My interest in SEND began in 2010. Well it really began in 2003 when my eldest was born, I just didn’t realise it then. What was important was that in 2010 was the first time I realised there may be something different about my son. Something more, something that was making life more difficult for him than it seemed to be for other children. I could no longer tell myself this was toddler tantrums, transition into school, attachment issues or anything else that had been suggested as the cause for his difficulties. At this time, it was clear he would need more support in school than other children.
I realised there may be something different about my son. Something more, something that was making life more difficult for him than it seemed to be for other children.
In the years that followed I spent 2 and a half years with him out of school while I successfully navigated the SEND system to obtain the vital support that he needed to enable him to educate. I became focused on the laws relating to SEND, duties on both schools and Local Authorities and familiarised myself with the procedures that must be followed, timeframes and SENDIST appeals. My son currently has a Statement of Special Educational Needs and I am going through the process of EHCP transfer as he moves to Key Stage 4.
During this time, I moved home and due to there being no spaces for my daughter in the local primary, I taught her at home for a year. It soon became apparent to me that she too had learning needs that were, at that time unidentified and clearly needed further investigation. I again embarked on the process to obtain an assessment of her needs to ensure these would be met within education, once again successfully attending tribunal to demonstrate her needs.
Following this, and understanding the difficulties faced going through the process as a parent, in addition to supporting children who are finding school difficult and the impact this has on family life, I decided to support other families through the application process.
At first this was people who asked for advice knowing I had children with needs, but it soon became obvious that giving advice was helpful, but parents wanted something more.
Knowing the process enabled me to understand how to submit applications, writing letters to explain need, reviewing reports to gain an understanding of the child’s needs and collating the information into one easy to read document, taking part in mediation with prior submissions setting out the parents’ position, submitting tribunal appeals and informing the EHCP with the information that would ensure the child’s needs were adequately identified and supported within education.
As people were supported through the process, I then had more parents contacting me and asking for a fully involved service. I believe having experienced my own children struggle with school, supporting their needs at home is a priority and often it can be difficult to understand the SEND process, write letters, read reports and attend meetings to advocate for your child when you are also striving to meet their needs.
I put the family first and ensure that the child and the parent’s needs and wishes are at the heart of my work.
I have supported numerous parents to obtain assessment, support for their child, EHCP if this is required following professional reports and the appeals process. I put the family first and ensure that the child and the parent’s needs and wishes are at the heart of my work.
More recently I have secured an EHCP for both another son and my daughter as it became clear that their needs were unable to be met within mainstream school without additional support. My sons both now attend a specialist provision and my daughter is currently in mainstream school with a level of support to meet her needs.
I have held a position as SEN governor at a local primary school until Autumn 2016. This enabled me to gain a greater understanding of the responsibilities placed upon schools in light of the Code of Practice and the ways in which schools must offer support in addition to taking a team approach with parents in the identification of children with SEN.
I hold a degree in Psychology and Sociology and have undertaken further training in SEND which includes the laws and guidance that Local Authorities and schools must follow.
I have experience in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ASD, Anxiety disorders, Speech and Language issues and other, sometimes complex learning needs.
Prior to my work involving SEND, my work history has included casework which involved reviewing professional information and personal accounts, analysis of relevant data and comparison of information with regard to relevant law and guidance. I have also had responsibility for the preparation of submission letters which were then presented as evidence to various panels.