There is already a lot of great advice on the internet about applying for DLA. I completed the form for my son yesterday and got it mailed off and I’m really glad to have that behind me. 40 pages of excruciating detail on exactly what is not quite right with my son isn’t a fun task to endure. Necessary for granting the right rate, certainly. I’m thankful its an exercise that comes around only once every 3 years.
For purposes of ASD, a great resource guide for completing DLA is on the Cerebra website.
It has some fantastic writing prompts for parents who get stumped trying to describe the details of their child’s social/behavior issues. And its useful for reminding parents of every little thing that is done daily to support your child… and that every little thing does add up over the course of the day faster than you’d realize.
When considering questions, the most popular advice that I’ll repeat here is: consider answering the question as though it happens on your child’s worst day and write to that.
Some not as popular tips that I found helpful:
- Phone into the Department of Works and Pensions to request the form, rather than completing it online. What this does is that your claim becomes back dated to the time stamp printed on the form that you receive. You will receive the form usually in less than 10 business days and then you have six weeks to complete the form… with your claim being back dated to the date of your phone call. While the online form is handy and will save your place, the time stamp for back dating your claim then becomes the date that the online form was submitted.
- While waiting for your DLA form to come in, start keeping a diary. Try to write down all of the little extra things you need to do for your child that wouldn’t normally need to be done for a child of his age. In addition, keep track of any triggers to meltdowns, or any other behavior that’s not in line with what a child of that age usually does.
- As the Cerebra website suggests, once you get your form and are filling it out, take a lot of breaks. It is very unrealistic to think it can be completed all in one day. I took two weeks on mine and I’m like… super busy body. There were days when I’d just do one question and even a few days when I’d look at the next question on the form and decide to come back to it on the next day. It is emotionally draining and that is okay.
- There’s no harm in giving too much information. Write in as much detail as possible. Add supplementary sheets. Give loads of evidence. You’re only having to do this once every three years, so make the most of it. Also its free post no matter how much documentation is sent in.
- Keep a copy of everything that you send in. I know not everyone has easy access to a copy machine and what has helped me (and is much faster than sitting by the copier) is this app for your smart phone: TinyScan [ Apple ] [ Android ] … Buying Pro version of this app is definitely worth it. Just snap a photo of the document, it converts it to a scanned PDF that you can either keep on your smart phone or email to yourself or drop into Evernote. (btw, Evernote is highly recommended and paid version is very well worth it as everything you drop into Evernote, including PDFs that you scan off of TinyScan, becomes a searchable database with their word recognition software. Evernote can also become a great information clearing house for all of the ASD related stuff you come across, therapies, activities, and of course, Home Education materials found on the web)
- Give yourself a nice treat when you’ve finished. Its tough. Go for a long moan on a parent support forum. Treat yourself to a nice dinner and movie. You’ve earned it. And pat yourself on the back, because you do a good job every day. ❤