Education, SEND, Autism, ADHD, hidden disability, Suzy Rowland, Events, Happy in School

The Brick Wall

Ahh, the brick wall. You know you’ve hit one when everything you do points you right back to where you started. Well, I’m not a magician (although some would argue to the contrary), but I believe the brick wall is an illusion, one designed to keep you in your place, on the back foot, in a mental or psychological prison.

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Here are some ideas to help you get around, over the top, or just smash through these brick walls:

  1.  Remind yourself of why you started to do the thing you are doing, write it down, write down what you want to achieve (your goal).
  2. Look at the brick wall, really look at it. Face it down. Is it a person, a group of people, an organisation? A number of organisations? You may feel intimidated but pack this feeling in a box and put on a suit a suit armour. Most dragons can be slayed; you just need to know where to strike.
  3. Your first strike is doing some research, use your information to weaken the mortar between the bricks. There is truckloads of practical and legal information out there. Select stuff to read and research that answers your exact questions, don’t get side-tracked. And if this is too challenging for you due to time pressures, work or family commitments, make sure you know which charities or advice groups to and what their specialism is.
  4. Keep pushing ahead. Do not lose sight of what you are fighting for. Try to fight for one thing at a time or at least be clear about what you want to achieve.
  5. Have a questioning attitude – ask why or why not?
  6. Don’t give up.
  7.  Keep smiling, even when you feel like crying.

Remind yourself of all the other brick walls you shinned over… see! They vanished too 🙂

The next #happyinschool project workshops are on 30th April, Greenwood Centre, School Road, Hampton Hill, Greater London TW12 1QL. You can book tickets here. 

The following one is on Tuesday May 14, at the YMCA White House, 45 The Avenue, Hampton TW12 3RN. And tickets are here

© Suzy Rowland

 

 

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Events, Happy in School

#happyinschool in the Hamptons!

Sounds rather grand doesn’t it? Hampton Court Palace isn’t far but don’t let that fool you. The Hamptons is a lovely place to live and comprises Hampton Village, Hampton Court (home to the palace), Hampton Wick, just a hop from Kingston Upon Thames and Hampton Hill, not too far away from neighbouring Teddington. But just like every town and and city in the UK, the Hamptons is home to a variety of families, experiencing very different lives.

I can’t wait to host the #happyinschool workshops at the Greenwood Centre; it’s a great local community centre, with several nursery schools, infant and junior schools within walking distance. The Greenwood Centre used to have its own charity shop and newsletter but sadly both are wound up. I think it’s important to support local community centres and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of parents.

In my capacity of #happyinschool project founder and principal trainer, I meet parents from all walks of life, who have children with disabilities. It’s a real eye-opener; disability of any type, is a great leveller. I love how parents relate stories about their kids and the things they do to support their experience of the world.

One parent purchased about twenty boxes of  cereal with a cartoon character that their boy loved, only to discover a few week’s later, that his obsession with that character had passed! A mother revealed that she buys highly calorific snacks for her child, as his heightened sensory responses to certain foods have resulted in weight loss. Then there’s the parent who get to work late, travelling in the rush hour, so her daughter can be dropped off to school at the exact time when the children are going into the classroom. Why does she do this? Because her daughter doesn’t like waiting in the playground in the mornings – the noise levels and intense pre-school conversations cause her anxiety levels to rise significantly. Not the best start to her day. All of these different experiences bind us together.

confused child
#happyinschool  – a unique tribe of parents

One of the most powerful things we discuss in the #happyinschool sessions, is how to articulate our child’s needs without resorting to anger, sarcasm or passivity. Feelings can run high when parents and educators are in discussions about what accommodations are reasonable for a child with additional needs. Due to funding challenges, changes in the law and school behaviour policies, conditions are perfect for opprobrium on both sides.

Learning how to recognise our behaviours under pressure and that of our children and their teachers, is a powerful step towards reaching a successful outcome. Although in reality, it’s just one step of many.

Tickets for Greenwood Centre: https://www.facebook.com/events/2137289379689833/

Join the #happyinschool tribe over on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/happyinschool/

© Suzy Rowland

Events, Happy in School

And so, another session ends

Sometimes you just need to let a picture do the talking. Parent SEND workshops can be hard work, intense and tiring. At the #happyinschool project, we’re all about honing in on the positive, working with the information we’ve got and developing practical strategies to move us and our children forwards.  That’s why we’re here, in this space, sharing our stories.

Doing it the #happyinschool way utilises the technique of parent power, and one of the biggest powers we possess: our latent ability to parent with humour, resilience and a sense of purpose. Hang on a minute! That’s how we want our kids to approach their own experiences, so it makes sense that we start with their biggest influencer – us.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to feel these things, particularly on the days when we feel like we’re chewing on a bag of nails. But using the techniques in the sessions, peer support and a full and varied programme that gallops along for fifteen hours over a six-week period, something inside you will change. Take it from these guys, smiling faces. It’s an undiluted pleasure to lead these sessions, as we all emerge feeling a bit sturdier and a lot sharper, and that’s no mean feat. Well done everyone.

#happyinschool attendees – ambassadors for their children’s future

Fill in the form below to go on the waiting list for the next #happyinschool parent workshops. Thank you.

©Suzy Rowland

 

Education, SEND, Autism, ADHD, hidden disability, Suzy Rowland, Events, Happy in School

Autism Conference The Rose Theatre

It’s always a pleasure to share the aims and passion of the #happyinschool project to parents. Being the parent of a child or children with autism or ADHD can be fraught, relentless; you can lose sight of yourself and your power in the rolling procession of appointments, teacher meetings and assessments.

I was delighted to by asked by Express CIC to speak at their sixth annual conference at the Rose Theatre. Meetings parents and helping them understand the education dynamics when raising a child with autism or ADHD is the reason I do what I do. For every assertive parent who sticks two fingers up at the medical and educational establishment, many more feel guilt, shame, tiredness, anger and confusion, often not knowing what to do next. When you work full-time, it’s can be a strain to commit fully to your job, whilst meeting your parental obligations. And it’s not just attending the meetings, and digesting all of the information, it’s about all of the decisions you need to make. Decisions that could affect your child or young person’s life forever. I’ve been there AND got the tee-shirt. Literally.

#happyinschool ready to roll at the Rose Theatre
#happyinschool information & emPOWerment sessions for parents and educators, enabling children with autism and ADHD to be #happyinschool

It was great to see some familiar faces and meet quite a few new ones at the Express CIC Autism conference. The gallery space at Rose Theatre was light and airy, it was great to see so many families. I look forward to seeing more of you at forthcoming #happyinschool sessions. The aim is to cover the big issues, breaking them into manageable chunks. Dicing up the information that’s useful and relevant to you, making it easier for you to use practically as you work with the educationalists and other professionals to support your child. It’s fun, emotional, interactive but the best bit is this: we do it together, supporting each other as we go.

Express Autism Conference – full house for #happyinschool session

I’d like to leave you with a few motivational words:

“Empowered we all move forward in knowledge.”

© Suzy Rowland