DLA & PIP – The 3 letter words that send shivers down my spine.

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When I decided to have children the word benefits never entered my head! I was bought up with a great work ethic and enjoyed earning and spending my own money within my means.

After Morgan was born we spent the majority of his first year in and out of hospital, finally to receive his and Aidens’ diagnosis of the life limiting disease, Cystic Fibrosis at the age of one and five years old.

After coming to terms with this diagnosis, which will be another blog when I’m brave enough, reality set in about what this actually meant.

One certainty was that my career path was instantly shut off. Who would employ me knowing that at the drop of a hat I am likely to wind up in hospital for weeks on end?

The hospital, doctors surgery and chemist became my second home. They all knew me on first name terms…

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How a Stranger’s Advice Helped my Autistic Daughter Overcome her Eating Issues


My daughter has always had struggles with food. From the moment she was weaned she has refused, spat out or thrown food away. Her weight has always been a concern yet no-one seemed to take me seriously.

That was until she was diagnosed with autism just before her 5th birthday and on her diagnosis letter they wrote about her limited diet and sensory avoidance with food.

I was so excited a year later when we finally received an appointment with a sensory trained occupational therapist for children with autism.

I was sure this professional would help us.

We tried everything she suggested. We did so many different ‘desensitisation’ activities like messy play, baking and play doh. We had fun with plastic food and real food and we looked through recipe books together.

Yet her eating remained as restricted as ever and her weight continued to drop.

Eventually the appointments drew…

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So, you’d like me to fix your car over the phone?

Sensory Project

Today I was catching up on my phone calls and emails from earlier in the week. I have been asked to assess a young man and “determine his dyspraxia and his sensory needs” so that his parents can request in his EHCP that he has a special cerebellar rehabilitation programme (doing the social media rounds) to address his dyslexia and difficulties at school. It is a Sunday, I have had a busy week with few moments to spare, but I feel so passionate about this I cannot help but write this blog today.

My response remains …

“I am sorry, but I cannot assess your son knowing in advance it is to recommend this or any other similar programme. Here are my reasons, because this is what I do and how I do it.

I am an independent professional. Assessment is what determines my recommendations – so that what I…

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SEN Support in Schools – We’re Missing the Point

Having been through the broken and very frustrating EHCP process in the UK this last 2 years, I firmly believe that a wholistic approach to supporting each child’s needs would be far better for everyone.

We have fought and succeeded in having provision of weekly sensory integration/ occupational therapy for Charlie. It has come 4 years after he most needed it. It doesn’t feel like a victory yet because the provision for the other children in the city, the school and in the wider system hasn’t changed.

I feel like I am walking a fine line, we are in a system where “he who shouts the loudest and wisest” get what he wants or needs. In shouting I hope I am not just getting “what I want” or solely what my child needs, but also raising the voice of others too, I pray that I am breaking new ground for others too

It Must Be Mum

Every school-age child with a special educational need (SEN) should have a written plan of support.  Every single one.  That is my interpretation of the SEN Code of Practice (SEN COP) and I will explain why. 

Published in June 2014, Chapter 6 of the SEN COP describes the provision of SEN Support in Schools.  It describes a system that is far removed from the days of Individual Education Plans and from setting targets for children who are not achieving someone else’s idea of ‘good enough’ progress.

The new approach talks about children fulfilling their potential, about achieving their best.  It talks about understanding barriers to learning and providing support.  Critically, nowhere, anywhere, does it talk about targets.  Implied is: ‘make the environment right for the child and they will progress’. 

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Lack of imagination in autism is not what you may think

Lack of imagination in Autism is not always what you may think


What do you think of when you think of imagination? Do you think of children making up games, people writing fiction stories, or perhaps role play? It is true that all of these, and so much more, require imagination yet imagination is so much more than just forming new ideas and being creative.
Many autistic children (and adults) struggle with a special type of imagination called social imagination.

Firstly let me explain what this is NOT:
1. It is NOT the ability to be creative. 

In fact many people with autism are highly gifted artists or musicians and have unique and highly talented ways of presenting their ability.

If your child is diagnosed with autism it does NOT mean they will not be good at drawing, or be able to express themselves in creative ways.

2. It is NOT a lack of ability to play with toys or act out…

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