and appear to be the LA dream parent - willing to be fobbed off and saying please and thank you whilst they do it. This lulls them into a false sense of security. I have even had LA EPs declaring how good a meeting went. How little they know. I wait for the fob off in writing and then play another role - pita parent who knows their rights in my lengthy reply backed by indi assessment and report.

My behaviour is never influenced by what so-called profs say as in my experience they will minimise and seek alternative, cheaper explanations if they can that blame the parent and/or the child. I am lucky and have made sacrifices (that I know others can't make) to keep out of the detail and pay independents - dev paed, RP, SALT, OT. Smile and nod and make the right noises and then go my own sweet way. The LA may think they have fobbed me off but actually I am plotting and planning and gathering my forces behind the scenes and waiting for the best moment to strike.

I did not always approach meetings like this. I used to think that they actually had an effect or that they would if only if I could find the most persuasive argument. Waste of breath. It used to be that only the LA knew that they were playing a game and I did not know and so I thought that honey and vinegar were relevant but now that I know that they are playing a game I have evened things up a little and I am playing a game too. Totally freaks them out - they can't believe that I am the author of the letters and act so strategically. I think that others have the problem that their 'reputation' precedes them whereas I was an unknown quantity as DC go to school in the neighbouring county.

DS1 was not diagnosed or statemented until he was nearly 12 despite problems in learning being apparent from reception and referral to paed/SALT/OT/EP in 2009. The cost to him over the past 5 or so years has been huge and he is now a weekly boarder and so there is a continued cost to the whole family. The worse period was when I believed that honey and vinegar were relevant and that meetings were 'real'.

Both honey and vinegar are totally ineffective albeit in different ways in all cases where LA disagree with parents which is basically if in their opinion the child is either too severe or not severe enough to justify the cost of meeting need. Bottom line, in some cases, particularly with anxious 'internalisers' with ASD, nothing happens until you get a statement and achieve the right to go to law to make the LA do what it should have done years ago.

I am not really two-faced but I am willing to play that role if needs be. This is realism not cynicism.

grappledom Wed 17-Jul-13 13:10:39

Personally I have never been good at confrontation and despite having been in the SEN system for five years, I've never managed to use all the strategies that are suggested on here (things like sending minutes of meetings back for confirmation, asking for things to be escalated to higher management etc). I live in an LA with a difficult reputation, but get on reasonably well with them now as DS is in an independent residential ss and tbh I have very little contact with them (they don't even bother turning up to AR now). Our experience was traumatic and our LA didn't respond initially to our concerns and left us without provision for some time, but I have to admit I played the game and allowed DS to demonstrate 'failure' in mainstream because I knew his response (challenging behaviour) would result in a more specialist placement. So rather than challenging everything along the way, I gave the LA enough rope and let things come to a natural conclusion.

I've let some things drop that are the kind of incident that most others would follow up here; sometimes I've felt guilty about that but I think picking my battles has been the best choice for me and my stress levels! I pushed for a tribunal win (throwing money at solicitors who dealt with a lot of the negotiating) and that was well worth it as it resulted in the provision/transport package we have. I could probably have gone for disability discrimination/LGO complaints too, but I never saw the point as a win would not result in any additional provision, just an apology. I have also chosen to pay for certain things, e.g. private assessment, rather than deal with numpties in the NHS. And I had to borrow in order to do this, it's not as if I have a huge income as a single parent. I don't regret it at all though, I know families who were asking for referrals at the same time as DS and are still going around in circles.

claw I agree with you about this being a positive place with positive posters.

I'm in awe of people who appear to be going through the worst kind of torture and yet hold on to such a strong believe that they can and will get through it, and who keep going, long after the promised release that never came, still with that same hope and determination.

It's not negative to ask for advice on how to keep going. It's not negative to believe in hope.

bochead Wed 17-Jul-13 14:13:34

This summed it up for me:-

"But if parents don't try to help victimised child we feel like co-abusers. "

The bottom line is that I WILL NOT allow my son looking back over his childhood, as an adult at some point in the distant future, to ever for a single moment think that I knowingly and willingly colluded, aided or abetted in his mistreatment.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:28:42

But parents that use honey or vinegar or both or neither are trying to help the victimised child and so they do not become co-abusers (allowing abuse to continue when they have the power to stop it) but painfully confront their own powerlessness and become victims, co-abused themselves.

Becoming active - escaping rather than waiting for rescue - is crucial. MNSN is full of those who have 'escaped' whatever that may mean in each case (TH, home ed, ABA in m/s, SALT, OT, ss, indi etc) and made things better for (rescued) their child. The great thing is that past escapees return to help those who are still trapped by telling them what they need to do and supporting them.

claw2 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:45:56

I am very much an optimist, however I am not an unrealistic optimist. It is not cynical to look ahead at best/worse outcomes and be able to change direction when needed, I would call that a balanced view. Non positive thoughts are not always bad, it enables you to see the woods through the trees. In fact not thinking positively ALL the time, is a good thing, sometimes things are not always fine, not always rosy and there is nothing wrong with being able to see that.

There is nothing more positive than to hear of others who have had an extremely tough time, have had every obstacle put in their way and despite it all, still see light at the end of the tunnel and don't give up. It isn't negative, its inspiring.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 17-Jul-13 18:02:49

"So rather than challenging everything along the way, I gave the LA enough rope and let things come to a natural conclusion."

My LA hang themselves many times and get caught out in lies but it makes no difference because they don't apologise, they lie more.

No provision for OT for a year? You've paid for it yourself? We'll investigate and write and tell you your son did actually have OT every day, delivered by his OT. What? Your school say this is not true and you and your DS know it's not true as it never happened?

Tough. Take it to the LGO

And we know how that ends up

So sometimes there is just no reason in the system however we like to pretend that this sort of stuff doesn't happen.

And as for complaining about it - well I think there is a duty to do that for your own child and for others who can't. It might not end up in more provision for your child but sometimes, all it takes for bad things to happen is for good people to do nothing.

claw2 Wed 17-Jul-13 18:37:33

IE same here, SENCO stated at tribunal and its written in the decision notice that ds had input from OT on a termly basis, a SALT programme, a mentor. Termly meetings with SALT, ASD Advisory etc. Termly IEP's, targets being met etc.

All lies. I asked for copies, I was ignored. I asked for name of OT, ignored, I made a phone call to NHS OT and she put it in writing that she had never even heard of ds. A copy of ds's school file, LA file, PCT file confirmed he had none of these things. An email to ASD Advisory team confirmed they did not attend any meetings. An email to SALT confirmed that neither did she.

Yet when the shit hits the fan, all school/SALT have to do is SAY that he did receive, despite overwhelming evidence that he didnt and never has. When asked to confirm the dates of the meetings and for a copy of the minutes/notes/programmes etc, I am ignored again.

I complained, which got me reported to child protection by school/LA. Now we have school, SALT service, ASD Advisory saying ds DID receive these things and school saying im just unwilling to accept it, im obsessed, I cant move on, im 'negative' etc, etc. SW isn't interested in my written 'evidence'. So I have to complain about her too, this resulted in fighting fire with fire and threats of child protection.

I could have complained some more, but I took the remove ds out of harms way option and run. Maybe I took the easy route, however removing ds from that school and those professionals seemed like the only solution, when they are prepared to lie and make me sound mad!

bochead Wed 17-Jul-13 22:15:56

^ my experience too!^

grappledom Wed 17-Jul-13 22:22:57

Sadly I don't see much evidence of complaints resulting in improved practice in my LA. I've supported parents with complaints, disability discrimination tribunals and LGO cases over the years, but the same thing happens repeatedly. It seems to help the parent cope with the frustration with the system but I can't see the effects filtering down into other cases. I have tended to deal with my frustration in other ways (through my own interests) which may seem more selfish, but I don't realistically think that taking on the stress of further complaints would help other parents.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 17-Jul-13 22:47:36

That's understandable but complaining on its own might seem pointless. Campaigning because of similar complaints around the country is the way to go!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 18-Jul-13 12:16:02

Here you go- son had no OT provision for a year. Previous LGO complaint took two years to resolve unsatisfactorily.

I have gone through the complaints process and despite asking for evidence that there was provision in place from 2012-13 as they claim, the complaint response received today just says an OT attended an AR in 2012.

So that's ok then? Even though it was noted at that AR that a programme had not been set up yet. It doesn't mention that in 2013 AR I paid for the OT to attend as I had instructed my own as there was no OT in school.

Seriously, does honey deal with that? They would not deliver provision for a year and then just lie?

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