Quite often we have in depth conversations with our members which may seem small or basic to us, but to them mean the world of difference. I received an email last night from a parent in dispare, which I think might just be able to highlight why we work so well with our members, obviously I am going to make you read between the lines BUT, it shows that we are uniquely qualified to offer peer to peer advice, mainly because within our team we have someone who has 'been there, screamed there, felt this & seen that' nothing beats experience & we have lots to share.
It went like this.................
Thank you for getting back to me, I have 3 children **** who is ***, ***** who is ** and **** who is **, **** and **** have a ****** *****condition called ****** they are slowly going blind ***** isn't to bad but ***** is colour blind and ******, **** also has Aspergers and that is the main concern atm.
Even though *** is registered at ****** school he isn't attending as he has been bullied all his school life, and it reached a point where *** was very anxious, stressed and worried about going, *** is a very bright boy and is like able but his social skills are non existent and I am concerned for his future he has a provisional acceptance to do ***** ***** college, but he is now refusing to do it and is also refusing to go to school to do his GCSE's, and I am trying to get him to sit them at home, with the schools support but am not getting anywhere. Is there any college courses he can do at home that will qualify him to be in education as I don't want him to waste his life, but I feel that the *** problems plus the Aspergers are robbing him of his future and he can't see that. Please I need help to help my son. "
Automatically my compassion for this mother kicks in, and I am frantically writing my response:
From a very personal point of view please take a deep breath & remember that nowadays we can take exams at any point in our lives as the education system has much changed. I am not sure if the recommendation to come to me was from somebody who knew me personally or from a referral point of view but we have many similar crossovers, & inturn this is why we work so well with families who are going through a tough time.
Namely, my son who is now nearly 16 has social anxiety, and neuro developmental disorder with suicidal tendencies & traits of autism, Asperger syndrome & dyspraxia. After many years in both mainstream and special school we removed him, & in fact our other children as well, in favour of home schooling. I have studied extensively the good, the bad & the ugly & in the end made the decision that my kid's emotional welfare far exceeded their need to complete SATs to say 'how well the school perform' or for their need to gain a piece of paper for GCSE's. This was an odd decision for me as I had until this time been a staunch advocate of education, having just completed my degree as a mature student. But, on the switch side, I, of course, had to take into consideration that completing my degree at 32 years of age, in a subject I loved, at a time that was optimum for me to learn was far better for me than to have attempted it when I was young, & not a great student of life let alone anything else!
Sorry, I am babbling, I have found that sometimes as a parent we must pick our battles, sometimes we accidentally fight battles with our kids that are unnecessary, because we feel we should do things a certain way, whether this is due to our upbringing or social expectations.
As well as founding Square Pegs Charity, a practical support for all needs as we promote well being through creativity, encouraging the family to connect & create within our community, I also worked as a trustee & now am a volunteer with Marvels & Meltdowns a support charity for parents & carers have kid's with ADHD & ASC, I run an evening support group on the second Tuesday of every month here in Gosport. If you feel I can help you or your family in anyway please do pop along to a session or book in a one to one.
I will leave you with this, nothing is more important than receiving a smile from one of your children because you have done something which has helped them, & especially when you know that child has extra needs which often get in the way of happiness as society sees it, I am sure this feeling is the same whether they are 0 or 55! we are all unique, we are all different & we are all beautiful."
I felt it necessary to share today's bit of wisdom & so I hope you find it well, being able to talk to somebody, to have a sounding board is key to well being, share your thoughts, come out of isolation & remember we are a community of creatives who want to help!