Posted in Emotions

Friendships

I was thinking today about the things in life we may take for granted and to be honest the list is quite long, but I’ve settled on friends. I don’t mean that we take for granted our friendships but the fact we have them at all.

I for one always thought that I struggled to make friends but then I look around me and back at the past. I may not have a large group of friends, but I have a really good selection. I know if I picked up the phone and called one of them for anything that they would be there and that’s something that some people don’t have. My forever friends aren’t all from the same pats of my life but rather from different times, which shows just how true they are. True friends don’t stay with you because you do the same things or know the same people. They stay because it feels right.

I remember being younger and playing with friends in primary school, partaking in every craze going, Pokémon, yo-yos, crazy bones, and everything else our parents probably hated. We ran around in our summer dresses pretending to be the spice girls whilst obsessively collecting their collectable photos for the album.

Why could I Not do the peace sign?
(Far Left)

I remember growing up down a little cul-de-sac and all the kids were of similar ages, I suppose that’s the advantage of moving into a new build area. Everyone buys their first homes and starts families, I guess. We played out from the moment someone knocked on our door and asked our parents if we were allowed, we didn’t leave the cul-de-sac and came home when the streetlights came on. We spent hours with our dollies pretending we were parents and hours with our craft sets playing at being teachers. Summers spent on the playing field at the top of the street building forts and treehouses, not letting the boys play with our girl gang and Barbies, hundred of Barbies with missing shoes and as we got into our teenage and stopped playing out, we would still come together like friends and neighbours do.

Apparently I was immune to the cold weather.
(Third from the left)

As a teenager, I remember hanging around in my local park or friends back gardens whose parents were more laid back than mine. We would drink awful cheap cider and acted like mini adults. We partied, we drank, we smoked and stayed up late talking about absolute rubbish, thinking we were older than we were and worried about problems that seemed huge at the time but minuscule now.

Obviously there was some very poor quality cameras on the go back then.
(Third from the left)

As an early adult, like most do we drank, we partied and went out three or four nights a week, fuck paying the bills and being on time for work when we can have fun. We were stupid and immature and thought that because we were of adult age we could look after ourselves, but we were wrong. We weren’t ready for the things that life threw at us and we suffered for it.

Macys next to the portland hotel… 2 for 1 drinks to start the night.
(Back right)

We flicked between friend groups and changed our interests to fit in, as someone who doesn’t drive (I am learning… slowly all these years later) would you ever think I belong to a car club? No? well I did. We drove around for hours every night. Parked up in car parks and down quiet streets and probably irritated all the local residents, we camped out in little Ford Kas and Corsa’s and went to rallies and shows. We worked on cars in driveways, kitchens and anywhere you could. I knew what engines were in what cars, despite what insurance certificates said. If we look at youngsters driving now, they’re all driving financed new cars. Where is the pride of building up your own clapped-out banger and adding a spoiler?

Donnington show, free cans of Monster were thrown at us from a monster truck
(Next to the guy in the daft black hat on the left)

As time went on, I grew more responsible and got my own place, focused more at work but still partied on the weekends. Slipping into new friend groups with ease. We spent weekends partying at the beach camping and drinking, listening to live bands, we swam in the dirty ocean without worrying about disease and would stay up hours chatting about life and what we want in the future unaware that we were already living our futures as we partied.

P on the Beach
(Far left)

And then all of a sudden, we are full on adults, proper homes, proper jobs, responsibilities, beautiful children, marriages, divorces, and challenges that we fight and battle every day. We can come together when we all have time but it’s so difficult to schedule anything, but it doesn’t matter. We have different friends with different interest. Some will go to harry potter quiz night, some will come to your house for a cup of tea to sit and put the world to right, some will dye your hair, some you won’t see in months or even years but when you finally do it’s like you have never been apart.

Celebrating my birthday
(Far right)

My point of this is to say that over the years I have had many friend groups and found it relatively easy. Some came from location, some from work, some from circumstance but it was easy but what if it wasn’t? I look at William who is always alone, it doesn’t seem to bother him, but I wonder if he knows he doesn’t have friends, I wonder if it’s something he wants but he doesn’t know how to get it.  Does he see children playing together and want it but it’s too hard for him? Or is it just something I want for him? I think about the children in his class and how they can interact with each other, and I want that for William. I want him to experience friendships, even the ones that crash and burn, the ones that you realise are one sided and the ones you will remember and cherish forever.

For now, William is happy on his own or at least I think he is. He’s so inside his own head and I would give up everything I have just to know what he is thinking. Is his inner voice as cute as the fleeting moments I’ve heard his real voice? Does his inner voice feel trapped within his disabilities? He forms connections with adults easily, I mean let be serious we have all seen him and Big Nan and that’s love and kinship, so he is capable, does he maybe just not like other children? Do they not engage with him in the way he likes or understands? Is that why he ignores them?

Boys best friend?

I look at this picture and he loves his dog, and Rusty loves him but is it enough? I will always be William’s mom; his advocate and I would like to think I will always be his best friend, but I do want more for him. I want what I had? What most people had?
William’s dad and I have booked his first proper birthday party for next year and we will be inviting his whole class which I am very much looking forward to, but I have this feeling that William won’t notice if his classmates are there or not. He will be more focused on Big Nan, his dad and his partner or me and Liam. I guess until we try these things, we just don’t know but I want him to have a friend. I want playdates and sleepovers and I guess in a way I want him to want that too.

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Posted in school

Sports day

When I think about sports days when I was a child, I think about playing football, buying tickets on the tombola, a table selling sweets, having a ticket to get my pre-chosen burger or hotdog 🌭 and running races against my classmates. As the token fat kid, I never came first but apparently according to Miss Daybell it was the taking part that counted 🙄

Liam and I went to the same primary school so this week as we have counted down to Williams first sports day, we have enjoyed reminiscing about our childhood and our sports days, our favourite teachers and activities. Sadly Williams dad and his partner couldn’t make it but there will always be next year.

I’m not sure what I expected Williams sports day to be like. I only had my own to compare it to and it wasn’t like that at all. I guess comparing sports day from a mainstream 90s primary and a specialist modern primary wasn’t a good idea but I do find it hard to stop myself. I guess I just expected more structure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and it was lovely to be able to spend sometime with him in his school environment and see all the children in his class. I wanted to get to know the kids he spends 5 days a week with and hopefully understand more about William and how he interacts with them but sadly William showed me that he doesn’t really interact with them at all. He showed no interest in any of his peers at all. In fact he wasn’t really interested in me and was more interested in rough and tumble play with Liam.

Sports day dance session.

The kids moved from activity to activity and each one was utter carnage but in the best way. They were just being themselves, William collected the cones (In lieu of a net) during Volleyball, other children were pulling the curtains back and forth, one kept turning out the lights and it was great to see that they have that freedom to enjoy themselves rather than restrained by curriculum or harsh rules.

Playing Volleyball aka collecting cones 🤣

I guess the one thing that hasn’t changed since the sports days of my youth is that the heavens opened up and the remainder of the sports day was cancelled 🌧

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Posted in school

26/04/2022

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the fact I haven’t written a post in a while but last week was a big week for us and a very emotional one. I felt that it wasn’t the right time to do any kind of writing so that I could process that William had finally gone to school.

I had been very honest about how I was feeling in relation to William going to school and had taken some time off to come to terms with this big adjustment and to be there for William every step of the way.

I’ll kick this off by sharing some photos of his first day, we came together as a family (as we should) to be there for William on his first day, I think it was more of a big deal to us than it was William.

26/04/2022
26/04/2022
26/04/2022
Proud mommy – 26/04/2022
William and his daddy- 26/04/2022

William was an absolute superstar, he was so excited to get on the bus and start his educational journey. He loves travelling so choosing to send him on transport was most definitely the right option… well the only option since I don’t drive myself (although driving lessons are now booked 😬🚘) but even when I do, or if I do, I think I will still send him on the bus as he’s made a friend and it’s so good for him to have that 1 on 1 social interaction although today he did get moved this week because he was eating the little boys coat 🤣 Pica at its finest.

I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t a mess on his first day, second day and so on but seeing his face as he got on the bus was so fulfilling that I genuinely forgot about all my own fears and doubts, my own insecurities just fizzled a little. His face, full of confidence and joy made me feel worthwhile as a mother. I have done a bloody good job so far and now his teachers can continue with his education and help him develop and I will continue to help turn him into the lovely little boy he is and the amazing man he will grow to be.

I’m sat here at 11.47am on a Thursday, my house is clean and I have the time to sit and write this, watch some TV and just breathe… it’s an odd feeling but not the horrendous one I thought it would be. I’m not breaking down or feeling sorry for myself. My little boy is growing up and starting a journey in which he should have started last year. its hard when he doesn’t want to get off the bus on a night because i have this little voice that goes ‘he doesn’t need you now’ but that’s not true. We always need our parents. I’m in my thirties and still need my mom to tell me everything will be ok. William needs me, just not as much as he did before but i’m ok with that… we need to let our kids go so that they can fly and he is doing that.

We have this whole new support network in his teachers and his passengers assistant on the bus who is amazing and so lovely. She called me a few times the first week to let me know how he was on the bus as she saw I was upset. His teachers email me updates and there is an app in which they upload photos and comments. They have their first parents opening soon for the queen’s jubilee in which they will do a parade around the school, sadly I can’t attend but Williams dad will be going to support him.

I’m excited and nervous to see how school will help him develop but it’s a whole new chapter and i’m excited to start sharing it with you all. Much love, M. xx

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Posted in school

Self doubt

I had a moment last Wednesday night… and when I say a moment I mean that I didn’t sleep through worry (or maybe it’s this cold 🤧)

I worry alot so this may not seem unusual but this was different, this wasn’t necessarily my usual kind of worry. This was more self doubt. I had fought to get William the right education for what feels like eternity, we got the school we chose but I started to panic that I was wrong. What If it wasn’t the right decision. What If I had fought so hard for the wrong thing.

This hadn’t come our of no where, it was because Williams dad and I were taking to his new school the following day and I had become immersed in this overwhelming fear that I was wrong. I can only compare it to one other feeling I had had previously and that was when I was pregnant, I was terrified that when I went for my first scan, there would be nothing there. It was that same kind of feeling! I spoke to other people about the scan feeling and I’m most definitely not the only one and I imagine my doubt about the school wasn’t just something I experienced but last Wednesday night I felt alone in my fear.

The Thursday morning was just as bad, whether is was the cold, my bad shoulder, the lack of sleep or the worry… maybe even a combination of all three but I didn’t stay still, I couldn’t eat or focus on anything other than watching the clock waiting for the time I needed to meet William and his dad. Let’s just put it this way… the saying is right. A watched clock does go slower. ⏰️

I had spoken to Williams teachers via email a few times over the last few weeks but it’s not the same as meeting face to face. The moment we arrived at the school, they put me at ease. They didn’t just fall in to SEN teaching, they are there because they are passionate about it, because its not just a job to them but a vocation. They know every child from noises they makr in the other room, from tiny footsteps or a stray sock on the floor. Other parents had given me glowing reports about the teachers too which all made sense once i met them. William immediately connected with them and just left us to go and spend time with his new classmates. I knew as soon as he did that, that all the worry was for nothing. It was 100% the right decision for William and I was right to fight so hard for it.

The school itself is perfection. Everything is laid out perfectly, there is structure to everything and more visuals than you can possibly imagine. It’s so accommodating for children like William. I would love to say I held it together but we all know that would be a lie. I sobbed at how perfect it was for Williams education, the fact that he will travel through the school and be safe and in the right environment until he turns 19 just gave me this overwhelming sense of relief and in a big headed way a sense of accomplishment. I did that. I fought and I acheived it. All the worry was gone and I felt proud of myself.

27 days. That’s all he has left until he joins his classmates and I can not wait. I’m so excited for him to be in an environment that will be so beneficial to his development.

Uniform all ready 🥰

It’s been a long time coming but it will be here in the blink of an eye and as confident as I feel about it, I know that come that date in April I will be an absolute mess.

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Posted in Brief updates, EHCP Process

Shortest post ever

I’m crying, everybody is crying and for once its good news!

William has been accepted into my first-choice specialist school!! 🙌🏼😃🏫🤪💪🏼

I feel this wave of relief, I feel like tonight I can sleep better knowing that the end is in sight, we are not in limbo anymore and he has a school that will suit his needs.

His start date is September, and I don’t know what will happen once he finishes nursery in March as we all know that he is entitled to an education from then and the goal was for the Local Authority to secure a place for the spring term but that’s not happened but at least I know that something is happening and a timeframe for the first time in years, I have a review meeting soon with our Senco and hopefully it will discuss what will be in place until September, so I will keep you posted on that, but the main thing is that he has a school!

L and I are going to celebrate and have a glass (or two) of fizz 🍾🥂

Much Love 🥰, M. x

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Posted in Events & Holidays

Its our birthday! … Pt.2 🎈

And just like that, we turn 2 (well yesterday to be precise) 😊

It’s been a crazy 2 years, we’ve been read in 59 countries, we have 3 social media pages (links below), our story has been featured in online magazines, newspapers and other peoples blogs, there have been many ups and downs but sharing it with you all has made things so much easier and I am grateful to each and every one of our readers.

WORLD DOMINATION MAP

Here are the top 10 countries in which we are read in

  • United Kingdom 🇬🇧
  • USA 🇺🇸
  • Australia 🇦🇺
  • China 🇨🇳
  • Malta 🇲🇹
  • Ireland 🇮🇪
  • Spain 🇪🇸
  • Germany 🇩🇪
  • Canada 🇨🇦
  • Cambodia 🇰🇭

I think the best way to end our little celebratory post is to share our most popular posts in the last 2 years.

all our love 😘 M.x

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Posted in Emotions

Non-Starter

Let’s have a moment of silence for all those moms that expected this week to be something it isn’t…

Let’s think of those parents whose children are starting mainstream schools; those parents who are scared that this isn’t the right environment for their child and the parents who know it isn’t the right environment for their child but whose hands were forced.

Let’s think of the parents like myself whose children are yet to be allocated a suitable school. Whose children are getting left behind.

But let’s also celebrate the parents of all the four-year-olds out there who are happily and successfully starting their school journey. I will like their first day pictures on Facebook and comment about how adorable and grown up they look, but it’s tinged with sadness on my part.

We are back at the stage of jealousy for me, the green-eyed monster has reared its ugly head…
‘Why isn’t that my child?’
‘Why do that child’s parents get all these experiences that I once dreamed of?’
‘What did I do wrong, and they do right?’

Its stupid to think that way and usually its easy to swat away those thoughts like flies but right now its hard. I think that’s because its everywhere, social media, supermarkets, TV. There is no escape from what this week is. Its the start of the school year! Whoop de fucking whoop!

I wanted to photograph William in my street as me and H were outside my mom’s, I wanted to take photos with next doors youngest girl as she is starting secondary school, both in their slightly big but immaculate uniforms on their first days…but that isn’t happening.

I was naive and booked this week off work, I’m not so why as we were no closer to William securing a suitable setting but I guess I will still hopeful (or still had my head in the sand who knows 🤷‍♀️) I envisioned walking him to school and meeting other parents, talking about how big our kids are and how they’ve grown up so fast, how it was only yesterday when they were still in nappies and toddling around. I feel hard done to, and I know how bad that sounds as William is such a beautiful child and I wouldn’t change him for the world, but right now I feel robbed. Robbed of the firsts in which I expected. Every day with William is wonderful but as his peers are growing up and moving on, he just isn’t. We are in the same place we were 2 years ago, nursery, nappies, messy mealtimes… don’t get me wrong, I do know and fully appreciate how far he has come in those two years but this week its hard.

My week off will now be dedicated to decorating, continuing the journey of turning my house into a home, something to keep me busy and my mind occupied as we follow the same routine we have for years. I’m so grateful that William’s nursery said they would keep him as long as possible, but that journey should have naturally ended now, and it hasn’t.

So again, let’s just take a moment for those moms whose week isn’t as expected, those who instead feel angry about it, disappointed, upset. Those moms who may spend this morning crying into their coffee, writing angrily at a laptop or smiling through the heartache or in some cases all three.

All my love to all moms out there, no matter the situation you are in this week 😘 M. x

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Posted in Brief updates

Last night they heard the screaming

Then a silence that chilled my soul.
The type of silence that comes when the tears dont stop but you can’t breathe enough to make noise… I know this song is about domestic violence but I felt it was an accurate (even though edited) lyric to describe my emotions yesterday.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this previous but I had invoked my right of access in accordance with the GDPR act 2018, requesting the local authority send me all information in relation to educational matters for William… if anyone reading this is going through something similar; I have an amazing template that another mom sent me 🙂

Lets just throw out there that I have had an amazing week in relation to William, he was at his dads so I had chance to plan my next venture into decorating but I received Williams blue badge which give us the right to park in a disabled bay (I don’t drive but will come in very handy when we are in someone else’s car) and I spoke to the nursery who have advised I no longer have to pay for William to attend and only pay for his meals, well I am in credit so I won’t have to pay anything right up until he leaves next Easter.

The right of access is also known as a subject access request was received today, and it’s made me so angry and upset that I needed to lock myself in the bathroom (The MR was here and he isn’t ready to see this side of me yet or maybe I’m just not ready to show him🤨) but I angry cried, you know the type; loud and messy. Smacking my fists on the floor feeling like my rage would destroy the concrete and not my hands. My neighbours must have heard me and I’m pretty sure I made noises only dogs could hear but I needed to let it out but I was so worked up that I couldn’t breathe and the angry tears became silent ones that I had even less control over.
The reason I had done a S.A.R was to catch them out in lies to back up the potential tribunal but I didn’t realise that it would reopen old wounds 🤕

I remember special school allocations like it was yesterday, it was another couldn’t breathe moment. It was February 15th. check out the post School allocations, if you cant remember.
July 2020 we were told he was going to considered for place… There isn’t a single document in the full S.A.R relating to any conversations in regard to this! not one! meaning that when I said the whole thing was all fucking lies, I was in fact correct. It was all fucking lies!

There are lots of missing sections, specifically relating to meetings, discussions and referrals in which I took our senco’s word for and apparently haven’t happened. I believe there is another child’s information in there too (How many times is the L.A going to breech GDPR? actually don’t answer that since they are still referring to the 1998 DPA act in their emails)

I’m angry at myself for being so upset, especially when its just confirming what I already knew, I only wanted the documentation to back up my claims with the solicitor and hadn’t even considered how it would make me feel 🙄

There was something else in there that I have great concern with but am awaiting clarification on its meaning before I comment on it but if what I think I am reading is correct then the whole fucking authority is morally wrong and incapable of putting children above themselves.

Stay tuned in by subscribing so you don’t miss out on the instalment of ‘how the local authority fuck us over’

Much love, M.x

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Posted in Brief updates

Congraduations 🎓

It’s a bittersweet feeling when children of William’s age are moving on and he isn’t, on the 16th July he officially graduated from nursery, only he didn’t.

I’m looking at his little diploma now and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it, I’m sad but I’m not sure if I am sad for William or for myself. It sad that he doesn’t get to start school with children his own age in September but then if we think about it, he isn’t like children his own age.

William doesn’t understand that he should be going to school so the more I think about it, the more I think about it the more I realise that I am sad for me, sad that I don’t have the excitement of a first day, meeting other mom’s in September, school uniforms and meeting teachers etc. I know it will come eventually but the delay just makes me feel like we are even more different from other children; i feel like its segregating us further.

On the other hand, it makes me really happy about how inclusive his nursery are and that even though he isn’t moving on, he got to graduate with his class. I am so grateful they are keeping him until the easter term; I honestly don’t know what I would have done if they had of said no.

A short and bittersweet update today, much love M 😘 x

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Posted in EHCP Process

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