#CITYOT – Please don’t make Assumptions

Welcome to our brand new series for practitioners.  Families often wish they could tell practitioners one thing to improve the relationship between us.  So we have decided to share the things parents have said would help.  Welcome to CITYOT – Can I Tell You One Thing.

CITYOT AssumptionsCITYOT – Please don’t make assumptions:

As a mum, I have spent wasted many hours explaining what the real situation is and not what the assumed situation is.

Assumptions about our children, assumptions about us.

I have seen practitioners assume that as my child is age X, they must therefore be able to do Y.

I have seen practitioners assume that as my child has diagnosis X, they must therefore enjoy doing Y or really dislike doing Z.

One of the most frustrating things, as a mum, is when that assumption limits my child’s potential.

Don’t assume our children can’t do something, or that it’s not worth trying.  

Don’t assume our children will enjoy a certain topic or activity or dislike another.  

Assumptions about our family

It is also unbelievably frustrating when assumptions are made about me, as a mum or us, as a family.

I have seen practitioners assume that if you’re married, you have support.

I have seen practitioners assume that if your family lives nearby, you have a network to fall back on.

I have seen practitioners assume that if you are an outspoken advocate, you are a trouble maker.

I have seen practitioners assume that if you are knowledgable in one area, you are knowledgable in other areas.

I have seen practitioners assume that parents know exactly how the system works; the criteria, the pathways or even the existence of a certain service.

Don’t assume that nearby family or marriage is equivalent to support.  

Don’t assume that if a parent “appears” to be coping, that they are.   

Don’t assume that the support is no longer required if the family now appears to be functioning.

Don’t assume that if a parent knows the theory of the Children and Family Act, they will know how your LA have interpreted it locally.

Don’t assume that parents know the system inside out.

Don’t assume that parents know exactly what your role entails and how you can help them.

Don’t assume that a parent enjoys the constant battle. 

Assumptions about practitioners

However, this works both ways.  I have seen parents make assumptions about practitioners, based on their job title or based on a friend’s experience of that practitioner.

We live life on the SEND Line, a bit like the Circle Line but filled with emotions.  Sometimes we may meet you when we’ve had a good day and we’re feeling positive or you may meet us when we’ve had a bad day and we’re wondering how we can carry on.  And vice versa, you have good and bad days too.

We all have to remember that we are human.  We all make mistakes.  We all have good days and bad days.  We all have triggers – both positive and negative.  We all have different methods to get through the bad days.  We are all different.

Assuming anything else is often the root of our problems.

Debs Aspland

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN. Transplanted from the NW to the SE. Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

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