Getting Started with Special Needs – Be good to everyone (not just nice)

Day 19…so I’m just about to write our appeal of the “PRE-SERVICE CLAIM DENIAL NOTICE” for Applied Behavior Analysis.

Applied Behavior Analysis is:

  • A major, effective autism treatment.
  • Very intense (20 hours a week)!
  • one of the two big therapies recommended for my son

And the first letter we received after our initial diagnosis.

… the letter that began to open my eyes to what we’ll be facing on our autism treatment journey.

It is hard to be grateful, but I should be… it is much better to know what you are getting into quickly than getting blindsided later.

Autism is hard on everyone

Working autism is hard on you, it is hard on your family, it is hard on your affected child, it is hard on everyone. It is even hard on the people you tell.

It is also hard on the professional and administrative staff who you are working with.

If you’ve started building your team and telling people about your child’s condition, you are probably starting to get referrals.

And, at least for me, I’ve found that a number of the referrals are dead ends.

The person is either not available, moved on professionally, or just gone.

Autism is hard on everyone.

People leave the field.

They burn out.

My wife works for the VA (Department of Veteran’s Affairs) and they have huge challenges hiring and keeping psychologists and social workers to help vets with mental health problems.

The work is hard.

You have to work in an imperfect organization that has its own agenda.

Your patients are angry.

The outcomes are often not good.

It is a long, long hard road.

Be nice good to everyone

I can’t imagine being on the other end of the phone calls and meetings where benefits have to be denied or curtailed. It isn’t your call, you are just obeying the rules and implementing “policy”.

You are a person. No one likes to be yelled at or tell a parent that their child can’t get the services that their doctor or school or state recommends.

Don’t just be nice, be good to everyone.

They are usually just the messenger.

They didn’t make the rules.

… but don’t be a wimp either. You have got to be an untiring, unflagging advocate for your child.

Separate your objection to the policy from the person you are communicating with.

Assume the messenger has the best intentions.

Remember, you’re going to try to convince them (and their boss) to say “Yes”…. and you may be working with them together for a long time.

If the person is actually a real problem, keep cool. Still assume that they are a good person… just not a good fit for you or your circumstances.

Even if they are an a**…

Get them out of there as pleasantly (and quickly) as possible.

Now, back to some Bureaucracy-Fu.

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