3

Something I’m ready to be open about..

Something I haven’t really been open about on here is Amellia, and I suppose it was all just due to coming to terms with it all. We knew she had her challenges and that she was a very unique child but recently more and more things are proving challenging for her.

We changed her school as her old one was just not supporting her at all. In her words “they would shout at me for getting things wrong but never show me how to do it right. I love my new school as they don’t shout and show me how to do it properly.” Personally I am all about positive reinforcement rather than putting a child down constantly because they can’t do something.

When she went to her new school for a trial they picked up on so much and were absolutely shocked at how little her previous one had been doing. I mean, she was in for two hours for her trial and they had already thought of ways to help her and have referred her on further. To say I’m a little pissed at her old school is an understatement, but she is now moved and it is the best thing I have done.

She started and they had an assistant in the room for another child so we’re going to sit Amellia beside them to try to help her until she could get her own one, but this wasn’t working out too great as she needed too much attention for the assistant to split her time. They then sat her beside the teacher and same story she needed too much for her to be able to teach properly so the school have now funded her own 1:1 until she is seen by Ed psychologist to get her own one funded by the education board. I am so impressed.

The teacher and Amellia sat down together and made her IEP with attainable goals for her to try to reach by January. When I got this home I realised just how much]she struggles in the classroom; Things like listen 3 times day and be able to sit still for 5 minutes made me realise.

I know that she will continue to improve and come on leaps and bounds with all the support she is receiving and as annoying as it is that we have had to wait this long for it, I can not wait to see how much this helps aid her in her learning.

As a mum, yes I feel extremely guilty that I didn’t pick up on this before and notice early on. Thankfully it isn’t too late and we will be able to put steps in now to help her for the future!

-WeeOhana

13

The fight for a school place!

We were told from early on that Dylan would need to attend a SEN (Special education needs) school. This means that we started the process to get a school for him at the earliest stage possible. Despite starting this process as early as possible it was still extremely stressful and I still can’t believe that this is still allowed to happen year after year.

We had a lady come out to the house to observe Dylan and ask questions, loads of reports that had to get sent off and heart wrenching forms to fill in.
After doing this all I was hoping that we would be told a date when we would know what school he was going to and that I could leave it up to the board to sort out without calling and hassling them. This was not the case at all.

As I’m sure you are aware for kids in mainstream they are told a date that everyone will find out what school they are attending, yes this can be stressful because sometimes you don’t get the school you wanted. I know how that can be as it happened with Amellia, so how come this can’t happen for SEN kids too?
I personally and I know many others feel that it is in fact more important for SEN kids to find out early on which school they are going too so that they can visit it many times before hand, drive the route to the school, get used to the feeling of the uniform, meet their teachers and many other things.

After many phone calls over the past few months to make sure they had got all the details they need and chasing up others who hadn’t passed on what they needed and having other professionals call to ask what was going on with the whole process it was starting to get very close to the end of term and the education board close whenever schools do so this sent me into a little bit of panic mode.

I called them and was put on hold for 30 mins and then they hung up so I called back and after another 30ish mins wait someone answered the phone and said “Special Education aren’t taking anymore calls today” then hung up again. Now, this was at 10:30am in the morning. So I decided to carry on with my day and try and forget it and call again tomorrow, though obviously it wasn’t really an easy day.
The next day they then told me a different number to call, who then told me another number to call and I must have been given about 6 different numbers and ended up going round and round in circles. While making all of these phone calls I was also running circles after my crazy pair and sorting them out too, eventually I got through to someone who said they would check on the computer .. they then told me they would call me back tomorrow.

She didn’t call me back and it was then the weekend.
They got back to me during the next week and offered me a place in a school I hadn’t even been to see as I was not advised to go and see it, so I told her this and she then tried to claim that the school that was my preference was over 20 miles away from my house. I told her this was not the case and she didn’t believe me after checking my address several times, so she said she would call me back and look it up properly. I decided to do a quick check to see and it was less than 4 miles from my house. When she called back she told me that it was still showing up as really far away, but that she could offer me a different school that I had mentioned I had seen and liked. I was over the moon, she told me I would get the paper work in the next few days and I couldn’t wait. When the paper work didn’t appear after many days I was starting to wonder what was going on. I decided instead of doing the whole going round in circles thing again I would phone the school and ask if his name was down and was he afternoon or morning.

I phoned the school just for reassurance and I ended up in floods of tears, I felt like a complete twat but they were so lovely, supportive and understanding on the phone which was amazing and I apologized a lot for crying. They voiced their opinions on the situation and said they would do all they could to help.

I phoned the education board and said I needed to talk to someone now, but they then told me they didn’t handle placements for nursery so I had to call someone else and after lots of being put on hold they told me they had already sent the letter to the school a good few days ago and on phoning the school back they said that this would not have been the case as they would have already received it. They then told me to call back Monday to see, so I had a whole weekend really fretting about what was going to happen on Monday.

I called the school on Monday and had a long chat with them about what had been happening that morning but they still had not received a letter so she phoned the education board to ask what was going on and why was this allowed to happen to parents as I wasn’t the only one and thankfully she has secured a place for Dylan.

I am over the moon, but can not believe all that we have been through these past few weeks and now my mind is all over the show with absolute delight and such a dump of emotions.

I don’t believe that this is allowed to happen year after year to so many parents who are already going through so much.