Blood, Sweat and Tears

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I sent out a tweet the other day.  It was a little, innocuous retweet of a picture of a little girl, trying on her school uniform for the first time.  In it, she is clapping her hands, as pleased as punch to be wearing a blue checked dress, her hair in a ponytail, shiny black shoes as neat as a pin.  Clearly, her parents were pleased as punch too because they sent it out to some big hitters in the Down’s syndrome tweeterverse.  I saw it and I was glad to share it with the many teachers with whom I am connected in a virtual sense.

It had a surprisingly large effect.  To date, it has had 32 retweets (which…

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It’s easy to get a diagnosis of ADHD for your child


I received a copy of a letter to my son’s GP today, dated 9th May 2017.

It said:

Dear Dr X,

Thank you for your referral of Kipper to the Local CAMHS triage team. We have now received all the screening questionnaires back from the family and the school and these have been reviewed.

Having considered all the information presented to us, the evidence across the home and the school environment DOES NOT support the need for further ADHD assessment at this time.

The Connors’ questionnaires completed by the parents and Kipper are significant for ADHDH concerns, although the Teacher Connors’ questionnaire reports concerns that are significant for inattention but not hyperactivity and impulsivity. The school observation form suggests attention can vary and organisation is good unless unfamiliar routine. However, the Educational Psychologist gives more evidence of distraction and attention difficulties in the context of ASD i.e. difficulties understanding language…

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Physical Contact in Schools


There’s been a lot in the press in the last few weeks regarding physical contact in schools. In June last year the  Guardian’s Secret Teacher wrote an article condemning the use of restraint in our schools. The teacher in the article described the experience as harrowing with impractical training. The teacher in question talked of inadequate stand off times where the child should calm down and allow the teacher to diffuse the situation. The child finds this impossible due to being pinned to the floor in a humiliating and degrading manner. In fact, until 2010 the waters seemed very muddy on the issue of touching children in schools. I’m no fan of Michael Gove but he did suggest the rules be clarified once and for all which is a good thing. You can read an article from BBC news here concerning Gove’s changes.

Physical  contact in schools raises a…

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#SENexchange: Reflection and celebration


photo SEN exchange

As we have reached 3000 followers on @SENexchange we would like to take this time to thank and celebrate the contributions of our followers. The key thing that makes #SENexchange so successful is the contribution of our range of followers who are willing to share their knowledge and ideas. To mark the occasion of us reaching 3000 followers we decided to ask a few of our most regular contributors to our weekly discussions for their thoughts about #SENexchange. We would love to hear your views too so why not write us a message in the comments section at the end of the blog!

Jo Grace


“One of the wonderful things about SENexchange is who you can bump into in the ether. There are brand new teachers keen to learn and experienced practitioners willing to share. There are experts in their field professional trainers and specialists. There are parents, some with…

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SEND and vulnerability…

ramblings of a year 1 teacher

As most who read my blog posts are aware, I have a 19 year old daughter who has ‘severe and complex difficulties’ and a 5 year old diagnosis of autism.

I try to be a good parent; I really do. I try to educate my children, to make sure they know how to keep themselves safe in a society that, digitally, is now light years away from which I grew up in. The highlight of my youth was having a speak ‘n’ spell and then  a Commodore 64, which enabled me to play games via a cassette, that took hours to load before you could play! This weekend, all thoughts of being a good parent were brought firmly to to ground with a resounding thump.

This weekend I checked her phone – I wish I hadn’t, but glad I did. She has a Facebook account and WhatsApp, due to her Dad being…

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Being forced to fight for things you never wanted to need.

It Must Be Mum

“Because you want him ‘Out of County'”

For parents of children with additional needs this paradox (fighting for something you don’t want to need) is normal.  It ranges from constant, every day, exhausting mini-dramas, to full out, full scale all consuming battles for survival where you have 3 choices: remove your child from school altogether, force them into a situations that will cause lifelong harm (school’s that ban playtime and use restraint and seclusion daily for example) or fight for something you never wanted to need.

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