Living with a child with Special Educational Needs
I wanted to talk to you today about what it is like being a grandmother of a child with Special Education Needs and why it is so very important for us grownups to get support too.
These neuro-diverse children are deemed to be neurodiverse as they think “differently” from the way of the majority of neur0typical childen whose brains behave in the same way as the majority of society. According to Lou Elliott, a speech, language and behaviour therapist and highly specialised in ASD, Autism families approach family life from 90 degrees sideways and five steps to the right of everyone else’s “normal”.
Anyone living in this situation will tell you that each day seems a bit like going on to a battle field with the child’s behaviour, tantrums, triggers and language. I have been with my granddaughter and my daughter’s 4 year old son when it is time to get them ready for school and nursery. Quiet it is not. Tantrums are rife and my daughter is running around trying to get them both ready, with my help. This is at 8.15 and breakfast has just been eaten with the remainder of each uneaten breakfast discarded in the sink.
The TV is on with cbeebies and disney channel to keep them amused. My daugher’s back is always playing up as she is bending down and bending over to deal with the children. My little 4 year old grandson seems fine but, at just 4 years old, the tantrums are beginning to come to the fore. When “neurotypical” grandson and “”neurodiverse” granddaughter annoy each other, then it gets a bit serious and grandmother steps in.
This is just the beginning of the day and so when the kids are at school and nursery, my daugher has time for herself. However, all she wants to do is sleep.
When my grandson is back from nursery at 1.00pm, I look after him whilst my daughter collects my granddaughter and when they are both back from school/nursery, the fun starts again.
My daughter and I have learnt a lot about ASD whilst putting together a case for an assessment for EHCP which is now underway. This has taken it out of the both of us though as there has been a lot of research to be done, a lot of contacting organisations and a lot of talking with others. I have helped my daughter with all the paperwork as well as helping her with Hypnotherapy to help her stay as calm as she can be and giving her techniques to think more positively about what she and I are going through.
What Support Is There for us Grownups?
I have looked at ways to get support and I can highly recommend the following organisation:
This organisation gives support to parents across the West Kent area https://space2beme.org.uk/services/#parents who need help whilst awaiting a diagnosis and can give strategies for helping their children. They also run events for children and this means that us parents will not feel so isolated and can build friendships for support. I highly recommend spacetobeme. They also run online workshops for parents who are looking after SEN children and my daughter and I attended one in November which gave us a lot of information about Autism (ASD) and was presented by Lou Elliott, the speech, language and behaviour therapist mentioned in my first heading above.
Selfcare is an absolute must for parents with SEN Children
Do you remember when you get on an aeroplance and the safety procedures are read out. In the event of a drop in cabin pressure, they ask us all to put on our own Oxygen Masks before we help others, including our children.
It is a fact that if we are not feeling top notch and are under an enormous amount of stress and anxiety, then we cannot care properly for our children. Please remember to put yourselves at the top of the list for selfcare, even if it is just once a day in doing something nice for yourselves. This is vital to help you to get through each day. I will be talking more about this in my next blog and will be running some free relaxation sessions online for 30 mins twice a week. Just remember that you are the carer but that you need care too. Do not keep putting yourself at the bottom of the list when it comes to your own care. If you are not caring for yourself then how can you possibly put the care in place that you SEN child needs and deserves.
I hope you enjoyed my blog. There will be more about this subject so please subscribe on my website to receive my blogs.
THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN FROM MY HEART AS A GRANDPARENT HELPING MY DAUGHTER TO CARE FOR MY BEAUTIFUL GRANDDAUGHTER WHO WE LOVE SO DEARLY.