This week my guests on Women’s Radio Station weekly ‘All things Autism’ show were Sharon Pratt and Poppy Rose.

Nadia Turk the co-founder with Poppy, started to look at the current SEND structure and legislation. She quickly realised that it is flawed, and that thousands of children and young people were not being provided with correct or adequate education provisions.

Sharon and Poppy began chatting with Nadia through social media groups and although the distance between is hundreds of miles, they became good friends and following an off the cuff comment from Nadia about taking action instead of keep talking about then @SENDNationalCrisis was born!

Nadia and Poppy discussed the 2014 reforms was implemented to end the adversarial system that often sees parents in battle with local authorities over SEND provision. But the new 0-25 system that covered education, health and social care provision was never likely to come cheap, however despite the rising age for support no extra money was put into the system. 

Doing it in a holistic way that included culture change was always going to be like moving a mountain because SEND parents have been aware of a flawed system for years but despite the reforms being steeped in legislation and a code of conduct parents have found that Councils are introducing local policies to avoid and tactically refuse the correct or required provisions for children across the country.

Nadia and Poppy said:

“The SENDNationalCrisis group has grown beyond our wildest dreams over the past year with almost 3500 Facebook followers on our national group  and over 2000 on Twitter @SENDCrisis.  Of course we would not be able to manage the national events without our network of coordinators who are arranging marches, rallies and picnics in over 20 locations around the country on 30 May 19 at 1pm and the parents, families, teachers, MPs, SEND professionals etc who are coming on the day to raise awareness of this broken system adversely affecting 1000’s of children.” 

Full details of locations can be found on the Facebook  page.  You can also find details of our petition which we had in to Downing Street on 30 May 19 at 12pm before the rally in Parliament Square at 1pm. 

Remember its half term so children, friends, grandparents and all are welcome with your own message on placards.

Nadia and Poppy continued to share:

“It’s important to arm yourself with knowledge and understand your rights as a parent for your children’s education and future. 

There are lots of groups on social media and charities that can support parents and carers and we have found parent support groups invaluable in helping to navigate the SEND system as there’s always someone out there who’s had a similar experience; we refer to many and have links on our website. 

Arm yourself with a copy of the SEND Code of Practice and quote relevant sections in any correspondence to your local authority; it’s essential to keep detailed records in case of having to go to SENDIST  tribunal or to make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsmen as your evidence of pointing out unlawful practice throughout the process will help to highlight your case. 

As well as the groups for SEND support remember there are fantastic support groups for different needs of children and some supporting our campaign are the ADHD Foundation,  National Deaf Children’s Society, Disabled Children’s Partnership and Anna Kennedy Online. 

If your children would like to have a website to look at about different diagnosis and support for young people then we’d love to recommend QLMentoring  which has been set up by Siena a 16 year old neurodiverse award winning student.

Parents find themselves in a process that is mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially draining. We are seeing loss of employment, remortgaging of homes, families and relationships destroyed, severe mental health crises, suicide even.

All to ensure our children have their needs met and the support they are not only entitled to, but that they need.  It important for parents to ensure they take time out in this stressful process to ensure they remain physically and mentally fit. 

Some suggestions for this is to take up a hobby where you can forget and be active such as dancing, make sure you have a good network around you of understanding friends and family so you can talk to them when things are difficult  or spoil yourself with a little indulgence such as a massage or getting your nails done and of course a little chocolate or a glass of wine!”.

If you missed Nadia and Poppy’s interview it is available to listen to everyday at 1pm until Monday at www.womensradiostation.com

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News All things Autism Radio show – guests Sharon Pratt and Poppy Rose