Supporting a child with additional needs can be a battle as well as a joy. Parents have to negotiate with educational services, healthcare services and the general public who often lack awareness and empathy. I tell the story of my children and I, highlighting both the challenges that we have faced and the successes we have enjoyed, from pre-diagnosis to the present. The aim of my blog and my talk is to improve relationships and increase understanding between parents and the professionals they encounter. It is only by educating ourselves that we can ensure that children achieve their full potential … Continue reading It’s time to speak up…
In our previous home it was almost impossible to get my children out of the house at weekends. They wanted to hibernate and if they were forced out there was a guarantee of tears and the outing would often be a disaster. It could take days, weeks, or even months to prepare for the smallest event. Spontaneity was impossible. My son would always choose the safety of his self-imposed routine. My daughter still panics every time we leave the house and, to this day, quickly packs a bag with a few cherished belongings in it, even to go to the … Continue reading Museum
We’ve had a breakthrough. Over a year and a half after giving up wearing school shoes and about 2 years since a sock graced her feet, my daughter has just completed a week of wearing both, on the correct feet. There are some serious sensory issues behind this refusal and solid reasons for them. Any socks that managed to actually get onto her feet would be clawed off in a panic as if they had been dipped in acid. It was a daily battle which put her in a rotten mood for school as she simply could not regulate her … Continue reading Socks
I am shattered. This afternoon I witnessed a horrendous meltdown and, for the first time in as long as I can remember, it didn’t happen to one of my children. We were asked to leave a building by another door in order to reduce the risk to the child. Mine couldn’t handle the change to routine and hid behind a door, refusing to come out and angrily shouting. I explained what was happening and how we could help. I wanted her to help and to leave by the other door but she wouldn’t and I was furious with her. I … Continue reading Meltdown
I won’t have the chance to say this to your face so I am going to say it here. This is my platform, the place that I use to explain clearly and dispassionately, what it is to live our lives, in the hope that people reflect and empathise with others who might be treading a similar path. Sadly, the people who read this will most likely be the people who guard against this kind of thing already, who have brought up their children to accept difference and embrace it. Probably not you. Your children are terrorising my son. Their actions … Continue reading To The Parents of the Boys in the Changing Room
First day of double school run. Second day of No.1 child’s new school, first day of No.2 child’s new school. Parent must be calm, positive and supportive to ensure smooth transition into places of learning. All therapeutic parenting skills (from expensive Attachment course) must be employed: playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy. Continue reading “Morning”
I sat in Reception thumbing through the prospectus hoping to find, amongst the student profiles, a student with SEND. Of course not. The insert showcased the exam results. Next, I whizzed through the mini Ofsted report. No mention of SEND either. Alarm bells ringing. But, I remembered, I had visited before and the SENDCo had seemed fine. It was a good school, perhaps this was just another misunderstanding. ‘Hello Mrs Smith, come through’, the Head Teacher shook my hand and led me into an empty office with an unsmiling SENDCo. Both had a copy of my son’s EHCP but … Continue reading Inclusion. Part 3. A Tale of Two Schools.
Yesterday I made the 200 mile round trip to visit two schools for my daughter – the same two schools that I had been told had ‘raised concerns about meeting need’. On the strength of the objections I had been asked whether I would like to try other schools. I had asked the new Local Authority for a list of the objections in order that I could answer them/check their legality but they had refused to do so as they felt it would compromise the schools. Poor old schools, eh? Mentioning both the Code of Practice and the Children … Continue reading Inclusion Part 2. One down…