A summer of SEND

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The summer is over.  The kids are back at school, but for many SEND families, the summer has been a stressful time.  Usually I claim we’ve had a good holiday.  Perhaps it’s because as a family we are now managing to go away and find solutions for some of the challenges we face, during non-term time.  Our family can go to a beach if we find the right one. However, it’s definitely still a challenging time.

Often I find that knowing others found it difficult too a relief.  I’m not the only one who struggles.  So a while back I asked some SEND Bloggers a simple question, ‘what is the one thing you found most difficult about the holidays’.

I think it can make for difficult reading.. maybe that’s the point. I’d like to thank everyone who commented and to let them know I’m thinking of them.

“The lack of places to go that offer changing places toilets.  That leaves us quite isolated and bored in the holidays” ~ Laura – Mum on a Mission 

“Stuck at home mum. Partly because places are too busy. The lack of danger awareness thing. But mainly because I just can’t take them out on my own. Brody is like a tall and heavy 1 year old. And Sydney is well and truly into terrible 2s. It’s an awful thing to admit, but if I’m honest sometimes I feel like I’m a stuck at home mum – not a stay at home” ~ Laura – Brody, Me and GDD 

“Everywhere is too busy!”  ~ Katie – Living Life Our Way 

“Lack of Changing Places Toilets and also coping on my own with a child in a wheelchair and a VERY independent minded 3 year old who’s a runner – so stressful worrying about him bolting when you can’t run after him and push a wheelchair!” ~ Vaila – The Inclusive Home 

“Getting outside our garden because everywhere is too busy for D and, with her lack of awareness around road safety etc, it can get very stressful. She loves – for example – a trip to the coffee shop but hates the getting there and getting back through people” ~ Jeannette – Autism Mumma 

 “Lack of childcare meaning you basically have to give up work for 6 weeks? Benjamin’s 1:1 clinical support worker is term time only, and he can’t go to holiday club without one, so he’s stuck with me for the hols – less fun for him, frustrating for me.” ~ Alex – The Long Chain 

“Finding places to go that are not necessarily designed for all abilities but even just wheelchair accessible. I took my 7.5 year old to a trampoline park and thanked my lucky stars that I’d left Lyla with her grandparents cos there were stairs everywhere even up to the cafe and she wouldn’t even have been able to watch the action from anywhere.” ~ Cara – Lyla’s Angels

“Not feeling like a crap mum to my other 3 daughters aged 14, 9 & 4 as days out are so limited and hard especially during the week when it’s just me. When days out often start with a quick trip to a London hospital. When you 9 year old looks ups places she wants to go accessibility guides.” ~ Sheri – Flourishing Warriors

“Currently on school holidays here and it is the violence and destruction I find hardest of all. Staff at school are paid to not leave my son’s side but I have to eat, pee, cook, clean and look after his sister too. I can’t do it and by end of every summer I have a breakdown.” ~ Miriam – Faith Mummy

“Everywhere is too busy for my violent little darling and she hates not going to nursery” ~ Hana – www.facebook.com/mamaunexpected ~

“Feeling guilty that I can’t take my other 2 children out as my youngest with autism will rarely leave the house. Seeing photos of what other families are doing is a constant reminder of all the ‘normal’ things we’re missing out on.” ~ This Little Boy of Mine 

 

“Anxiety means we are often torn between a rock and a hard place. Number One wants to go out, she hates being stuck in the house. But when we go out she is so stressed because places are so busy that she is also unhappy” ~ Victoria – Starlight and Stories 

“Sweet My daughter never wants to leave the house, no matter what’s on offer, we even had trouble leaving the house to go on holiday. Most of her fear comes from soiling herself when out, but she is also really afraid of getting lost, crowded places and just not being at home/school/nanny’s house, the only places she feels ok.”  ~ Anne -Raisie Bay

Some people struggled to name just one thing, I think because it’s sometimes because actually it’s all the challenges added up together that’s the hardest thing: 

“I find taking all three under 7 out on my own when my partner is at work very challenging. During the holidays everywhere is so busy. Crowds are a major trigger for Sonny. There’s only so many times you can go to the park.  And .. lack of routine is stressful for Sonny. It’s a big change that doesn’t come gradually.”  ~ Becci  – To Aufinity and Beyond

“The loneliness and isolation, friends wanting to go out and do these exciting things that are not possible for us. Very limited places we can visit due to noise, crowds and safety oh and the possibility of someone dressed up, my son is terrified of costumes. The restriction of always being on my own with 3 children of different ages and very different abilities. The meltdowns and mess. The fact that all my time is taken with my son’s care , so very little time for anything else. Even parks are difficult as my son can’t physically do all the play area equipment. My own anxiety, and my pain and mobility due to my osteoarthritis. Sorry I really could write an essay.”  ~ Nikki – facebook.com/Autism123duanes 

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About Ann .

“Rainbows are too beautiful,” said Anthony. “I just can’t look at them.” Ann says her son’s statement characterizes so much about how her autistic and neurotypical family interacts and interprets the world in their own wonderful way.

Originally a PR and marketing professional for the third sector, Ann now does some lecturing in this topic but spends most of her time being a full time mum and sharing her experiences through her award nominated blog. Ann’s three kids attend different schools and have multiple diagnoses including Autism, ADHD, anxiety and more. Ann is a Trustee on a local disabled children’s charity and speaks at SEND conferences and consultations.