Office Visits and Other Appointments
You may feel like your appointment book is filled to the max. Necessary medical, dental, therapy, and educational appointments, in addition to other personal business appointments you may have, can consume a great deal of your time.
An appointment time is perhaps the best time to make child care arrangements for all of your children. If that is not possible, choose your times carefully and go prepared with things for the children to do and appropriate snacks. A tired, hungry child is not a happy child — especially during an appointment.
Siblings' Office Visits
In a perfect world, you would take only one child to the doctor at a time. The others would stay with a family member or friend so that you could concentrate on the office visit without distractions. Of course, this is not a perfect world.
Try to plan office visits at a “good” time of the day. If your brood is ready to go first thing in the mornings, plan morning appointments. If everyone needs time to wake up, try to go later. Pack easy-to-take things to do and drinks and snacks for backup. Plan to do something special after the appointment that can be used as a behavior reward.
Rewards for “good” behavior do not have to be elaborate or expensive. You have already established a discipline and reward system. Choose the type of reward that you are using with your child in other situations. For a child who is severely developmentally delayed, you may be using small food rewards throughout the visit. For other children, a preferred activity at a later time (time at the park, watching a favorite DVD, blowing bubbles in the yard) will be sufficient.
Consistent expectations and follow-through are the best ways to get your children to do as you request. It is especially important that you are “a parent of your word” in appointment settings. Behavior rewards are for desired behavior. If your children are misbehaving, give a warning. If the behavior continues after a second warning, there is no reward.
As the parent of a child with special needs, you will have more school-related meetings than most parents. In addition to parent-teacher conferences with your child's inclusion teacher, you will meet with his special education teacher and possibly his therapists.
Although they may meet with you as a group, the more people involved in the meeting, the longer the meeting will take. You may wish to ask for a longer appointment time to ensure that each participant will have time to present her information and suggestions. In many instances, it is easier to meet individually with those who work with your child.
In addition, the school will arrange an annual meeting to review your child's progress toward his educational goals, and to plan for his programming and goals for the following year.
School meetings are an important time to discuss your child's progress, to address any questions or concerns you have, and to see first-hand some of the materials used in the classroom. If possible, attend the meetings with your spouse and make arrangements for your children to stay with someone.
Child care (if available) also should be used for parent appointments. Trading child care with a neighbor or friend works for many families. As your child gets a little older, you may be able to trade child care with another family from his class. The time together can provide valuable social experience. You will be leaving your child with someone who understands his needs, and you will be able to take care of necessary business.