This is the part that some parents find the most nerve wracking but being well prepared should help you feel more confident and in control. Part of the preparation for having a successful meeting is being aware of how your feelings, and everyone else’s, can affect how things go. You can find out more about this in our information about your role and your child’s part in meetings.
At each meeting there is usually a meeting ‘chair’ – most often that’s the person who called the meeting and the person who leads the discussion. If there are a few people at the meeting, they will usually start by explaining what the meeting is about and by asking people to introduce themselves. Say who you are and make sure you know who else is there (you can write names and titles in your notes). If you’re not sure what someone’s role is or why they’re at the meeting, it’s OK to ask.
During the meeting you can use the agenda and cross off any questions on your list as they are answered. If this isn’t your first meeting, ask about any action that was agreed at the last meeting to check what has been done.
It’s OK to speak up if you don’t understand something or want something explained in more detail. It’s also OK to disagree with what’s being said. If you don’t agree with something, you could try saying something like “I understand/hear what you’re saying, but I have a different view, or I disagree.”
Listen carefully to each person and try not to interrupt. Try and respect other people’s views in the meeting. We know that sometimes this can be hard, especially if you strongly disagree with something, but in the long run it’s more constructive to give everyone a chance to air their views.
Sometimes meetings can feel quite negative, especially if your child has challenging behaviour and that’s what is being discussed. In these situations, try and be as positive as you can and focus on how things can improve, rather than on what’s gone wrong. Ask if you can talk about solutions rather than problems.
Don’t feel pressured into agreeing to things that you’re not sure about. You can ask for time to think about things or say you’d like to talk to others such as your partner or someone from DiAS.
When the meeting is ending, ask the person running it to list the main action that has been agreed, who will be doing that work and by when. Write it all down so you have a record. Check all your questions have been answered and write down when the next meeting will be.