Special Needs Round-up: Meet the BritMums finalists

special needs blog posts sliderI simply cannot believe that almost a year has passed since I excitedly swapped my wellies for more metropolitan attire and heading to London for Britmums Live, my very first blogging conference.

I had been blogging my little heart out for about 6 months back then and was astonished and dumbfounded that my newbie, novice blog had been selected as a finalist in the Inspire category. I shook with nerves as I arrived, frantically looking for the one or two bloggers that I knew online. If only we wore Tshirts with our Twitter avatars on them! The butterflies were wonderful and I soon settled in.

What I did get out of the experience was imeasurable. I learnt a lot about blogging for change, blogging with integrity and honesty, bettering my photography. I met scores of women and men who have inspired and supported me on my blogging journey throughout the year. I met a couple of kindred spirits who will remain best friends forever. And most of all, for the first time in 6 years as a SAHM to 2 gorgeous girls, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, I wasn’t the SEN Mum, or even just a mum at all. I remembered that I had a brain that still functioned and that it could be used to help others. I remembered that I could be funny and make new friends and drink Prosecco whilst giggling at a semi-naked waiters. I realised what is was like not to be on red alert the whole time, and I slept an entire night without being woken.

I came away a different person, proud and inspired. A lot has happened in a year, most of it unbelieveable, some surreal and some of it emotional and saddening. The blog has grown organically of its own accord and I have followed its path. Many families and professionals have joined our journey. Sadly the blog often gets a little neglected now, swamped by talks and conferences and writings of other kinds.

I am honoured and proud to have again been listed as a finalist in the Inspire category. This year my nerves are no less because I cannot hide in the same way this time, plus I have been asked to take part in and lead a session: Blogging from the Heart. Do pop along and support us if you can, if that topic sounds like something that ticks a box for you and your blog. I personally still feel like a student who is attending the event poised to learn as much as I possibly can from all the other sessions I attend and from all the other bloggers I meet, notebook in hand.

I thought this month I would bring you a round-up comprising some of the fabulous Special Needs Blogs that have made it through to the Britmums Finals so that you can read them all before you meet them all on the day if you are attending, and virtually if you are following on Twitter.

Over in the INSPIRE category we have:

Edspire writes openly and honestly as she and her family chart the waters of grief following the death of their daughter Matilda Mae to SIDS this year. Her latest post Grief: There is Always That encapsulates their feelings painfully accurately.

Our Life With Leukemia takes us on a family’s progress through their daughter’s treatment for leukemia and their incredible fundraising efforts for GOSH. Karen’s latest post Happiness is filled, as ever, with positivity and hope, good news indeed and a beacon to all families going through the same.

And on my blog at Downs Side Up I’ve been appealling this week to the media to provide a balanced view of the new ‘accurate screening tests that can eradicate DS’, whilst joining forces with the medical profession to remove fear and encourage better support for women before during and after testing, whatever their decisions. Please read MaterniT21: A Tool in a Eugenics Strategy?  I promise the lovely positive holiday snaps and Sports Day tales and Legoland adventures and BritMums japes are on the horizon again :)

In the Video Category

Is one of my favourite bloggers, a dear friend and support and a true inspiration to me. Renata is a talented blogger of a SWAN over at Just Bring the Chocolate and produces incredible video posts, written posts and dare I say it super sketches. Her latest post is a video you simply have to watch. It shows us why we need to raise funds for charities like Whizz Kidz with a little sprinkling of Benny Hill thrown in.  It’s called  Freedom on For Wheels and I cried with laughter, happiness and pride when I watched this.

The Lifestyle Finalist

Now the beautiful-inside-and-out Alice Harold over at More Than Toast slides in some brilliant posts spreading awareness and raising funds for her daughter Elfies little known condition CAH. I say ‘slides in’ because her blog is mostly about family life, making it on her own as a single mum and a mutitude of beautiful stylish wonderfulnesses. I look forward to meeting Alice again this year.

Pleeease let me know if I have missed a finalist off the list. It’s a shortish round-up this month, so no excuse for not dropping by and saying hi to each one.

Next month someone suggested (I think it was Steph’s Two Girls)  we have a theme and you can write posts to hook up with that. A topic that is often written about from many different angles is the subject of birthdays and parties. How does your child like to celebrate? How do you feel when they are, or aren’t invited to their classmates parties? Do you favour a quiet time at home with immediate family?

Please send me your Party posts via Twitter @DownsSideUp or link them to the linky at the bottom here. Have a fabulous month and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in London next week.

H x



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About Hayley Goleniowska

A former language teacher and voice-over artist, Hayley is now the Mum of two gorgeous girls, the youngest of whom, Natty, has Down’s Syndrome. She blogs, speaks and writes articles on the subject for all who will read or listen. Through Downs Side Up she aims to both offer support and encouragement to new families with a diagnosis, and gently change perceptions of Down’s Syndrome from within hearts through beautiful words and photos. Her daughter Natty is a clothing model and an amazing ambassador for children with disabilities everywhere. She has appeared in The Sun, Mail Online, Bella Magazine and on ITV Daybreak. You can find Hayley on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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4 Responses to Special Needs Round-up: Meet the BritMums finalists

  1. Tania 15 June 2013 at 23:07 #

    A great selection! It was so fantastic to win in the Change category last year and, although this year my health meant I didn’t have the energy to throw my hat in the ring, I wish everyone the very best of luck and have a fantastic time at BritMums Live!
    Tania

    • Hayley Goleniowska 04 July 2013 at 09:34 #

      You are still the benchmark by which we all judge ourselves Tania. Thank you for what you do and for being such an Inspiration with Special Needs Jungle.
      H x

  2. Renata 17 June 2013 at 14:47 #

    Wow. What an honour. THANK YOU for saying such lovely things x

    • Hayley Goleniowska 04 July 2013 at 09:35 #

      You are most welcome Renata. Thank you for blogging in such a beautiful way.