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Parents have agreed to talk, but what next.....


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Hi folks,


I hope someone may be able to offer some guidance.


We have a child who has been with us for a while and all along has show several areas of concern regarding behaviour and development, particularly speech (although that is not my main concern).


Finally, the parents have agreed to a meeting to discuss these matters, previously denying there was any problem.


So I now feel confident in discussing the necessary matters, but I have to admit that I am not sure what the protocol is once every one agrees that this child needs support/assessment. What do we do next?


Sorry if this is a basic questoin - but this is not an area I have had to address before in practice.

Any clues or advice would be much appreciated!


Thank you!!

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I suppose it depends on the sort of setting you are in.


Do you have a SENCO? Or inclusions person?


These would be the people I would speak to and I would ask for their help in referring.

Ideally I would also want this person to see for herself what I am talking about so they can advise me where to seek help.

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I don't know how it all works either but I suspect getting outside help will take time so you'll need to devise your own plan of action for now. Make sure when you meet the patents you have definite areas of concern with observations to highlight what you mean. Also make sure you have ideas for moving the child on and how the parents can work with you. Any other help you need will be dependent on your LA but presumably you have an area SENco who can advise better. Hope the meeting goes well, it can't be nice been told your child has additional needs

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This is difficult because i don't know what the system is in your area but for a first meeting i would go with the following.

Tell them that you are grateful for them coming in (you want to keep them sweet!)

Ask them what is happening at home...what concerns are they having....what issues are they having etc...if at this point they say everything is fine panic don't panic!!

Then clearly tell them what you are worried about and explain why you are worried.

Hopefully your experience and theirs will match up.

Decide on an action plan, try to get an agreement to take your information further. Emphasise the fact that you are there to help

good luck!

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Good advice from the above as usual. In our area, we ask parents' permission to refer to our local authority SEN team. A member of the team then comes out to see us / the child (eventually, it often takes a couple of months!) and usually meets parents too. We then decide together where to go from there. We can also make referrals ourselves to SaLT, ed psych etc. But always with parents' permission. Hope your meeting goes well.

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Depends on your area and what your LA has in place.

Do you have a SENCo in your setting , may be an idea if they were to sit on on the meeting too ?


In my area we can refer to SALT, I would contact the HV ( with parental permission ) see if there were any concerns highlighted during their 2 yr. check - also ask HV for advice - depending on your concerns they may suggest they do a SOGS test ( schedule of growing skills- bit like a more indepth developmental check) t

Again - depending on family circumstances and area of concer maybe contact your local children's centre ? Do you have an advisory teaching service - our help with quite specific behavioural and communication needs.

Wholeheartedly agree with engaging with the parents- it can be very difficult to hear that there are concerns with your child.

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all good advice above can only echo. What I would do is have make at least three observations of this child which show the concerns you have. Have information to hand on what this child's developmental levels are (so any progress checks you do etc...) invite your SENCO to the meeting (or equivalent) then you just talk about it all with parents.

See if they really do have concerns at home, speak about yours and then form a plan of action that both parties agree on and get it signed by yourself and parents. Make sure you keep minutes of the meeting which parents should have a copy of sent to them. At this stage you may decide that you feel support can be offered by you in the setting in which case you go down the IEP root (if you haven't already) if you need outside help you can ask parents at this meeting if they are happy for this and then we in my area would either:

fill in a referral form for the area inclusion team to get involved there and then with parents having input into this and a further meeting would be made (TAC meeting) where all other professionals who may be able to help could attend and get involved and a further action plan would be made (this could include SALT if speech and language was only part of the concerns you had)

or if speech and language was the only concern then we would just refer to SALT straight away and then after they have been seen you get sent a report which gives you ideas on what to work on and how to do this.

hope all that helps

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I think the most important thing is not to rush the parents, give them control over what happens and don't press for any decisions to be made at the meeting. Discuss the child's strengths and areas of concern, give them some options then suggest they go home and think about what they'd like to do next. It might seem as if parents are "denying" that their child might have additional needs but sometimes, either they genuinely don't realise (particularly if there aren't any older siblings or they don't meet many other children of the same age) or they realise but can't face the implications and are desperately worried that everything will spiral out of control. Unfortunately, there is still a huge amount of fear about additional needs and I've lost count of the number of parents who asked me if their child would "have to" go to a Special School, not realising that this was a choice.

Great advice from everyone already, particularly the recommendations of a range of observations which clearly show the concerns you have. Do you use the Every Child a Talker (ECAT) profile as this can be quite useful, I've put a link (hopefully!) below.


If you're not the SENCO, I'd suggest having a low key meeting first as unfortunately, introducing the SENCO, (because of the Special Needs aspect of the title) can sometimes fill parents with fear. Explain that you want a meeting because you want the best for their child and need their advice as to whether there's anything else you could be doing to help them get the most out of pre-school. Then, most importantly, ask then how they think their child is getting on. This will help you to work out how to present your concerns and you'll know you'll need to tread very gently if they have no concerns.

As to what happens next, I'd go for the route that's got the shortest waiting time, particularly if the child is due to start school in September. If you've got concerns about general development then a referral to a Paediatrician would be best and a GP or Health Visitor should be able to help with this, particularly if you provide copies of your evidence. Some Children's Centres have drop in sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist so that might be worth checking. If you have a Local Authority Advisor/Area SENCO, they should be able to give you advice as well.

Good luck and remember, if they don't give permission, it's usually not because of anything you have or haven't done, it's where they are at the moment. I don't know if you've read the poem "Welcome to Holland" but I've put a link below. It used to help me a lot after a meeting with parents.


Edited by katkat1972
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Katkat!


Thank you for the link to 'welcome to Holland' this is an extremely touching and relevant poem for me! and no doubt numerous other parents and professionals who can empathise when faced with this....

I am also a mum with son newly diagnosed with Aspergers (post- My own child - Aspergers) and this poem has had me in tears on many occassions now - I just keep rereading it because at last someone understands what I'm feeling and has got it so right. And it's ok to feel angry and upset that I didn't get to go to Italy.. I also sent a copy of this to my son's old primary school teacher (he's now 13) with a message that said I needed to know that I was in Holland!

The meeting with these parents have been postponed unfortunately, because I just can't raise these issues with them whilst they are still so raw with me.... although with further conversations I'm pretty sure they already know they are in Holland - and have done for some time, so nothign I say will come as news.

I'd also like to add that my daughter has taken me to Italy and I'm very excited about getting that experience too! Although as a stroppy 12 year old I sometimes prefer to go to Holland and leave her behind! :ph34r: :blink: :ph34r: :huh: ;);) ;) ;)


Any for anyone that thinks I'm talking complete jibberish - you need to read the poem linked above!! :P:P :P :P

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I'm so pleased you found the poem touching and relevant, I hadn't made the link that you were the person who posted about your child with Aspergers. The first time I heard the poem was at a conference and it was read by a parent. I was in floods of tears (as were lots of other people) and whenever I read it, I still get a lump in my throat as it reminds me of so many parents I've had the privilege to work with in the past. I was really moved when you said you sent a copy of the poem to your son's primary school teacher and told her that you "needed to know you were in Holland" and also the fact that life isn't always easy with a teenager in Italy! I hope things are going well for you and your son and you are both getting the support and understanding you need.

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