I have been doing some reflecting after a criticism was raised with me this week, having publicly discussed my views on current access to therapy provision in the U.K.
My intention with posting this afternoon is to share my viewpoint and reasoning behind my current thoughts.
I support families every day who are struggling to access statutory services, who are being made to jump through many hoops, who are feeling happy that they finally get a referral to paediatrics but then it gets refused as it’s not the right team, or are refused because they haven’t done enough school based intervention, etc. Many times parents are looking for answers and are just kept in limbo for months or even years, with hardly anyone taking the time to listen to their fears. I take that time to listen.
I also support families who do receive services, but that are minimal, and I know whole heartedly that this is not the fault of the therapists in that service. I know that they are good people, they want to help, they want to make a difference; but they are restricted by their local policies that say that they can only offer a certain amount of therapy and support, or that support has been devolved down to individual schools to provide. I can absolutely understand how frustrating this is for the therapist (I’ve been there too in my past employment) but also for the parent who is once more left treading water, trying to find the help that their child needs. I sympathise with these parents and maybe sometimes I express that too much publicly. But I also can’t hide my beliefs that these parents and kids are often being failed. Not by the therapists themselves, but by the overarching services, which have been designed to cut costs and save money. It’s not a nice position to be in if you can’t provide something that you believe a child needs and I sympathise with the therapists too.
It’s actually very rare for a family to come to me and just say “we’re going private”, without a back story of the challenges they’ve had in accessing statutory services.
By expressing my opinion, I was criticised by another independent professional for being open about my opinion on the barriers that parents, guardians and carers face in accessing the services that their children with additional needs require to thrive.
I know I do a good job as I (usually!) get excellent feedback, but I’m also aware that not everyone will agree with me. Anyone who knows me personally or has worked with me will know that I am a gentle soul. I do not mean to offend. I would never intend to upset or anger someone. But in a way, I also feel grateful for someone being able to speak up. This is how I grow and the comments have been fully taken on board and will lead to me being able to provide a better service in the future.