OK, so firstly, there is going to be a time when you will need a Letter of Support from your therapist to another person or agency, in order to access supports or other services in order to help your child.
One of the biggest frustrations for parents in these situations is not knowing exactly what is needed in the first place (or sometimes even the person requesting it is not sure!). This can mean that after doing the rounds of calls, emails, to the people supporting your child, you have a selection of letters as requested, you hand them in, and still get a big fat ‘NO’, from the requesting body.
The follow up chasing usually then can identify a few common issues:
- The diagnosis doesn’t match that areas scope to assist (which usually means needing to find out the right administrative hoops to jump through with the right department!)
- The clinical needs are correct, but there are specific severity measures, or wording an phrases which they are primed to look for that could be missing.
- There is not enough detail that they need in order to assess.
So, how can you ensure you get the right information you need, to the right people, hopefully in the right time?
In order to help prepare it properly, your therapist would need to know:
– Who is the person asking for the information?
– How soon do they need it?
– Where does it need to go?
– What information they are looking for?
Who is asking is important. If it is your child’s teacher or principal, they may in turn need to send this to another 3rd party for resources for example. In other cases, the person asking for the information may be the person who has the right of approval to bring you to the next step. For example, if you speak to an ENT because you have a concern, they may want a GP referral letter or SLT letter in order to accept you. In this case, they would be able to let you know how much, or little information they require.
In the case of onward referrals to another agency, it is vital to know when they need it. Often there can be a deadline for applications that may be missed otherwise.
Where it is required in order to get access to funding or is part of a package required in order to access additional services, they may need more details than can be contained in a letter. Often they may want a more detailed history, validation of scores to assist in demonstrating the clinical need, etc. In these cases a letter would not suffice, and they may require a summary report instead.
The more information that is known about what is needed and why, the better the person writing the letter of support will be able to help.
So, please Help Them, Help You. (To paraphrase Jerry Maguire!)