Monday, 15 December 2014

Frustration


This post was written on the 2nd December 2014, and in that time frame from then until publishing a few developments have been made. You can read about our positive experience with our health visitor right here. But for now, this is how I was feeling until these developments were made..

A year ago in January Leo had his 2 and a half year check. It was here that concerns were expressed over his development, particularly in his speech. I left his appointment far from impressed with the way I had been spoken to, but I left with the next steps of what I had to do in order to help Leo. The health visitor had told us that she wanted to see Leo again in two months’ time, she wanted him to repeat the assessment and if she still wasn’t happy then she would refer him onto speech therapy and we would go from there.

The health visitor was supposed to book Leo in for an eye appointment as soon as possible as she had also expressed concerns over a potential squint. The two months came and went with no word from our health visitor and no word of any appointment to get Leo’s eye checked out. I called and called the office where she worked trying to get in touch with her, when that failed I left her a voice mail asking about the eye appointment and also asked her to call me back so that we could arrange the assessment appointment. There was no call back, and absolutely no contact from my health visitor after that. She finally got around to making the eye appointment judging by the fact a week later a letter landed through the door, but I’m sure that’s only because I jogged her memory after she had let us fall through the cracks.

Still she had expressed some real concerns over Leo, she had taken one chilled out Mother and turned her into an emotional wreck. She had insinuated that there was more wrong with Leo, but of course couldn’t go into any details about it. She was that concerned that she just completely forgot about us, and in the long run she has let me and more importantly, she has let Leo down. The way she spoke to us about Leo back in January was worrying and completely negative. When I go over that appointment in my head I don’t re-call anything positive being said at all. But the point is she has taken those concerns and not followed up on any of them, she has left a child who would have benefited from a speech therapy referral 11 months ago drop completely through the net.

Ultimately She hasn’t done her job and she hasn’t supported us through any of this, and the respect I once had for her has diminished. I am actually angry at the way we have been treated by her, or not treated as the case may be. I left that appointment and did everything she advised, maybe if she had held up her end of the arrangement things wouldn't have taken this long to sort out. Maybe the positive improvements I can see in Leo today could have been exceeded further.

Leo has come on so much in the past 11 months, but our health visitor doesn’t know this. Leo could have come on even further had she pulled her finger out and actually done what she was supposed to be doing. I have been lucky in the fact that nursery have been on hand to help, and eventually they referred Leo for speech therapy back in June, a whole 5 months after it could have been originally placed.

Now speech therapy is happening, and they are nice enough people and I am glad that they are on board to help Leo and I, but even they are flakey. They book appointments and then forget they have booked them, they double book them, they book them and forget to tell you they have been made, they turn up late, and don’t really seem to know whether they are coming or going. It was just the other week that I rushed from work in my lunch break to be at an appointment that the speech therapist had forgotten to cancel with me, wasting my time, and wasting Leo’s time when she refused to see us.

We have had outside people from the local children’s centre come in to observe Leo at nursery, and nursery passed back the positive feedback that they didn't think anything was wrong and the observation had been fine. Only for me to then receive a report that read completely differently, it spurred me into calling the doctors and booking into see our GP to try and gain a pediatrician referral. It than transpired that this report was actually a rather old report and that the latest observation was absolutely fine.  I sometimes feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall, one person is telling me that Leo is really behind, another tells me he’s absolutely fine and the spectrum of normal at this age is so varied, and then there are people feeding me old information.

I feel like I have had to jump through hoops to even get to this point, I welcome any help with open arms, but the people who are in a position to help don’t seem to be very forthcoming. The appointment I am sitting with Leo on Friday (Friday 5th December 14) is ultimately me pushing to get Leo in front of a pediatrician. If there is something underlying (which I don’t think there is aside from speech delay) then it will have taken a year or over for someone to actually see us. Now I can’t help feeling really frustrated about that fact, because if there is an additional aspect of needs that hasn't been catered for, that’s an entire year of support that has not been there. Everyone who has seen Leo, I have had to fight to put him there. Surely it shouldn't be so hard to seek an opinion and guidance to help a child? To help my child!

I will go along Friday and see what is said, but I am certain the only issue is speech delay. Everyone is so quick to label a child these days, and speech delay or no speech delay, that boy of mine is happy and never without a smile for long.

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