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Friday, 25 November 2016

SEND STARS 3

It's time for week three of my feature called 'SEND STARS', where I introduce you to some amazing bloggers and give you a little insight into their lives.

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and you'll notice that all the writers in weeks to come have SEND in common. They are STARS because they are parents or carers of, or work with, children with SEND, and they are sharing their personal stories or campaigning for change in the form of a blog.

The blogs lead to a greater understanding of challenges faced by these children but I love the fact that the amazing personality of each individual child is being highlighted along the way too. Those with SEND in their lives tend to be very busy - extra appointments, letters to write, meetings to attend, law to learn and the rest, so it's a wonder any of them find time to write at all. I do hope you'll pop over to their blogs or leave them a comment of support below (or do both!) to thank them for being brave and sharing their stories.

So here we go with week 3... 



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Who are you and how old are you? 
Hi I’m the 35 year old, slightly crazy, blogger behind ‘Mummy Times Two.’ I love snuggly blankets, books (I’m an English teacher in my real life), and spending time with my children.

Who else is in your family and what are their ages? 
I live with the Other Half (who’s two years older than me, but don’t tell him I told you that), nine year old Number One and seven month old Number Two. We live in the Yorkshire Dales, in the middle of nowhere, which is just how we all love it.

Which members of your family have SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) or additional needs, and what are those needs? 
I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, which meant that for a long time I struggled to learn to drive. In fact three driving instructors gave up on me – I can’t really blame them I did keep driving on the wrong side of the road! I got there in the end though and have the philosophy that you can do anything and everything if you try hard enough for long enough. 
Number One has a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, she struggles a lot with anxiety, and often misses out on doing things she would love to
do because of it. She’s incredibly bright and if you ever get a quiz question about Harry Potter, she is the ‘phone a friend’ you need. 
Number Two also has some difficulties though at this stage we’re not
sure why and what the extent of his difficulties will be. For a long time he struggled to use his left arm, and he still doesn’t use it in the same way as his right one. He also struggles to swallow at times, and chokes a lot. We’re trying to figure out how much of this is related to his silent reflux and whether any of it is because of an underlying problem. He’s the most stubborn baby I’ve ever met though and lets nothing get in his way; he loves to crawl especially if it’s to get a remote control!

Is there an official diagnosis and if so, what is it, at what age was it given and by who?
I was diagnosed with Dyspraxia at 15 and Dyslexia at 18. I’d always covered up my difficulties by working extra hard at home. It was only when my little brother was assessed that my mum started asking questions about me.
Number One was given a private diagnosis when she was two and a half, and an NHS diagnosis just before her third birthday. I’m an English teacher working in a specialist unit for students with Autism, so we were very lucky in that I knew the process which made it less of a battle. 
Number Two was diagnosed with Silent Reflux at four and a half months, as for the rest we’re waiting to see what the future will hold.

If no diagnosis yet, have you seen any professionals with your concerns?
Number Two has seen three consultants, a speech therapist (for feeding issues), two physiotherapists, a soft tissue specialist and had a week at the Bobath Centre. Our time at the Bobath Centre was amazing, he caught up on a lot of the time he had missed and we came home feeling much more confident about how to help him.

Can you list the job roles of everyone you've been involved with on your SEND journey so far?
Oh goodness, that would be quite a list between the three of us! I’m going to say something slightly different though if that’s ok? I come across many professionals in both my work life and my life as a parent, and what has always stunned me, is that as a teacher (even if I have only known a child a couple of months) my opinion is respected, taken onboard and acted on. Whereas as a parent I’m often treated as though I’m slightly crazy and a little neurotic. Professionals need to realise that parents know the child the best, not other professionals. Once they realize this, the system will improve. (Sorry rant over!)

Are your children in school (if so, what type of school) or home educated? 
Number One is in a mainstream primary school and has never qualified for any additional help. It’s caused quite a few problems in the last few years, with her anxiety casing her to lose sight in one of her eyes for several months. She moved schools two years ago though to a tiny village school which has made a massive difference. They care about her, understand her and have made her part of their community. Secondary school I fear will be a different story… apparently she’s looking forward to going as long as there are less than 100 children there!

What would you like others outside the SEND community to know about your child's condition? 
I’d like people to know that my daughter is the kindest, most sensitive, most loving person you could ever hope to meet. That said, she’s perfectly capable of making a very unflattering comment. If she thinks something doesn’t suit you she will tell you. In her head, she’s helping. After all, why would she let you go out looking ridiculous? So please, if someone makes a comment, that doesn’t sound quite right, don’t assume they are trying to be mean, in their own way they could well be trying to help.

Tell us a fact or funny story about you or your life which is totally unrelated to SEND.....
I’m not very good with alcohol, in fact after one glass I’m pretty much done. I went to university in Cambridge, and after one particularly eventful night (one and a half glasses), I cycled home with my friends singing chick chick chick chick chicken. It’s perhaps a good thing I don’t get let out much…


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You can catch up on this lovely blog over at www.mummytimestwo.com. Please show some social media love by following any of these pages too: mummytimestwo on Facebook, 2ndtimeMama on Twitter and mummy_times_two on Instagram.


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Have you voted in the BAPS yet? 
The deadline for getting your votes in is midnight today (Fri 25th November).
 Please head over to 


and place your votes now, before you forget! 

If you're unsure of who to vote for, there's a great SEND list here which details lots of the bloggers - if your name isn't on it and you'd like it to be, please do get in touch.






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