Pneumonia Christmas

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

Tonight, as I sit here in front of the fire, my children warmly tucked up in bed, it is easy to forget that, for a while, this time of year, these few weeks when we are at our darkest, dampest and coldest, this particularly quiet empty time between Christmas and New Year were not always so cosy.  Winter has long been a problematic time for me; many years have seen me cough my way through plays and concerts, descant parts that still ring in my mind remained unsung as my throat  stopped working in protest and internal temperatures rose, but nothing, nothing that had gone before prepared me for the onslaught that was winter-with-baby/toddler/child-with-Down’s.

The summer when Sam was about five months old we headed into the hospital for a sleep study.  He made this funny little duck noise (it’s the sound of a floppy larynx) and struggled for breath…

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The things we do to be more inclusive


Every so often the opinion pops up in my Twitter feed that Special schools should be abolished.

Now as someone who has devoted their entire career to the education of children with severe and profound and multiple learning disabilities, both in the classroom and beyond, I try not to get too affected by this sentiment. To some extent I sympathise, in an ideal world every child should be able to get the highest quality of education in their local community school. However, currently they do not, (something which is not exclusive to those with learning disabilities), and I am not completely convinced that the abolition of Special schools is going to rectify this. Nor am I convinced that we should be advocating the denial of choice to those who wish to have it.

It seems to me a bit like trying to eradicate poverty by abolishing food banks. Whilst Special…

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I’m not sure I’m really in the right place to be writing this at the moment, but we shall see…

Five things I am proud of
1) I completed two cross stitches and started a third

2) I gained my CPT3A – which means I can assess students towards access arrangements. It’s an M level course, and I was really proud to finish it.

3) I am halfway through my SENCo Award. Again, this is an M level course, so it’s quite challenging fitting essays and research in around work. My tutor is always positive about my work (even when I think that it’s not so good!)

4) I was brave (foolish, some say) and once again went travelling on my own in the summer. It’s actually been a while since I went alone, and at times, particularly in Norway, it was quite lonely, but I spoke to lots of…

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Civil War

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

A couple of months ago I filled in an online questionnaire.  It’s not an out of character thing for me to do (although it has to be said that it is usually because I hope to profit from my time by being entered in a draw for some sort of Ladies Nice Clothes voucher), but this one was close to my heart in a different way.  It was a questionnaire from Mencap for parents of children with Learning Disabilities (such as Down’s syndrome) about their children’s experience in school.  They were particularly interested in experiences of mainstream school, and, as Sam stayed there until the end of Y6, I felt that I had something to contribute.

The main findings of the survey are published here in their press release.  Key statistics are:

  • 908 parents took part in the survey.
  • 435 reported having a child with a learning disability in…

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Christmas Feel Good Post.


The last couple of weeks have been fairly amazing at my school. You know the kind of weeks when everything just goes right, exactly as you want it too – well this last couple of weeks have been like that.

It began with our ex Headteacher being awarded his MBE for services to children with disabilities. Regular readers of my blog will know that he was HT for 23 years and was very highly regarded in the profession and much loved by parents and staff. He built an Outstanding school and carefully selected staff who wanted the very best for very poorly children or those children with behaviour challenges in our area. He was extremely successful and it was a sad day when he left. He was presented with his award by the Duke of Cambridge and we are very proud of him. He has not left education altogether and…

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The Angel who Got her Wings


The title of this post is that of our Nativity play at school but in my eyes reflects the achievements of all of our children who, metaphorically and literally, earned their wings today.

The Nativity play in school traditionally tugs on the heartstrings of parents and teachers alike. For us it is especially poignant because in their mainstream settings our kids are the ones who are on one to one outside class or sent home or sheep number 3 sitting closely guarded by a TA on the outer reaches of a bench near a door ready to be whisked away at a moment’s notice! I often refer to our kids as being on the fringes of society and at this time of year it becomes even more apparent….but not , thankfully, for our little gang!

Practising for a Nativity play is fraught with difficulty for our kids….They struggle to sit….They…

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Face to Face…


This week I’m very excited to have my first ever guest blogger!  Maureen Chapman has been commenting on my posts for some time and this week I challenged her to contribute from her own perspective as a deaf person.

deaf persons hand demonstrating

The challenges faced by the deaf and hard of hearing in both church situations and the wider society!

Believe me, they are many and frustrating too. So where to begin?

Deaf people are human beings, with just one part of their bodies not working properly.

Deaf people are not all the same. I will use mainly my own experiences here. You are face to face with me.

So who am I? In my seventies, ex mission nurse/midwife working in Nepal in the 1960‘s, married and with my husband, ex-hotelier and mini -market owner.

I was born into a deaf family, my father, his brothers, my own brother and his two daughters…

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