Communication is key.
We work in a system that is not easy! Whether it is working with schools or a part of the social care system, working with people who do not fully understand our children can be rough. Add the issue of them not think of the parent/carer as “professional” and you have a system in place that does not support the carer/parent and can harm the child. With communication as key how do we fix this?
You make everything in writing. Back everything up using an email. Do not communicate via phone, instead send an email. If you have to use a phone call to communicate you back it up with an email that states your understanding of the communication you had.
Next you keep a journal of who you talked to, when and how long the conversation lasted. Also make note of what was said. A written log is something that is proof if it were to go to court. Your memories don’t count, what you “remember” does not have the same power as what was written down at the time.
Copy in those who need to be copied in. Is the issue a big one? copy in the Manager or Head teacher. Is it an issue with the Manager? copy in the IRO. Problem with the Head Teacher? copy in the school board.
Know the procedures. There is normally a first person to contact and or complain to, do not jump to the highest person on the totem pole. You may get there eventually, but you need to first follow actual complaint procedures. If you do this you may keep your issues from escalating, you will also prove that you did everything in the right way which will go far in getting what you want.
State what you actually want to fix the problem. Sometimes people simply don’t know what will fix your issue, give them the answer to the problem and they are more likely to give you what you need.
Last but not least, be ready to compromise. There is a possibility that what you want does not exist, or is not possible. Asking for something that isn’t possible just puts other people in a defensive position. Find out what is possible and try to find a mid ground where you can all meet in order to make the best out of a bad situation.
Each of these steps takes communication, but it does need to be done in the right way. Show your professional skills as a parent/carer and use your communication skills to get what you and your children need. Beat them at their own “professional” game. You will be protected, and your child may end up getting the support that you are fighting so hard for.