So where to start…. Being a parent is one of the best things in the world, but can sometimes be the most challenging and heartbreaking. Sometimes you feel like you have got this parenting lark down, other days pulling your hair out. Then….. add SEN into the mix and you can quite often have a whole new level of fight on your hands to get what you know your child needs! Whether this is extra medical support, extra support in school, obtaining a diagnosis of need for your child to ensure they can get the appropriate support, an EHCP, financial support, or even just someone to talk to as you are at a loss of where to go next.
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Laura, first and foremost wife to Joe (founder of inclusive teach) Mummy to four amazing children, and step mum to another wonderful child. During the first lockdown, I went on maternity leave. Having a baby during this time was really tough and I felt like our baby missed out on so many experiences during her first year. That I was not ready to go back to work just yet and leave her. We missed out on a lot together and I wanted to expose her to social situations and get her used to being around others. Seeing her begin to grow into the happiest, most confident little girl has been wonderful. During this time we were also going through the EHCP process ready for our son to begin primary school! This was something he (and us) really struggled with. I found a lot of interesting discussions had to take place to ensure he received the necessary support in school and that it matched what was stated on his EHCP. So actually having this time out of my career has been so beneficial for all of us to ensure he is settled and well supported in his routine and in school. I feel so grateful to have been able to have this time with my family.
Fast forward a year and I am beginning to miss supporting children and their families in school. For the past 13 years I have been teaching in mainstream primary schools in Kent. Something I really enjoyed was working with children with additional needs and gathering knowledge and understanding of how best to support them and be able to meet their needs in the classroom.
As a parent of an autistic child, having gone through the EHCP process I know how difficult this can be. Not just with knowing how to fill in the lengthy forms and what to put in them but emotionally as well. Even though Joe and I were fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge when completing various different applications I found it emotionally draining. Focussing on what your child has difficulties with rather than all the amazing things they can do is hard going! I leaned on a lot of my friends and colleagues for support during this time. Even if it was just for a cup of tea and a chat. It’s so important to have that support network.
So where am I going with this? Some parents approached me in the playground to support their EHCP process and other SEND issues affecting their children. As I am currently a full-time mum/step-mum to 5 children with a variety of SEND needs this is an area I thought I could help them with and would like to help more parents with.
I have seen the struggles some parents go through due to the complexity of the system and who often have no support. I want to help parents to gain the right support for their child, ranging from extra support in the nursery with SENif funding to applying for an EHCP. I think it is so important that parents have a strong voice in meetings with the school to ensure they are heard and can be confident their child is getting the support they need every day.
Whilst I raise our children I have the opportunity to provide support to those who find themselves in this position. You may just need a cup of tea and a chat to talk about the difficulties your child is facing, support in school meetings, help to complete forms, or support with the EHCP process. If you have an annual review or meeting at school that you are worried about get in contact.
You can Email me via firstname.lastname@example.org or use the form below (I aim to reply within 48 hours).