If you are concerned that your child or teenager’s communication is not where it should be and is impacting on their interaction and/or learning, please talk to your GP, your child or teenager’s year tutor or the school SENCO or speak to a qualified speech and language therapist. If your son or daughter is over 18, you will need to contact the adult speech and language therapy services.
Be aware of your rights and what you are entitled to in law
- Afasic has produced a guide to the SEND reforms. This set of 12 free factsheets explains the changes to the special educational needs and disabilities system and how they affect parents and children.
- Afasic has also published Accessing speech and language therapy for your child –a guide to the law
If you live in Wales, please visit Afasic Cymru for relevant information.
Talk to someone who can help
Explain your concerns to someone who can help like your GP or the school /college SENCO. If that person cannot help he/she will usually suggest someone who can. For ideas of whom you might contact go to Who Can Help?
Explaining your concerns:
- Explain what you are worried about and ask if that person can help with your concerns
- If the person you are speaking to can help, ask them what they will do and by when
- If the person you are speaking to cannot help, ask who else you can speak to or ask to speak to the person in charge
- Ask for ideas of what else you can do to move the situation forward for your son/daughter.
Keep a record
In our busy lives it can be easy to lose track of what to follow up or forget advice that seemed so easy to remember at the time!
Parents tell us that it is helpful to keep a brief record of meetings and phone calls that they have with their GP and other professionals. Keeping a record makes it easier to follow up on advice and monitor your child or teenager’s progress.
Keep it simple!
A date, the name of who you spoke to, any concerns/progress and any advice or actions agreed.
Keep it easy to find!
- Keep a record by writing in eg: your diary or a notebook, typing notes on your phone, or as a voice memo eg: on your phone.
- Some parents, who have lots of meetings and correspondence about their child or teenager, get organised by putting paperwork (like letters and reports) into a file.
Ask for a second opinion
If you are not happy with the service that you are receiving or wish to have a renewed or specialist perspective on an aspect of your child or teenager’s development, you can ask for a second opinion.
Asking for a second opinion may feel intimidating but there are usually procedures and policies in place to assist this process. To ask for a second opinion in Health, talk to your GP, speak directly to the professional involved or ask to speak to their manager. To ask for a second opinion in Education, speak to your child of teenager’s Head teacher or SENCO.
A second opinion may involve a different person in the same department, with the relevant expertise, meeting with you and your child or teenager to discuss your concerns and take a fresh look at the situation in as holistic a way as possible. It is helpful if the person undertaking the second opinion writes a report that explains their findings and make recommendations for any appropriate action.
If you are still not happy with the service that you are receiving, it may be necessary to consider making a complaint. All organisations should have a complaints procedure in place and be able to give you appropriate information about this.
Useful information and help
Speech and language therapy