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Friday, 24 February 2017

SEND Stars 10

After a couple of weeks off (teeny weeny bit busy around here, ahem), I'm happy to bring you another blogger in my SEND Stars series.

Everyone who has taken part in this series has a life which involves SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) in some way; some of them choose to blog about it a lot, some a little but we all share an understanding of how different life can be.

If you have time to pop over to the main blog or Facebook page, and read or even leave a quick comment, I know it will be much appreciated.

So here we go with number TEN.....


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Who are you and how old are you?

Hi, I'm Lauren and I'm 33.


Who else is in your family and what are their ages?

My family is myself, Bella age 6 and Logan 5



Which members of your family have SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) or additional needs, and what are those needs?

Both Bella and Logan have autism although to very different degrees. Bella is very severe whereas Logan is very high functioning.



Is there an official diagnosis and if so, what is it, at what age was it given and by who?

Both were officially diagnosed at the Child Development Centre age 2.



Can you list the job roles of everyone you've been involved with on your SEND journey so far?

At the start we had to see our local community pediatrician who then referred us onto the CDC for assessment and diagnosis.  We have sporadically seen a dietitian for Bella's very limited diet and we have had assessments and subsequently been discharged from Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy (I have privately paid for Speech Therapy for both children as not available on the NHS.) Bella is still under the Orthotics department as she is very hyper-mobile and walks on her toes which can lead to problems in later life.  We have also been through Wheelchair Services to get a specialist buggy for Bella as she is unsafe to walk out and about however our current one was funded by a charity.



Are your children in school (if so, what type of school) or home educated?

Bella goes to an autism specific school which means she has access to lots of speech therapy, music therapy, 121 teaching, sensory rooms and a host of specialized teaching methods which are made to measure rather than one size fits all, she is now in year 2.  Logan has just started a mainstream reception and is getting on really well. He loves the structure and routine and after months of transition (thanks to his excellent mainstream nursery) he is really doing well.



What would you like others outside the SEND community to know about your child's condition?

Where to start... All children with all disabilities are totally unique and different and all children with Autism are the same. My children are chalk and cheese, Bella doesn't communicate anything other than her very basic needs yet she is quite adaptable and often goes with the flow. Logan "looks normal" whatever that means however he suffers with anxiety which affects most things he does, he likes things to stay the same and often needs way more preparation for things than his sister.  As I have said before Bella uses a buggy when out and about, this isn't because she can't walk...it's because she CAN run, very fast. She can also lie down in the street and doesn't even know what road safety is. She uses a buggy for her safety and for others including me and Logan.  She also isn't toilet trained, the part of her brain that sorts that out hasn't...yet. The part that knows her times tables up to twelve and remembers virtually everything she sees works just fine but those life skills we take for granted are like mountains for her. 


Logan isn't coddled, he is really big for his age; wearing 7-8 clothes at age 5 makes people expect more from you. He struggles to talk to strangers, I'll often talk for him when he needs me to.  His needs are just less obvious than Bella's, but they are still real.



Tell us a fact or funny story about you or your life which is totally unrelated to SEND.....

Before I had the kids (and actually had a social life haha) I was living in London. I was out one night and let's say I was a bit tipsy...well I ended up talking to none other than the actor Dominic Cooper. He was working on a period drama at the time and had spent all day learning court dancing, I'm not sure how but I decided that he had to give me a demo in the bar (where nobody was dancing) and for some reason he obliged.  We chatted and danced as others obviously followed his lead and then I turned him down when he asked me to come on to the next party...yeah this story just went from a comedy to a tragedy! What was I thinking??


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Lauren blogs at www.sunshineandshowers.me.

She also runs Square Peg Foundation, a charitable organisation doing great work supporting children with additional needs. Their website is www.squarepegfoundation.org.uk and they can be found on Facebook at Square Peg Foundation



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