As well as the worries over our son, we are also in the process of seeking support for our aspergers daughter.
The situation is that after receiving her diagnosis earlier in the year we then had an appointment with the mental health services to assess my daughter as her low mood was causing concern. We were expecting to see a psychiatrist as we had done with our son months earlier, only we didn’t. Unbeknown to us the service had changed and we were suddenly faced with a nurse and a family support worker.
To be frank I wasn’t happy that no one had told us the system had changed; to know helps me to prepare my daughter for a new situation. Neither was I particularly impressed with having a family support worker imposed on us. I’m sure family support workers do a great job for those families in need but I absolutely hate it when professionals assume that we are in need without asking.
Anyway I asked why we weren’t seeing a doctor only to have the curt response from the nurse . “You didn’t expect to see a psychiatrist, did you?” “Yes I did; we saw one with our son so we expected to see one for our daughter? I replied. She just stared at me then and the conversation moved on to our daughter.
But even then the nurse made little attempt to communicate with my daughter and many of the questions that were asked of us seemed to relate to our parenting rather than the health of our daughter. At this point I felt totally confused and asked what we were there for. Again the nurse didn’t reply and I suddenly felt that our parenting was under suspicion but I’m not sure what for. I even offered my own observations of my daughter’s low moods, such was my desperation that my daughter get properly assessed.
Towards the end of this difficult appointment, it was then decided that we had to organise more support for her at school before going back to the mental health services for another check up. I agreed with this as I was particularly concerned about her at school though frustrated that, yet again, we were being bounded from service to service.
But whilst we were waiting for a meeting with the education people, we then received a letter from the mental health services explaining that because we had “failed” to attend a follow-up appointment my daughter would be taken off the mental health services list.
I WAS FURIOUS because I had no idea we had an appointment and even if we had been given an appointment which I may have forgotten about (which is quite probable considering the stress I’m under) why did they not send out a letter or remind us over the phone?
Why should my daughter be denied care because of some administrative error?
Shortly after this and just a couple of days ago, we then had a meeting with the head psychologist and special needs teacher (SENCO) at my daughter’s school.
During this meeting I explained my concerns: my daughter’s academic difficulties, sensory issues, her withdrawal from group activities, her low moods, and the constant anxiety she is under. I explained that school exhausts her so much that she will not do much outside school and instead takes refuge in her special interests. I personally do not think she has the capability of coping with the large secondary school that she will have to go to next year. I said (and the SENCO agreed) that we wanted to make sure that our daughter’s difficulties do not deteriorate to the point that, like her brother, she ends up with serious mental health difficulties.
Anyway it has been decided that the psychologist is going to go in and assess my daughter in school and then to meet up with us again before christmas. Fingers crossed that we get something positive from this but knowing my authority as I do, I am not hopeful.