We hear all the time about the bad things that are happening in the world of special educational needs and disabilities. The local authorities who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to, the schools who cannot or don’t want to support children with SEND in their classrooms, the companies that don’t make their facilities accessible to all. I wish I could say that was going to change completely in 2018, but I can’t see it happening. I do hope there will be moves in the right direction, however.
So I want to kick off 2018 with some good news. Towards the end of last year, I asked on Facebook for your good news stories about your disabled children and your family experiences around this. I’ve gathered some of the responses and please add your own to this blog post’s comments below so we can get some good feeling vibrations going for 2018.
I started off the post telling you about my younger son’s successful first term at university. It wasn’t easy, but he persevered.
In November he also received a ‘YES’ award from Surrey’s Youth Participation Team for passing his previous course with triple distinction, despite only being able to attend 80% of the time because of illness.
Here are a few of yours that show that our children are amazing and, with the right support, they can really fly:
Your SEND children's good news!
Annemarie My 19-year-old son is in his second year of an extended diploma and is getting distinctions. He’s been riding his moped on the road since he was 16 and has been with his girlfriend for two years. I'm so proud of him!
Rachel This is my wonderful son Matt who is 15 and makes jewellery and sells minerals. He orders all his own stock and is very knowledgeable about geology. He makes bath bombes, wooden candle holders and beeswax candles. Here he is with his stock at a craft fayre.
Avril After a horrendous five years, my eldest is now thriving at university, the middle is now in full-time school (after two years) and the youngest is doing well in school and has now got a wonderful group of friends. At times, I thought I could not do another day, but now wondering what to do with all this time I have now I am not having to go to endless meetings!
Philippa My son got his 100m in swimming this year he is 3years old, he has autism and hypermobility. So proud!
Paula: After a lengthy transfer of Statement to EHCP, a nightmare of a Tribunal battle, my big lad began a two-year course at a residential college (many miles away from home). We are two weeks from the end of his first term. He is absolutely flying and so very happy!
Lynne: My 21-year-old daughter has Asperger’s. We have had a long rough journey, with bullying in school, a period of home-schooling and a nervous breakdown during GCSEs. After a house move four years ago, she attended college for a two-year IT extended diploma. Fast forward to today and she's graduated from an Apprenticeship, worked for two years with that company as a junior programmer and has now just moved jobs to be a software developer. And to add to that, she's now living in her own flat with a really sweet boyfriend. Five years ago, we could never even have imagined that she would have been able to do any of this, as she found the outside world so difficult but she's determined and made all of this happen herself. I am so, so proud of her and it's beautiful to see her so happy. Life continues to be very hard again with my 16-year-old daughter who has very different issues, but I live in hope amongst the hard times.
Catherine My daughter, who has cognitive and language difficulties is now 14. Last May, she completed The Ten Tors 35-mile event as part of a team of six girls and is in training now to repeat in May 2018 as she isn’t old enough to do 45 miles. Map reading, route planning, teamwork all very difficult for her. She makes me proud every day.
Gemma My daughter, now 17, was on School Action Plus (under the previous English SEND system), then invisible SEND after the reforms. She was denied any useful support at secondary school, was always failing and below average. After a tantrum that I couldn't keep in after five years of asking, the school finally agreed to an educational psychology assessment. The report arrived three weeks before she was about to stop full-time school for GCSEs. We discovered her working memory was below the first percentile (meaning lower than 99% of her peers) among other things. Now with her ASD diagnosis and a year at horticulture college she is working independently and getting distinctions for coursework and I am not having to be involved at all.
I saw her old school SENCo in Tesco the other day. All the anger came back but I resisted lobbing a frozen turkey at her head. So good news on two points. Keep up the good work SNJ
Finally, I have my own good news. I’m starting a part-time TESOL course next month until May, learning to teach English as a foreign language. I’m hoping SNJ won’t suffer, although I also have my own social media and PR business to fit in alongside the ever-present impact of Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
What would help is you offering to tell your own stories here on SNJ. This includes your and your children’s triumphs and your top tips for coping/thriving with your child’s disability and all that brings. Have you got an innovative support group or small charity that’s done something fab? Tell us about it! If you’re a SEND practitioner and have some great practice to share, let us know that too.
Help SNJ to inspire others in 2018 by telling your experiences of how you got help for your child and/or made a difference to other parents or children.
We’ll still bring you the unvarnished truth about SEND of course, but we want to help give you the tools, resilience and determination to do something about it – and that’s where you can pass on your experiences and skills to help others. Write to me and Renata here: [email protected].