I am sure some of these sound familar to you....Autism, ASC, ASD, ADHD, ADD, Attention Deffecit, Auditory Processing, Selective Mutism, Language Disorder, Mental Health, CAMHS, Social Anxiety, Emotionally Based School Avoidance, EBSA, School Refusal, Pathalogical Demand Avoidance, PDA, Oppositional Deficence Disorder, ODD, Pons Pandas.
WHY DO I OFFER THIS SERVICE?
Now, I cannot remember if it was before or around the time my children started school, I recall feeling like there was something different about them. Not something, broken or wrong, just something different which needed some special handling. Of course, for us as parents it was our normal, so when we were asked what it was, we couldn’t really describe it, as it is all we had known as parents.
Like so many other families I now support, over the years we were told it was our parenting, we needed to have former boundaries, and more control over our children. It felt impossible to others to see what we could see. Now I know, it’s because as a neurodiverse family, we just found our own way of coping with and in the world, so our children were raised in a way which meant they only expressed themselves to those who really knew and understand them. Not only because, they could not find the words or communication to do so with others, but also because we as parents “got it”, having spent our entire lives staying small and trying to fit in.
When our children reached a point of not being able to cope at school, it became clear we needed to make some changes. Up to that point we did not recognise all the signs that things were changing so much for them, and continued doing what we were being told to do by education provisions. Even though I worked in the NHS as a registered mental health professional, I found the experience of navigating the system for my children impossible to understand, and practically keep up with what we needed to do and when.
So, I know that as a parent, when your child is struggling at school, we can feel increasingly isolated, lonely, confused, helpless, and hopeless. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn for support, especially when our days and evenings can be so unpredictable. I started trying to reach out to other families whose children were on a similar journey, which did not always work because of our challenges with meltdowns, school meetings, and health appointments. This is when I recognised that although there are many charities in our area supporting families practically with Special Educational Needs support, policy and legislation, Education & Health Care Plans, tribunals and much more, accessing emotional support was so hard us and other families in a similar situation. Parents and older siblings looking to access emotional support would go to the GP and be told of the long waiting lists, some charities offered some short-term key working or counselling, or some people would need to spend at least £200 per month on accessing emotional support with a counsellor. Everything available for families needing this support was either, costly, structured, or time-bound, and something that, when you are caring for a neurodiverse family, you don’t always have the flexibility or resources to access without something else falling apart, just another mess for you to clear up.
So, I took the decision to begin offering a local online emotional support group for Parent and Carers living through their children’s Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) and social avoidance. During the 10 months I held this space I had parents from all over England and Wales ask to attend, however the feedback I received was that these parents already felt so judged by others they wanted a private space to receive the emotional support they had all been trying to find.
I was also recently invited to become a trustee of We Got You, a charity supporting parents of children and young people with autism or ADHD diagnoses in Sevenoaks. Furthermore, I have recently recorded EBSA parent training alongside KCC and Kent PACT, this training should be available for all families in Kent very soon. It feels gratifying knowing I am doing my part to help improve quality of life for those living with neurodiversity while helping ease some strain off the public services too.
As an experienced mental health and wellness practitioner, neurodiverse woman, and parent of a neurodiverse family, my offering to you, all adults in a neurodiverse family, is a meeting on Zoom for 30 minutes. I listen, emotionally support you, and help to problem solve how to manage your stress, tension, and burnout as a family. I have a small number of free spaces available for this support, and others available for a small fee.
In addition to the services I have mentioned, I also offer individual coaching and mentoring, and regular group meditation and breathwork evenings for adults.
Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss anything neurospicy you want support with, or simply follow me on social media for updates about how I might be able to support you and your family.