SEN Parents Evening

Last week was parents evening and it’s such a joy to go and see how well H is doing and look at some of his work. His pile of books stood out straight away and made me smile, he’s is still working on A3 paper a lot! We learn a bit more about him at each of these meetings, school sees different things and there’s lots of encouragements along the way. 

H requires 1:1 learning support and we are very thankful for the dedicated team supporting his academic achievements and his emotional well being. Like any relationship; communication, trust and honesty keeps it going and also cake along the way!

The other side…

It can feel a strange dynamic going to meet the teacher as I have much more regular contact and meetings throughout the year. H comes with a lot of paperwork! This time I was really anxious about those 10 precious minutes. I still find it really hard adjusting to being the ‘other side’ of the table. Writing down questions is really helpful for me so I can be clear in what I want to ask or know. I then inevitably left the bit of paper at home!

I find it a very hard balance between wanting to know the future and also trying to take it one day at a time. There was a time when I didn’t want to know anything or engage with ASD at all as I was scared of what I may find out! That’s changed now and I am increasingly interested in learning more about Autism and I’m becoming less afraid. I do have my moments though! 

H has surpassed some expectations already and no one can predict what life will look in 10 years time for any of us or our children and it’s exhausting trying to plan for every eventuality.

A better plan?

Before having the boys I was a teacher and that was a childhood dream of mine – I won the ‘most likely to become a teacher’ award at school! I had grand plans for what my children would achieve, what our family would look like and how I would juggle work and family life. All perfectly of course!

Realising that there is a ‘better’ plan has not been an easy one. Most parents of children with SEN will talk about a time of grieving. Mourning ‘the life you never expected’ and the realisation that your journey will look quite different to other families or what you had imagined. 

Sometimes this comes in big waves where everything hurts such as filling in forms or at meetings and reviews. Other times it’s in little details when you realise you are sad and you didn’t expect to feel that way. 

Hope in the tears…

I have cried on many people and I’m thankful for those that have reassured me and let me be sad. Often no answer or advice is required, just a realisation that it’s tough and you can only manage a day at a time. When these sad times come it’s so helpful to remember that God has a plan for our family. He loves our family, and his plan is even better than the one I had imagined or expected. It’s not easy, or always fun, but it’s not without hope. 

One of the parents evening joys is that I can really focus on H’s smaller achievements. Without his needs they’d just be overlooked, but to us each little step is precious.

I still sobbed all the way home, but I had plenty of cake and have a lasting hope that is greater than the present. Parents evening might just be 10 minutes with the teacher, but it got me thinking about the past, present and future – unknown to us, but not without hope.

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