Hello everyone, I am Jack. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I have been a part of the Global Equality Collective for two years.
I want to talk to you today from the perspective of an adult with a disability looking back at the impact of strong parents.
This blog is for all parents of children/ young people with a disability.
What you do is so vital.
While at times, it might seem like you do not have the support or answers you seek, I promise you that the love and support you are setting for your child will create strong foundations for them to reach their full potential.
Parents of children with additional needs have so much strength and passion, when you have nothing left to give, you will always find the reserve.
I see daily - working with young people with additional needs - the importance that a strong support network can have on that young person. The young person flourishes because of the increase in the level of progress for that learner. The lines of open communication between parents and the education setting has a positive impact.
I would not be in the position I am to be writing this blog, if it was not for my amazing mum who fought to get me 1:1 support at primary school; a story that many parents can relate to as a fight and a battle.
I am sure every SEND parent is very familiar with. My mum was successful in getting me the support. Resulting in one of the fundamental bricks being in place. In addition, it was all the physiotherapy appointments, doctor's appointments, operations, and hospital stays to ensure that I have the best quality of life.
In addition, all the support while I was at University mum would get my shopping, make me food, do my washing and come and get me. She would always be the listening ear on the phone. In my personal experience, you can see how amazing parents can be for a person with a disability/impairment.
It is vital to remember that there are young people who do not have this experience - and do not have the same level of support.
As a result, demonstrating why educational settings, and those who work within them, are fundamental to these young people. To be their ‘safe person’, or their role models, or their mentors.
Again, highlighting the defining role an educator can play in a young person's life. It is so important to make sure education is inclusive, diverse, and offers equality to ensure that each learner achieves regardless of background and life circumstances. As an educator you may not change the entire world, but you have the potential to change the world for that one young person.
As a parent, you are there every step of the way for your children. I have got older, and I have needed my mum just as much - with support getting to and from work (as I entered my first full-time job) and mental health support (as I continued my mental health journey from earlier in my life).
My mum has been my rock.
I am sure that your child would say the same in their unique way to you.
I want this blog to be about celebrating the unwavering support of parents, carers, educators, and external support that is there to ensure that additional needs are not additional barriers and that while we are all about #SmashingStereotypes, parents and their young people are all about smashing expectations - and going above and beyond.
Next time you have had a hard day, or you are tired from looking after your young people, or you may have received some bad news about a piece of your young person's jigsaw of support - change the focus think about how many bricks you have laid in helping them to build that tower towards their future.
Here is a shout out to the superstars.
20 May 2022