Having a special needs child means an endless round of meetings and appointments. This week it totals four. Nothing unusual there.
I have a mental top five list of the worst appointments I have to endure.
The community dentist (truly nightmarish, I shall post on that at a later date when I have stopped my counselling after the last episode)
Social worker meetings
Anything involving a general anesthetic and therefore starvation
The "sleep specialist" visits
Anything in a hospital (he can smell one a mile off)
This weeks lowlight was the social worker meeting.
Before I had Ollie, my slightly Daily Mailish view of social workers was that, much like the child catcher, they come with a big net and remove your kids if you haven't done anything. And if your kids do need removing, they do nothing and it all goes horribly wrong.
Through extensive experience I now know that the biggest danger from a social worker is that due to the length and frequency of their meetings, I may resort to poking my eyes out with a fork just to relieve the boredom.
I often ask myself why I put myself through it. But I am entitled (thanks to the last labour government to get all political about it) to 8 hours a month of respite care for Ollie, as he is deemed and assessed to be in the higher bracket of disability.
This woefully token gesture comes with the heavy price of a social worker.
Now a fair few of them have been nice people. In 6 years I have had 7 social workers that I can recall, possibly more?. My current one is a quite lovely lady.
However they bring with them "the system". This incredibally cumbersome heap of paperwork includes a full assessment every six months of Ollie. This involves six hours of meetings and observations. Then I will be assessed as his carer. Possibly three hours of form filling there. Then it is decided he needs more care, a "child in need" meeting is called where more people involved in his care are invited and the same forms are completed in a Groundhog Day fashion.
The net result has always been the same. Nothing. Then the social worker will leave or there will be a departmental reshuffle and the new appointee will not be able to find the paperwork so we start all over again.
Still, this week I sense progress. Shamefully I cried at the meeting. A crap week and terrible tiredness getting the better of me. There is talk of increasing my care package.
Another two meetings have been scheduled to progress this. I'm having a rummage round my cutlery drawer in anticipation.