I can't believe it's been a week since my last blog post... I have been meeting myself coming backwards this week! This week has been one of vision, empowerment and achievement, disappointment and anxiety, intolerance and obstacles, pain and joy!
In my quest for SEN knowledge and a keen interest in meeting other parents locally, I joined the Parents Forum three years ago. Initially, I went along just to find out what was going on in our local authority as most of you are familiar with local authorities REALLY don't like SEN parents getting to know too much! Crikey, if we knew too much we might see more clearly their short comings! Through the meetings I became aware that I did have more to contribute than I first thought. I'd spent years trapped in this emotional bubble, and trying to find that even keel, trying desperately to balance that see-saw of our life, that I lost sight of who I was and who I had worked hard to be. What I found confusing too was the 'who I had worked hard to be' because realising that who you want to be is an ever evolving situation can be unnerving, a little bit scary and I was treading unchartered territory. Could I possibly have anything to give or share? Do you know, and I can say this now, YES I DO!
I'm really passionate about SEN parents and their capacity as an entity, a united voice to influence change. I've participated as a Parent Rep on local authority task and finish groups, third party steering groups and parent led visioning events. I started off being very conservative and reserved, taking a much secure position of just nodding and listening. I was struggling inside to have that inner confidence that 1. Had I anything relevant to say, and 2. That I would be heard. Stepping over that line came as a bit of a shock to me, I'd had a really crappy week with our 'Bob's anxiety and a truly fed up with the attitude of some people, So when asked whether parents might engage with a new process I just let rip! Not in a nowty way, or angry outburst kind of way... I merely pointed out quite honestly and calmly the impact of continual assessments, the tiresomeness of repeating your child's history to half a dozen practitioners and the endless filling out of forms, etc, etc. I tried to convey what truly it is like on the front line of SEN parents, warts and all! Letting them know we don't what pity, we want answers, we want compromises, we want choices and most of all we want respect and a voice in the decision making of our children's futures! Shocked! You bet I was, more so because they all listened! I wouldn't say now I have a Rottweiler reputation per se but I don't hold back and will ask squirmy questions. Parents want to be able to make informed choices, not too much to ask!
So this week was our second Visioning event at the forum, I just love these sessions. They get you fired up, enthused and above all give you confidence that things are achievable. As I plan to take another step over another line of uncharted waters, I look back at that day just to remind myself that I didn't get hit by a bolt of lightning, and the ground didn't open up to swallow me!
I was reminded also today by another mummy blogger www.savette.com “...we just take everything for granted don’t we and forget us as a person and just see ourselves as mums”... She is right; we all carry on day to day, tackle those daily battles and endless chores, and most cases with no thanks! We strive to do the best for our children, we battle the small ‘uns and big ‘uns, we win some we lose some but we still get up the next morning to start it all over again. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that as a person we do some remarkable things every day, and it may be you managed to get your little star to eat a small amount of carrot, or placing a Thomas the tank engine sticker on the toothbrush means your son might put it into his mouth today and tomorrow he might just brush his front teeth. Every day we are remarkable people, living a remarkable life with some remarkable children!