So this is my first blog!! please bear with me.
This may be my first blog but unfortunately it is not my first time within the SEND Community. When i use the word “unfortunate” i do not mean that i feel unfortunate to be part of the SEND Community in fact, i feel the opposite. Despite life being unpredictable, tough,then funny, then amazing, then tough again, other people within the SEND Community just get it. Without any explanation or a hundred questions as to why you think your child might be the way they are. No, I use the word unfortunately because like thousands of others out there my family have been through the mill, which i wont bore you with but if you are going through the mill (I am being extremely polite here!!) then I know exactly how you feel both from a parents point of view and an ex practitioners point of view .
I hope here at SendAdvisor.co.uk we can offer a voice and platform within the SEND Community, (practitioners/professionals included) by being honest about SEND in 2019, both from a carers perspective and professional perspective by highlighting good practice but to also highlight where barriers remain so when the likes of who ever is in charge at the very important residence of number 10 and Ofsted or any other independent regulating body can look on here and see how every one is working very hard but at times putting it bluntly, there just isn’t enough money or people at the top of the chain that understand the fundamental battles that we face, and this has certainly continued to be this way throughout the last ten years of our journey.
Talking about money,when I used to be a child practitioner, part of my role was to work and support children with SEN, the most frustrating part of my job was the lack of funding available for SEN training. So in a nut shell, my role was very much dependant upon my training and my knowledge to be able to support the children to a high standard yet I wasn’t given the tools to be able to carry it out in the way any parent and Ofsted would expect.(how can this be right?). In the end I paid for my own training as I suspect many other professionals may have to do.
However, in between my battles as a practitioner, one of the many battles as a parent I faced and I know others have faced is….
Step 1 .You have a concern about your child…
Step 2. You go to the doctor.
Step 3. Doctor wont refer to paediatrician for example unless school agree/support your concerns, but he refers to universal services such as family hub, health visitor ect instead.
Step 4. School do not agree/”we dont see it”/”They are fine in school” …. by the way…..(define fine!!!!)
Step 5. Dead end ………..
step 6. Your child’s mental health begins to suffer as does yours.
step 7. No one is listening because the school does not agree with you.
Does this sound familiar?
As a society we all know it comes down to time, money, training, expert SEN knowledge, accountability, transparency, responsibility in academy’s/LA mainstream schools. These providers are not predominantly SEN specialists, do they have the capacity, time, training to notice all the wonderful, out of the ordinary, complex and sometimes what appears normal/mask like behaviours?. Why must there be such emphasis on what schools think.? So lets explore that question. can the medical profession/Government/Local Authority assume that Educators are qualified to make a judgement and observation that may differ to the parents concern but to then accept the educators observation but not the parents?.Lets remind ourselves that parent/ child ratio will be less in comparison to teacher and 30 other children,
Some may say that children are at school the majority of the time which of course no one would disagree with, however it is not the length of time a child is at school, moreover the adults within that environment that are supporting the children that will make the difference between a child that receives the support they need or not. Is it that the medical profession and the Local Authority take for granted and assume that all educators are trained in SEN?.(They may not be) and are therefore in the most suitable position to make a judgement or observation?. Most Educators I am sure would agree with the above statement and they may also say there isn’t enough hours in the day to complete all of the work/observation/ behaviour management/tracking/displays/planning/teaching and everything else thrown in, that the most dedicated teaching staff carry out never mind having the time to play a crucial part in wether a child gets referred to a paediatrician or not based on their findings.
If you are a child or young person,parent/carer,child practitioner or any other professional working with children and their families in relation to sSEND and you can resonate with the above or completely disagree (you can do this anonymously), then lets start a respectful conversation on the SSPP( SEND SAFE PLACE PLATFORM) or, if there is another topic you would rather discuss then go for it, for example my next blog will Educational,Health and Care Plans.(EHCP).
Thank you and welcome.xx