On Friday (yes, I know I'm a bit behind!) J had an appointment with CAMHS to discuss him going to a series of group assessments. He is rather excited about the sessions because M has already been through the process and thoroughly enjoyed it. We're quite happy too, because the process replaces school input, and with M it was quite a good indicator of his issues.
We started off with two of the ladies who will be leading the group - one is a play specialist, and I am not sure of the others particular qualifications. They introduced themselves to J, and talked about how the groups would be set up. There will be five or six children, from 5 - 10, and they will meet every Friday for five weeks. The sessions are 1 1/4 hours long. Each session will be a little different, and they ran through their plans.
The first week is introductions and talking about themselves, another week is races and active games, the final week they go to a café. In between there are various specific activities like drawing their family and a one-to-one imaginative activity.
They discussed the rules - no hurting, and no talking about things that happen there with anyone other than us (parents). As such I'll be vague about anything that happens - but I think it's OK to talk about the general procedure, just not to discuss specific children.
Attention then turned to us (both my husband and I were there) - did we have any questions (no, we've been through this one before), letting us know they have a "containment hold" they use if necessary for the safety of the group (though it's not been needed in a long time). The final question, however caught me on the hop.
I was pretty relaxed, thinking I knew what was going to happen and not expecting the "so, in general terms what are your concerns?" The trouble is J - like any child with extra needs - is a complex individual. I could talk for hours about the differences and difficulties he faces. I could go on and on and still think of something five minutes after the conversation ends. Usually I try to mentally prepare a sort of bullet point list. I'd forgotten to do that. I gave them some random points, can't even remember clearly what I said now! I'm not too worried though, because we have had two long appointments discussing this stuff so it will all be on file . . .
Now we are left at that awkward point. I usually tell J to behave before anything he is at without me - generally run over a list of "do's and don'ts" - sometimes he even listens (!) This time I actually sort of *want* him to play up. I want him to have an observable level of difficulty doing things, so that the team can see and draw conclusions. But I don't want him to upset the other children, or hurt anyone . . .