When I was a teacher, I came across a large number of children with additional needs. It struck me that more and more children were presenting with SEN, however many of these children were not diagnosed. Any teacher will tell you that when you have your own class, the children become your extended family, so you naturally do whatever it takes to help them. Whether it’s spending hours of your own time worrying about and trying to find ways to support them, or indeed spending your very hard earned wages on anything you feel will make their learning experiences positive and meaningful.
I spent hours researching and creating resources to help those children ‘cope’ within the classroom environment but still, some children just could not succeed. This created all sorts of issues such as low self esteem and a feeling of failure, inevitably exacerbating the behaviour. I witnessed children being labelled naughty and this infuriated me. Some children experience chaotic home lives which can influence their behaviour, but I had my share of children who struggled for a plethora of different reasons.
In our society we are very quick to judge parents and assume that children are spoilt brats, devoid of manners and discipline. “Bring back corporal punishment!” I’ve heard people say. “All this ADHD and autism…nonsense! In my day, this didn’t exist and it’s just an excuse for children who can’t behave!”
Well, the reality is, children with additional needs have always existed, but they were not diagnosed and probably spent their lives being misunderstood and labelled incorrectly. It is highly plausible that numbers seem to have increased due to more people being diagnosed, but studies also suggest that genetics have a part to play. I will revisit this further in my blog.
These opinions never sat well with me, but they wounded me even further when I had two children of my own who were both flagged up as being SEN.
Automatically, people assumed my children’s behaviour was a result of my parenting, or pandering as it was once described. I prefer to call it helping my children to feel safe, secure and loved. I prefer to call it having realistic expectations and clear boundaries. I also prefer to call it picking your battles.
Some people didn’t believe they were SEN at all and suggested I was seeing things that weren’t there, completely invalidating their everyday struggles, as well as mine. But again, I will explore this further in my blog.
I have created SEN Child of Mine to share my experiences, to offer support to others, and also to explore the world of SEN today. I look forward to exploring this journey with you and invite you to share your world with me.