At Afasic, we know how difficult it can be for many parents to:
- Understand and come to terms with their child’s difficulties
- Deal with and make sense of the role of the various new professionals they encounter
- Access the support their child needs
Our response has been to set up the Afasic helpline to help parents help their children. The case study below illustrates how the helpline was able to put one parent on the right track:
A mother rang about her daughter aged 4 and a half, who had recently started school. The girl had been referred to speech and language therapy when she was 2 years old. She had had a few sessions which, according to her mother, consisted mainly of the therapist watching the little girl playing, which had not seemed terribly worthwhile. After a time, the therapy sessions had fizzled out and there had been no follow-up and the mother had not chased it because she was not convinced that it would make any difference. Since the little girl had started school she appeared to be coping well enough, but her mother was becoming more aware of her language difficulties and concerned about them. She was wondering what she could or should do.
The helpline response: We discussed various ways in which speech and language therapy can be delivered in different circumstances and what difference it can make. We informed the mother about how to access speech and language therapy through the NHS, and also privately. We also informed the mother about the SEN Code of Practice and the various levels of support it prescribes for children who need extra help at school. We advised the mother to contact us again when her daughter had seen a speech and language therapist to advise the best way to proceed in her circumstances.
We would like to encourage parents to contact the helpline as soon as they become concerned, like the mother in the case study above. We are happy to talk to you regardless of how trivial your concern might seem. Although a lot of the information we provide is contained in Afasic’s range of FAQs, factsheets and other leaflets, many parents do not always realise how this applies to them and their child, and talking the situation through with us can help. By contacting the helpline at an early stage, and making sure they are fully informed, parents are often able to establish and maintain good working relationships with the professionals involved, to the benefit of all concerned. For this reason we would encourage parents to contact us as a first resort rather than a last. We are a friendly bunch, and are happy to reassure you that you are doing all the right things if indeed that is the case. Having said all this, we are here to help if things are going badly too!
The helpline is here to help you help your child.
Leaving it too late
Recently, a member of our helpline team met a parent who complained about how hard it had been to find out about DLA, educational psychologists and getting a referral to a paediatrician. We pointed out to the parent that she could have contacted the Afasic helpline and would probably have learned about all of these things, in the course of a wide-ranging discussion.
Like most of us facing a new experience, you will not necessarily know what you need to know to help your child. A conversation with the Afasic helpline is a chance to fill this gap.