ADCAMHS - is it me?
Had a meeting with our SW and a lady from ADCAMHS the other day. I contact SS 9 months ago when we took Ewok out of school (in Y8). I said that we were obviously entering a new phase in his life - the dreaded teenage years - and as parents we would like to have some support/guidance etc., and to be more prepared for the types of things that were likely to crop up and have some understanding and possibly even some strategies.
So 9 months later we have our meeting with ADCAMHS to offer advice and support.
Ewok has been seeing a counsellor from an organisation called Dialogue. Dialogue are a well respected organisation and amongst other things they work within schools in our surrounding area. Ewok originally saw a Dialogue counsellor in primary school and I was interested in what they did. I thought that at some point in the dim and distant future (probably his teenage years) he might need additional support from a counsellor and it might be a good idea to put the wheels in motion at that time, so that should the need arise he would be familiar with the prospect of going to counselling and ideally he would have built up a positive relationship with a specific counsellor. I chose a Dialogue counsellor as they would be used to working with children with his types of feelings and behaviours.
Roll forward to now. Ewok has seen the same counsellor on and off for about 6 years now. He doesn't see her on a regular basis, but when his anxiety levels have got very high, if he has been particularly angry, when he was getting worried about moving up to secondary school etc., then we book a block of sessions. Sometimes I have suggested it and sometimes he has said he is starting to feel "funny" inside and we wants to see "his lady". There have been periods over this time where he hasn't seen her for 18 months or so.
ADCAMHS main nugget of advice and support was to say that we are wonderful parents (how do they know? They had never met us before and have never seen Ewok or read his history) and should have the confidence to deal with Ewok's issues ourselves rather than "relying" on outside support and said we should stop seeing the counsellor.
ADCAMHS had also never heard of Dialogue - which completely surprised me. How could they not be aware of this organisation. Even the SW looked a bit surprised when the ADCAMHS lady asked who they were.
I don't feel that we "rely" on this support. I think we do deal with Ewok's issues, but this is another string to our bow, another means of support and is also making him aware that going to someone for additional support when its needed is "normal" and not a sign of failure or something to be ashamed about.
The other thing that concerned me was that she kept saying "at his age he should be......" . Apparently because he still likes to "play" and that as we use the word "play" then we are keeping him young with our use of language. At his age he should have moved away from playing, apparently. (He was 13 in the summer holidays).
I was always under the impression that the chronological age was good to bear in mind, but we parent and deal with him according to his emotional age. We encourage him to do age related stuff but we allow him to do younger stuff if he wants. On Sunday evening we were building lego boats whilst watching Shaun of the Dead on DVD. That is a typical scenario for us. He can be age appropriate and quite young all at the same time.
So our nine month wait for support resulted in being told not to use the counsellor, to stop using the word "play" and to remember how old he is. Nothing about the types of issues we are likely to run into (drugs, alcohol, sex, social media etc.) and no offer of any further constructive support.
So is it me?? Or was that a complete waste of time?