Friday 18 November 2016


It's time for my new 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 2, give a big welcome to First Time Valley Mam... 

Who are you and how old are you? 
I'm Jo and I'm 32 very nearly 33!

Who else is in your family and what are their ages? 
I live with my husband whose 44 and my son who's 4.

Which members of your family have SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) or additional needs, and what are those needs? 
My son. He was officially diagnosed with autism in August 2014, he was 2 years 10 months. It was given to us from the paedriatrician.

Can you list the job roles of everyone you've been involved with on your SEND journey so far?
First we started with our third health visitor who actually listened to my concerns. She put in place community speech and language for around six weeks whilst we waited on portage. We've seen the lady in charge of portage alongside education physiologist. Then the peadriatrician. 

Are your children in school (if so, what type of school) or home educated? 
He started Sen school part-time in January and went full time September. 

What would you like others outside the SEND community to know about your child's condition? 
He's still a little boy, he still has feelings. He's not something that's just worth money. He's my son. Just because he's laughing it really doesn't mean he's enjoying it. Also if he does start to talk it doesn't mean his autism has gone away.

Tell us a fact or funny story about you or your life which is totally unrelated to SEND.....
When I was younger I was a children's rep for a well known holiday company working in the Alps. 

To read more about Jo and her family's experiences with autism, head on over to You can also find her on Facebook as First time valley mam, Instagram at first_time_valley_mam and tweeting from @cooksey_83


There's still chance to vote for your favourite blogger in the BAPS Awards - you can nominate here before 18th November! Read more about what and who these Awards are for in my post Baps Blogging Awards- maybe you could be a BRA?!

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