Special Needs Round-up: New term newsletter

special needs blog posts sliderWelcome back to the Special Needs Round-up for our new collection of must-read posts and news of what’s been happening over the summer break.

I hope you all survived the school holidays with your sanity in tact and that your children found activities on offer that were suitable for their needs. The long break can be a difficult time, particularly for parents of children with a disability or illness, so we decided to take a break from this blog round-up while all our attentions were focussed on our families. Both the little Downs Side Uppers had their tonsils and adenoids out in August, so our fun was seriously interrupted by two weeks of morphine, sore throats and far too many renditions of Mama Mia than is healthy.

The break has also given me a wonderful opportunity to do a little more reading and I have some fabulous new blogs for you to get acquainted with this month. Please add your favourite posts of the month to the linky at the bottom for a chance to feature in next month’s round-up.

Learning Disability Week

August saw Learning Disability Week #LDWeek13, organised by Mencap. This was a fabulous opportunity for bloggers, both experienced and first time writers, to come together, raise awareness, offer support, highlight issues and most importantly this year, celebrate those who they considered their Superheroes. You can read the many inspiring posts here on the Mencap site.

Three of my personal favourites were this motivational poem by Super Josie who is a campaign assistant at Mencap and has a Learning Disability herself.

Then this incredibly powerful poem accompanied by fabulous photos Our Superhero, Our Kyd by Mum Alice Guru-Baillie who writes My Life My Son My Way

Finally I picked this invaluable piece written by Lloyd Page, a journalist with a learning disability himself, about the vital role that Learning Disability Nurses play. Do take a moment to read Jim Blair, the Superhero Nurse.

Movers and Shakers

I had the great pleasure of meeting the most incredible woman online this summer. Michelle Daly, is the adoptive Mum of a woman with complex disabilities who was once in her care when she merely a teenager. She has written a book about their chance meeting and how it changed the course of both their lives called With a Little Help From My Friends. Michelle is also a blogger and is currently putting together a wonderful collection of pieces written by women whose stories make your heart ache but who have made me even more determined to go the extra mile to be a better Mum, campaigner, activist. Read her collection of Warrior Mum posts here, starting with Julia’s Journey, the story of a woman who has remained strong and positive for her daughter after she was left with severe brain damage and appalling injuries following a road traffic accident in 1972 at the age of just 6.


The world of media seems to finally be cottoning on to the influence and importance of bloggers, something we’ve all known for quite some time. The bloggers who blog with heart to gain support, those who offer support to thousands of other families, those who share advice and resources, those who create change in society and laws and education, those who raise significant sums for charity. This was in fact the subject of a session that Annie from Mammasaurus, Kylie from Not Even A Bag of Sugar, Liska at New Mum Online and I did at Britmums Live.

Last week, Jennie Henley and I were asked to contribute to the BBC Radio 4 Womans Hour programme on the subject of  the impact Campaign Bloggers were having. You can listen here (at 26 mins) if you missed it.

I tried to summarise the various reasons we all blog and the differing ways those blogs are creating change, here in Blogging from the Heart, for Support.

Must Read Posts

The following are a collection of posts that simply cannot escape being included this round-up. They are the posts I’d love you to visit and comment on, to give a little support to those who have written them, for that is the beauty of the SEN community online. They have been written with open honesty and they deserve some attention.

Rachel Adam-Smith is a new blogger at My Girl Francesca – A Diary of a Mum Looking After a Disabled Daughter. She has one post so far, which tells of her determination to help her daughter, who has deletion and duplication to parts of chromosome 16, learn to communicate using Makaton.

Renata Blower blogs at Just Bring the Chocolate and happens to be staying at ‘Hotel NHS’  as she puts it (or Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital) begins to dissect her feelings surrounding the recent diagnosis of  another one of her children with Asperger’s. Read  Aspergers’, or Reasons to Shelve that Duct Tape Plan here.

Katie Kitchen of Life Through the Wrong End of the Telescope has produced some incredible posts of late, including this heartfelt expression of how she is dealing with certain realisations about the reality of her son’s condition. Please go and support her. Truth

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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.


  1. 24 September 2013 / 08:22

    An inspiring bunch, as always! Have added a post about family, but be warned – it’s not a happy one. Our gorgeous Smiler has somehow managed to hide his fantastic personality from his grandparents . . . or maybe they just weren’t paying attention.
    And everybody who doesn’t follow her already, check out
    …you won’t be sorry.
    Take care everyone!

    • 24 September 2013 / 10:35

      Your post has left me stunned. Have shared, but goodness, how difficult for you all. H x

  2. 30 September 2013 / 15:19

    Thanks for the pointers – some amazing stories and some new blog posts for me to read. We had a summer of it with our youngest – EGID, multiple food allergies, dyspraxic and dyslexic – I wonder sometimes how we got through both the highs and the lows of it all.

    A blog post to share (if you don’t mind!)


    the story of our summer!

    BlueSD xxx

    • 17 October 2013 / 13:17

      Thank you for linking. It oes sound like you had a challenging Summer. I hope things are more comfortable now, or that you have found the support you need.