My name is Angela Kelly and as well as a team member of Special Needs Jungle, I am a counsellor/psychotherapist working with adults and adolescents.
I was born and raised in Surrey and I have three step-children, twin boys James and Andrew and Sarah my step daughter. They are all grown up now with partners/wives and children of their own (I know… I don’t look old enough) and living successful independent lives, but I raised them from the ages of 11 and 8 respectively and I have learnt a lot from them.
Then along came my two, Ed and Monty and I was launched rather unceremoniously into the word of SEN.
It was like walking down a dark road, completely blindfolded, with trip hazards and dead ends everywhere. Help was extremely limited, support groups appeared non existent (they weren’t, you just had to find them yourselves, but where did I start?) and the people I thought who would be able to help couldn’t!
Up until the birth of my second child I had worked in admin, it helped pay the bills and I wasn’t unhappy. However it became obvious that working and raising a child with significant special needs was going to prove impossible and I left paid employment.
It was during this journey that I myself sought counselling to help me deal with the challenges that raising two boys with SEN gave me and, finding the process amazingly helpful, I studied for three years to become a therapist myself and I love what I do!
I also became passionate about the needs of children with SEN and their parents. I was determined to expand my knowledge about the SEN system and to discover what help was available, either by right or otherwise. During our journey I noticed that I was expected to be grateful or lucky (two things that I find particularly irksome) for anything my sons were given, which gives the sense that I shouldn’t be asking for too much, that really did not feel right. It was then that I understood the process of ensuring the all the small details were in place when it came to EHCPs or Assessments and I wanted other parents to share this knowledge too. It was shortly after that I met Tania, we were both involved with a Surrey Parent Carer Forum and after we left Tania asked me if I would like to become involved with SNJ, I of course said yes and here we are today.
I have a special interest in the emotions involved in being a family member or carer of a child with additional needs and how these impact on the everyday wellbeing of the individuals involved.
Read Angela's Posts
Tips to help a bullied child: Anti-Bullying Week
The Anti Bullying Alliances’ theme this year for anti-bullying week is 'Power for Good'. What I understand this to mean…Continue reading »
Top tips for keeping your cool when parenting styles conflict
One of the things that can cause big conflicts in a relationship, particularly where there is a child with special…Continue reading »
How do people with autism experience empathy?
I decided to write about this as a result of an article I posted on SNJ's social media a while…Continue reading »
Learning to cope with your child’s Pathological Demand Avoidance
I’ve noticed there is a lot of information on social media about Pathological Demand Avoidance, now recognised as part of…Continue reading »
Pathological Demand Avoidance Day!
Today is PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) Day and I wanted to do a quick post to promote awareness and provide…Continue reading »
Teenage years and special needs: from angel to devil and back again
Puberty with any teenager can be a tricky business and a time of immense change for everyone in the family.…Continue reading »
Is Peer Support a replacement for professional mental health support?
Over 50% of Mental Health problems start in childhood and we are all well aware of the difficulties many children…Continue reading »
Top tips for mindful parents in developing your children’s resilience
The theme of last week's Children's Mental Health week was Resilience and, although I've written about this subject on SNJ…Continue reading »
How to make your friends and family with special needs kids feel welcome
I post a lot of information on the SNJ social media accounts; it’s part of my role as one of…Continue reading »
Anti-Bullying Week: How to help a victim of bullying
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will ALWAYS hurt me...possibly for a very long time! It’s anti-bullying…Continue reading »
Why Family Therapy can break down the barriers we didn’t know were there
I post quite frequently on the SNJ Facebook and Twitter accounts, articles about mental health difficulties faced by young people…Continue reading »
Banned from Prom, but my school refuser son’s new future beckons
What happens now… A while back I wrote a piece about school refusal and gave some ideas that were hopefully…Continue reading »
Sensory processing in autism: research developments
Today we have a guest post from Dr Cathy Manning who is conducting research into the way children with autism…Continue reading »
Counselling and mental health services: Will they still be delivered?
The mental health of our young people has been in the headlines a lot recently with Child and Adolescent Mental…Continue reading »
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) – What actually changes now?
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) has long been recognised as being a condition related to autism. In fact, until recently, it…Continue reading »
Mindfulness: How can it help with mental health difficulties?
It is Mental Health awareness week this week and the theme for this year is Mindfulness. Earlier this year, Special…Continue reading »
World Autism Day: A boy and his Assistance dog
It's annual UN World Autism Day, April 2nd today, although the National Autistic Society have stretched it into a whole…Continue reading »
SEND reforms: Why working with parents means taking a walk in our shoes.
The new SEND system places an emphasis on teachers working hand in hand with parents as part of “Team My…Continue reading »
How to distress a child with an invisible disability without really trying
Since my son’s diagnosis of ADHD back in 2008, I have noticed that it is one of those conditions that…Continue reading »
Children’s Mental Health Week: Our experience of CAMHS nearly broke us
[caption id="attachment_10322" align="alignright" width="230"] Duchess of Cambridge[/caption] The children's charity, Place2Be have launched the first Children’s Mental Health Week this…Continue reading »
The 12 “Dos” of Christmas for special needs parents
Christmas is almost upon us and it seems like it’s been a long time coming. The retail hype seems to…Continue reading »
Supporting your child through the anguish of bullying
It's almost the end of Anti-Bullying Week and as we started the week talking about bullying and SEND young people,…Continue reading »
World Mental Health Day – Some healthy thinking tips
Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day and I thought it would be a good opportunity to write about keeping…Continue reading »
The importance of learning resilience
We have all to one extent or another, faced difficult times, whether in our family, school or working lives. We…Continue reading »
How the respite of a Short Break can keep a family together
Parents often talk to me about the unavailability and inaccessibility of respite. They are concerned that there is nothing available…Continue reading »
Staying sane in special needs parenting: Finding 15 minutes a day to be “just me”
When your family includes a member with special needs or disabilities, there is so little time for you, the parent…Continue reading »
A mother’s top tips for parenting your ADHD child
I recently read an article written by professionals concerning Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The article focused on diagnosis and…Continue reading »
My son has autism! Is anyone listening?
Hello…can you hear me? Are you listening? I mean really listening? How often do we really listen to each other?…Continue reading »
School Refusal: won’t go or can’t go?
My second column for Special Needs Jungle and I am very excited! I suggested to Tania that I write my…Continue reading »
A Parenting Course? How dare you!
Today marks the first column from Angela Kelly one of our four new columnists. The parent of two special needs sons…Continue reading »