Posted in Brief updates

Announcement

I have been sat on something for quite some time now but have been cautious about making it public knowledge until the right time, but I think now is that time, time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag 🐈

I have been a little Jekyll and Hyde in posts about mainstream schools, those that have been around since the beginning; since before ‘Our journey onto the Spectrum’ was a thing and it was just simply our life, will remember how adamant I was that William was would get the education he needed, the education he deserves. Somewhere over the last year, what was right for William got turned around and it because what was right for the Local Authority.

Pressure was put upon me to name mainstream schools, with phrases such as
‘by law you have to name mainstream schools for allocations…’
I can categorically state this is absolute bullshit! But when the forms came through, I felt forced to do so, I felt manipulated and bullied into making a decision that I new deep down was not correct for my child.

The crushing disappointment that came on February 15th when William was left of the consideration list for special school places almost tipped me over the edge mentally and knocked the little bit of fight out of me that I had left. I remember saying to Debs that I just couldn’t fight anymore, and she told me I was only just starting… she is usually right always right but I just felt so deflated that I wasn’t ready to admit that to myself. If we think back to that time; I kind of had a lot of other things going on in my personal life. Breakdown of marriage, adjusting to being on my own, juggling my finances and not being able to see my family due to covid. I think I was at a stage in which if the Local Authority told me to have William educated in the local dump, that I would have agreed.

Williams EHCP draft was completed on 29th April, but I didn’t get it until 6th May, I filled out my parental response form naming the mainstream school I had chosen and in which myself, the nursery and the Local Authority Senco had all liaised with shortly before.
The head teacher couldn’t confirm they could meet Williams needs without the EHCP but I was expected to name them for the final copy without this confirmation… I felt I had no choice, so I named them and was ready to post it and I am so grateful I didn’t do it straight away.

On the 7th May, I got my fight back with help from the most amazing woman, a woman who has never stopped fighting for what is right for her child. A woman who helped me kick myself up the arse and point me in the right directions about my rights. K❤ If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have sought legal advice, which I have been given free of charge thanks to the specialists she pointed my in the direction to… I have since been awarded legal aid and its not even something I would have looked into if not for her.
I tip-exed out my school of choice and wrote that I specifically wanted a specialist school and named one in which I feel and have always felt would be appropriate for the education of my child, one in which can without a doubt give my child the education he needs and deserves. I sealed it and sent it straight away. ✉ Had it have been 24 hours later I would have made the biggest mistake of my life (and believe me, I have made a few… divorce impeding remember 🙄

I think friendship and support comes from the most random and unlikely places but when your children have special needs, you just see each other and think ‘I’ve got you’
There are so many people in my life that have supported us in this journey purely because they understand and  have been there themselves.

The Local Authority doesn’t tell you what you need or are entitled to, the don’t point you in the right direction for your children, they point you in the direction which is the best for them. It’s the other parents that do that, the parents that fought a little harder than we did, the parents who scraped and struggled for help and answers. They then pass that down to us.

The NHS isn’t much better, purely because the communication between departments is virtually non-existent when it come to special needs kids so not only are you fighting one entity such as the local authority but also the NHS and its procedures and policies. I am a huge fan of the NHS and the Queen has rightly awarded them with the George Cross, which is the highest award bestowed by the British government “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger” and the NHS truly deserve it due to all they have done to save lives not only during the Covid-19 pandemic but for the last 73 years.

I saw this a while ago and thought it summed everything up perfectly…

Other parents came into my hole to help me, and I will happily climb into the next person’s hole because that is how this works.

Anyway, I digressed a little from the point, should the Local Authority fail to provide William with an acceptable school setting which will meet all his needs, baring in mind this has to be done by the time the send me the final copy of the EHCP, then I am fully ready to take them to a tribunal. It looks like it may be a big fight 🥊 but I’m ready this time.

Let’s end this post on something amazing.
This is something I never thought I would be able to tell people, William spoke… and in true William fashion; just like all his other firsts, it was at Big Nannas 🥰

He said ‘Nanna’ in context, six times!!! Six whole times!!! and the following day did it again when going passed her street. These may be complete flukes and I don’t want to build massive hopes upon it, but it is so much more than I ever expected. I mean Mama would have been even better but beggars can’t be choosers 🤣

All my love, M xx

Posted in Autism In The News

Genevieve Hyde

Do you know this woman? If not let me introduce you…

Genevieve Hyde

This is Genevieve Hyde, she is the former head of education at Wargrave House School and Specialist College in Newton-Le-Willows.

I struggle when I think about the fact I will have to entrust William into the hands of a school for more than 6 hours a day, it genuinely gives me palpitations and strikes fear into my soul but when you make that inevitable decision of which school to entrust your child to, you pray it was the right one and that they have the utmost respect for you children and their needs. That they have nothing but the best intentions.

Genevieve did something that as a special needs parent I find unforgivable, she made fun of the children in her care. In fact, it’s unforgivable to make comments about any child but she was in a position of power and trust! I have had friends and family make comments about my child and can honestly say they have swiftly been put in their place or cut out completely… this is someone who should know much better than to be so cruel, someone who chose to work in that field, someone who should understand.

Genevieve created a WhatsApp group with members of her staff in which she not only made comments about other staff, but about pupils in her care. It was the another member of this group chat that reported her for her comments.

She also made comments referring to her pupils as ‘window licking’ my question here is that although one of her staff members reported her, did they comment in return to the messages? did they tell her it was inappropriate? or did they go along with her?

Can you imagine how the parents of this school feel knowing they placed their trust in a woman who blatantly abused it.

This woman was trusted with the care and education of children like William, children who, as the name of the school suggests require specialist care. In May 2019 she was suspended under an investigation of misconduct. She was later dismissed in which she unsuccessfully tried to appeal. Thank God! However, despite losing her job, she is still allowed to continue in the profession and seek employment within specialist education. How is this an appropriate punishment? In a few years and this isn’t in the papers, this woman may be in charge of another child’s education, I wouldn’t want it to be my child!

Were parents at her school even notified of this when it happened or have they read about it in the papers and now wondering if it was their child she was referring to?

The world can be a cruel and horrible place…

Much Love
M. xx

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Posted in Emotions

Helter-Skelter

I think now is the time to talk about the past six months, this is not going to be a William centred post so if you want to tune out now that is fine. This is about the fight between the two sides of me. The side that six months ago was broken and wanted to curl up and die and then the side of me that needed to be as strong as two parents combined.

As most people will most likely agree with; heartbreak is one of the worst pains you can go through, you can’t take paracetamol to take away the pain, as only time can do that, but even though you feel time is all you have, you also feel that it isn’t on your side.

It may seem dramatic, but I felt like I was dying. Like my heart would not keep beating and I felt ok with that. That the pain would go if that happened.

Then there was a side of me that needed to be productive, I needed to get the house cleaner than it had ever been before, make sure my finances were in order, I needed to make sure William’s routines were protected, that he was comfortable and was not hurting like I was. I went into what can only be described as Stepford mom mode.
Between William waking up in a morning and going to sleep on the night, I was perfection; cooking cleaning, messy play and all the things in between. Smiling until my face hurt… ‘fake it until you make it’ so to speak.

Bedtime would roll around and then it was time to remove the mask, time to have my cry about all the thoughts I had pushed aside during the day, time to be broken.

The part of me that belonged in Stepford continued to make what I felt were the right decisions regarding him and tried my hardest to include his dad in these also.
The other part of me that was responsible for me, made some pretty questionable decisions and its now time to snap out of it but before I can do that, I needed to admit that I hadn’t been looking after my own health both mental and physical as well as I should have been.
I thought I would fall apart much more than I did, that I wouldn’t be able to go on but i’m stronger, healthier and much wiser. Divorce was never something I believed in, naive; I know, but now I am looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life. I am looking forward to finding out what is out there for a fat, working, single mom who may or may not have trust issues for me 🤣.

I have had a brilliant support network around me but only I could pull myself together and get off this helter-skelter slide and stand up tall again, albeit a little wobbly but here I am standing and ready to embark on my next adventure and new challenges
Speaking of which during May I have decided to partake in the 100 miles in May fundraiser to help raise money for the mental health charity Mind, I am asking that if you can spare anything, please donate as all funds go straight to the charity and its such a wonderful cause… https://www.facebook.com/donate/759292808292224/

Follow this link to donate to the Facebook fundraiser 😊

Posted in Autism In The News

Olga Freeman

I want to talk about Olga Freeman, I’m not sure if some of you will have already heard about Olga as she has been in the papers over the months, after she committed an atrocious act and murdered her autistic son after her support was taken away during the pandemic. I do not want to discuss the murder, but I want to discuss her mental health during this pandemic and not just hers but all of ours.

I cannot understand how anyone can do something so heinous, but I can understand the feelings she may have had during this pandemic and I think any parent of a child with special needs can too, in fact any parent at all…

That overwhelming sense of slowly drowning; of not knowing how you could possibly keep your head above water but in many parents’ cases we know we must, so most of us learn how to swim no matter the waters.

Lockdown has been hard for many parents, but I speak from experience when I say that it has been exceptionally hard for those with special needs kids, support was completely stripped, nurseries and schools were closed, activities and respite were stopped, appointments postponed so many times they became a mere memory and people were restricted from seeing loved ones who act as a huge support network.

I am incredibly lucky that when I became a single parent back in October, the support came in strong from unexpected places. I was suddenly in need of a support bubble and it came in the shape of my neighbours who have massively stepped up for me in a way most would not have. It came in phone calls from friends just checking to see if we needed anything and were ok. It came in doorstep drop offs from family members.

Olga did not have that, what she did have were doctors agreeing that she needed more support but the local authority failing to provide it… She knew she was struggling and actively sought help in the month prior to killing her son. I speak for many parents now when I say that local authorities are notoriously slow at providing support, if any…

Olga suffered a severe mental breakdown which led her to take the life of her son. I suppose my point of this post is to implore you all to check on your neighbours, friends and family who may be struggling but hiding it well. I’m not saying that everyone is capable of such a horrendous act, but everyone is capable of reaching breaking point.

Posted in Brief updates

School allocations

I don’t even know where to start! I don’t even know where to begin this post other than saying everything is fucked!

Yesterday was the legal deadline for allocations for special school, I had waited for what felt like an eternity already, the night before I barely slept and for the full day I felt sick and emotional… I chased them at 2pm to be told my caseworker would be calling me back once the allocations were ready. By 4:30 I was beside myself and asked Williams dad to chase as I didn’t want to keep pestering them (always a nice person and doesn’t get me anywhere!)
Shocking horror! Our caseworker is on annual leave! Who the fuck takes annual leave at such a pivotal time in their office… Mark does! That’s who!

5:30 roles around and Elaine calls me….

William wasn’t on the list of allocations!

What? That cant be right… we were assured he was on the list. Elaine explains that as he doesn’t have an EHCP in place he would never have been on the list but we were told it didn’t matter. I pushed for months to get the process started earlier but due to Covid was told it wasn’t possible. I questioned if it would be an issue to be told it would not… ALL FUCKING LIES!

To say I wasn’t angry and devastated last night would be a huge understatement; I cried uncontrollably for about 3 hours, ranted at Williams dad, my mom and friends and smashed up some old furniture before taking the dog on what I can only describe as a walk in which I felt like I needed to punish the pavement. I needed to get out the feelings of despair so that I could face today as super mom because yesterday I felt exhausted… I felt too tired of all this hard work to get shit on, too tired of fighting to get what is best (but then I have always been a melodramatic kind of girl 🤣

I had to wait until today to speak to our senco; Lisa. She found out yesterday that William wasn’t discussed at applications and apparently had a meeting with her line manager and the head of the Hull SEND team Caroline Scott to discuss Williams options. It would have been fucking amazing if they could have called me first so I didn’t spend a full day waiting on something that wasn’t even going to happen!

His EHCP will be confirmed 3rd of March and there is an exceptionally slim chance they may allocate him a special school during that process but I am not holding my breath as I don’t think I believe a word of it anymore.

I have a meeting on 4th March to discuss this other meeting 🙄 and it looks like our options will be the following…


* Keep him in nursery until the term after he turns five – although he gets funding for nursery it still costs me a lot of money each month for his 2 days and paying full costs for 3 additional days is financially out of the question.

* Home school – we both work which would make this difficult but not impossible however it is the interaction he will miss out on which will not help him develop his communication skills.

* Mainstream with a watertight EHCP – I never wanted mainstream as the environment isn’t right for William and his mental health but this may be our only option until special school allocations next year. I would be able to name a set school on his EHCP and I have done research however I just don’t know if this is best.

I will keep you posted on any further developments.

Much love, M xx