Friday, February 6, 2015

Partnering with Professionals

One of the challenges of raising a child with special health care needs is the fact that you must work with many professionals in your child’s life.  We have some tips/tricks we try to keep in mind when we’re trying to partner with providers: 
  • Develop relationships with professionals even before you need them.
  • Before meetings, write down points to be discussed, questions to be answered, and decisions to be made.
  • Try to create a cohesive, team-like atmosphere when talking with professionals. I have had several experiences with doctors, school staff, etc where I had to work a little harder at this, but more times than not, I gained respect.  I was educated about the issues, and willing to listen to them and provide valuable input.
  • Be sure you are educating yourself on the topic from reliable sources.
  • Seek out professionals who demonstrate concern for you and your child.
  • Learn your rights and the rights of your child. This is probably especially true in the special education system.
  • Tell the professional you want and expect to be involved in decisions about your child.
  • Tell the professional what kind of help you need, if you can. If you aren't sure what kind of help you want, let the professional know you reserve the right to decide later
  • If a professional uses terms you do not understand, ask them to explain it in simpler terms.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire the professional. This is especially true with doctors. If you don't feel like the doctor is listening to you or giving your child the attention s/he needs, then find a new doctor. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but in most circumstances it is possible even if it’s just changing doctors within the same practice. Doctors are people too; and sometimes personalities just don't mesh.
  • Involve your child in choosing services and providers when appropriate, and respect their point-of-view.
  • You are your child's best advocate; collect information, stay involved, and participate.
If you'd like additional resources or support, feel free to contact us: 317 944 8982

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