We ran two parent groups with Sue Anderton online, one for parents without additional needs (neurodiverse), helping them navigate the SEN process and a brand new support group for parents with additional needs.

Feedback from SEN navigation process:

‘What I learnt was to listen, take time to understand why something has been suggested or not suggested and to focus more on the long term plan.’

‘What I enjoyed was realizing that I was not the only one feeling deflated or having to argue and that underneath all that there are positives’

‘What I learnt was to go in a meeting and listen more, accept that you may have to have to compromise at times or try new advice given and what I enjoyed was hearing other people’s stories so I realised I was not alone and the information given’

‘What I enjoyed most about the group was the open, honest, frank discussions about what
actually happens and how best to deal with those situations.’

 

Feedback received from ND group includes:

‘Going to the group helped me cope, knowing that I could speak to a group of people who would not only listen but who also understood how I was feeling and offered me some really good advice. It helped me remain grounded and realise I could cope with what was thrown at me, I also feel that I have made some good friends who I can talk to outside of the sessions’

‘I looked forward to this group, as I was with other parents in the same position as me, so
found it very helpful for my own mental health. We have made our own group up, and chat regularly.’

‘The parent’s group is a fantastic idea. It combines peer group and professional support in a way which encourages the members of the group to make positive changes to their own lives at the same time as valuing every person's unique journey. The biggest part of the group was allowing each parent to feel heard and accepted.

As a parent of a child who has additional learning and support needs I have found that many of the professionals who makeup the ‘supporting services’, do not have the time or willingness to really listen to parents. It is often a box ticking exercise which dehumanises families and erodes parents confidence and self-esteem. If the parent has additional support needs of their own the system is often confusing at best and impossible to navigate at worst, leaving the whole family unsupported.

Having a group that is genuinely interested in finding out about the parent’s support needs, with the added benefit of having professionals from a range of different areas to provide sign posting, has meant that what, to me, looked like a brick wall with no way through, has now become a possibility of making a doorway through to something else.

There is still a long way to go but I now understand that there are ways forward and I have more information to help me with the next steps that I will need to take with my son.’

We plan on running both of these again on Zoom from September so get in touch to find out
more or visit the MAZE website to book online
https://www.themazegroup.co.uk/product/how-to-navigate-the-send-system-in-uncertain-
times-may-2021/ when the new dates are released. It was lovely collaborating with Sue
again to deliver this!