As a parent or carer there will be times when you need to talk to professionals about your child. This might be about their health, education or other services that your child comes into contact with.
It can feel a bit stressful talking to professionals and some people find it easier than others. It is really important that you remember that even though they might have different qualifications and skills to you – you are the expert on your child and you know them best.
Thinking about what you need to know and how to share thoughts and knowledge about your child will make appointments, meetings or contact with the professionals easier.
This means everyone can share what they know about your child’s needs, strengths and challenges. Your understanding and knowledge of your child and their individual needs, is unique and very important.
If you have concerns about your child’s education, health or wellbeing, take time to decide what would be the best way to get the help they need;
If you are not sure where to get the help you need get in touch with your GP / school they may know what help is available. You can call our Just One Number service on 0300 300 0123 to talk though your concerns.
Once you have decided where to go to get the help you need to make the first contact. Some people find this easy others might feel stressed and worried.
Writing It Down
You might decide to get in touch by email in first place or their may be an online self referral / get in touch form.
If you are already working with other professionals you can give their details too, if that seems appropriate.
Do not worry about spellings or the words you use – you are getting help for your child and it does not matter how you get your concerns across.
Talking To Professionals
When you are talking to professionals on the phone or face to face - it is easy to get a bit flustered and forget what you want to say.
Write down the points you want to get across. You might just write a few words or you might decide to write a ‘script’ of what you want to say.
Once your child has found the right support it is really helpful if parents and carers can update the team on how things are at home.
If the problem is not improving or seems to be getting worse let professionals know.
When You Don't Agree
You might not always get the response you want straight away. Sometimes there can be misunderstandings and disagreements between different professionals and / or between parents and professionals.
You might feel you have not got your point across or been understood. This can be frustrating and upsetting. You might feel that your child is not getting the treatment / care / support you feel they need.
Your Own Feelings
It can stir up a lot of emotions when you are trying to get the help your child needs, or you do not feel a professional understands your point of view. You might feel tearful and / or angry. Explain that you are finding the conversation difficult. Professionals know that parents and carers want the best for their children and meetings can be hard.
Take deep, slow breaths in and out and try and stay calm. Do not worry if you show you are upset, this is important to you. However if you are aggressive or abusive professionals will have to end the conversation.
If you feel your feelings are getting in the way of you explaining your worries about your child ask for a short break, if this is not possible you can arrange to talk again soon.
If you do not feel your child’s needs have been met or you have been treated unfairly you can ask to speak to another member of the team.
It is hard when you are not happy with the support offered. Professionals should work with you to resolve any differences. The best interests of your child should always come first. When parents and professionals work together it is easier to provide the help your child needs.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.