World Autism Awareness Day – Monday 2nd April 2018
For this week to help raise autism awareness I will be posting a blog everyday to share some remarkable ladies and their journey through life as a mum, teacher or sibling of a child with Autism. I will be sharing their challenges, the highs and the lows and today on World Awareness Day I am bringing together some Mums and telling you their thoughts, feelings and how they coped with diagnosis, support and education placements……
I carried out a survey were 66% of the children were diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and 16% with Sensory Processing Disorder and 17% were undiagnosed. Diagnosis took on average 4 years and on the whole most Mum’s received little to no support from services post diagnosis.
The next hurdle for our Mum’s including myself was LEA support and finding the right educational placement. I always thought having a Educational, Health and Care plan meant that as parents we could choose the right school for our children. This was the biggest challenge for us and sometimes this ended in having to go to tribunal or jumping through hoops.
The transition for our children from a supportive primary (mostly) to a much larger secondary school is so huge for our children and with the added stress from the education services makes this transition nearly unbearable. The families of our children have had to fight to get a placement in special schools and mainstream schools alike, this appears to make no sense apart from that there is a resistance to any support for our children.
Most of the Mum’ who completed my survey had children of late primary/early secondary age but there were a small number whose children had grown into adults. As a parent of a younger son this information was very important to me, I could see the potential challenges that could possibly arise later on in my sons life. All the Mum’s have consistently fought for their children through many years and I amongst others have thought once they got to secondary school the battle would be over. However when the children are grown up they are strong and tall (mostly boys) and are not always easy to handle. Some Mum’s stated that they have had more stares and comments to them now they children are adults too. The parent support at college seems to be a great resource and most young adults are doing well there.
Some Mum’s have chosen to home school their children as their educational settings are so difficult for their children and I having done this for my son for 6 months is not easy either, it can be an incredibly hard decision.
The main challenge running though all of my surveys was getting support from the LEA and I hope that raising awareness will at least help some Mum’s who have just started their educational journey’s. I encourage any parents to seek help through SENDIASS, PIN and The National Autistic Society all of whom helped me immensely throughout the years and I am sure that they will help me again too.
If any parent is struggling with education, the Local Education authority please also join Facebook groups, surround yourself with other parents and feel free to contact me, I will do my best to help. I have a group for Mum’s too which offers support and advice Sensory Mum Friends.
Some other supportive groups/societies/organisations are:
There are also groups attached to my Sensory Mum group, I am not affiliated with any of these groups I just have listed them here as a resource.
These are all the stories in my blogs for Autism Awareness Week:
Written for Autism Awareness Week – I would like to thank the inspirational and amazing women that have shared their stories with me.