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SEND: Tips for managing expectations and setting small goals

SEND: Tips for managing expectations and setting small goals

Ann at Rainbows Are Too Beautiful muses on ten years as a SEND parent and the incredible support and information she’s acquired from fellow SEND bloggers at BritMums including Jade at The Autism Page who has kindly guest written this month’s round-up.

Ten years ago I had no clue about SEND. I didn’t know any of the many acronyms that are now common place in my life. Much of the information and support I have needed over the years I’ve found online and in my fellow SEND bloggers. 

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One of the people who have supported me is Jade, a full-time mum to her two boys aged 6 and 4. After her eldest son was diagnosed with autism she began her blog The Autism Page to share information and resources with other parents. This month she’s guest hosting our SEND round-up highlighting how our families’ New Year reflections can be a little different…

For many SEND families, looking back and seeing how far we’ve come can also be a challenge as our children are measured by expectations that do not take our children’s differences into account.

Managing expectations as a SEND parent

  1. Accept that life as an SEND parent is not quite the life many of us imagined, as Mummy Est.2014 explains in her post on adjusting our expectations. We must accept that “it is time to be adaptable and keep asking myself … what’s best for us as a family.”
  2. There are so many simple things that are different for SEND families, like Riding on a Star who talks us through how different life can be by looking at her son’s birthday. Knowing that some moments that should be happy — like birthdays — may be tinged with sadness.
  3. By Rights from Downright Joy powerfully describes the expectations placed on our children. Which means sometimes we must focus not on expectations or achievements but on the love.
  4. Expectations are one of the many reasons feeling overwhelmed is part of the day to day for many SEND families. Reaching out to others — for help, even for emotional connection — can help, as The Long Chain points out in this honest and insightful post on being overwhelmed.

The importance of letting go

  1. Thankfully, The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy explores how SEND families are often just about coping. That means letting go of everything you can let go it. Be ruthless and focus on your needs and the needs of your family. 
  2. Not So Ordinary Boy also urges SEND parents to learn to say no — in personal life, professional life, wherever you need to to give you some space in your life.
  3. Hunters Life provides more fantastic advice on how letting go of preconceptions and allow ourselves to experience a different journey. This is something I totally agree with but it can be hard to do.
  4. And a post on Steph’s Two Girls highlights how parenting always needs to evolve, no matter kind of child you have.

Looking to the future

  1. Whilst it is good to reflect on the past, the best thing can be looking forward: Thinking about our goals and what we want to change or improve in our lives. The Additional Needs Blog Father writes about change. As a SEND parent and family, change can make us nervous. He sets out small changes to support tackling climate change and making the world a better place. While we might feel that we have no time to do these things, we should take heart: we can make changes for our children to make the world a better place.

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SEND: How to cope with the stress and anxiety of change

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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.