Thursday 9 February 2017

When it was another mum standing up for my son's special educational needs

Woman standing up for my SEN son

When David was at nursery, he didn't get the support he needed. The nursery were given some funding for a member of staff to 'be with' David for some of the time but there was very little support for them, no real training.  As a child diagnosed with autism he needed help to engage  exist in a class of other kids.  David didn't speak (still hardly does) so he communicated in other ways.  When he was sad, he would cry. When he was happy he would smile and laugh.  When he got upset with someone he would scratch them.

At one point this got quite bad.  It was Friday evening and I, as was as the time, was nearly the last to collect David from nursery.  When I went back to work after maternity leave I was working extended hours, less days but the days were longer.  It was always a bit of a mad rush to get to the nursery before closing, and that's when I got the news.

"He scratched a little girl again today - quite badly, there was some blood."

Again?  Oh David.

"What happened?"

"We aren't sure.  He had someone with him but it just happened so fast we didn't see why."

I tried not to roll my eyes.  I know these things happen fast. I also know the nursery have to rotate staff around and that someone 'watching' David isn't enough. The nursery had applied for some funding to pay for the extra member of staff that would be with David.  There had been talk of people having training. But it was all under funded and under resourced. The nursery were currently covering the cost of someone watching David all the time despite only getting half that in local funding.  It wasn't the first time I thought, "Maybe he won't be able to stay at nursery."

I went into the back of the nursery with David to collect his bag but as I approached the corridor I heard a very angry voice.  I started to shake with what I was over hearing.

"This is completely unacceptable.  Look at my daughter's face!"

"I understand you are upset.  The boy has difficulties"

(cutting the nursery manager off) "I'm not interested in your excuses."

My heart sank.  I could feel the tears filling my eyes like water going into a fish bowl.  This is awful.  I hung back.  I didn't know what to do.   And then something happened.  The mother said:

"It's not the child's fault.  It's not the mother's fault. This is your responsibility.  Get onto the right person at the council and get that child the support they need or I will."

And she grabbed her daughter and stormed past me and out the door.  She gave no indication that she knew it was my son that had scratched her girl. I don't think that's what she was thinking about.

As the nursery manager watched her leave, she saw me hovering near the end of the hall.

"I'm sorry," she said sincerely.

"I know."

I'd always been in favour of working with the nursery/pre-school/school our kids were at.  And most of the time it worked.  The problem is when you've done everything you can do together and it's not enough then in reality it's just down to me.

I never saw that mum again and never got to thank her  - for showing me that even if I've got all they can give, if it's not enough for my son, then it's not enough.  David is entitled to 15 hours of nursery education just like every other child his age.  I shouldn't have to consider taking my son out of school to protect others if it's because he's not being properly supported there.  That's not supporting any of the kids properly.  And I needed to do something to change that.


  1. That mother was right. If a caregiver is going to accept this added responsibility they have to step up and make sure they have the resources to do so. Otherwise it's not fair to any of the kids. #coolmumclub

  2. Wow - how amazing to hear that mum say that. A winning moment! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this lovely x

  3. What a fabulous woman, I'd have made her my new best friend. Far too often I've heard the child be given the blame. She wasn't right! Right support = success. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ��

  4. Such an interesting read as it's a topic I haven't given much thought to. #KCACOLS

  5. Good on her for telling it like it is and telling the nursery that they need to get the right support for your son. x

  6. Oh my goodness. Goosebumps when I read that. Brilliant for the other Mum to stand up to them, love it x

  7. What an awesome post, I just read it from start to end. Learned something new after a long time. Its extremely good and very helpful for me.Thanks for sharing this great post.
    Badges For Schools

  8. I know the feeling of guilt when it is your child hurting others in their class, and the feeling of knowing how the parents of the children being hurt must feel. How lovely that this mum saw past blaming your child for what happened, and express what was really needed. For your child to to receive the support they need. #spectrumSunday

  9. This resembles our experiences through nursery we had a tough time getting support. What a great lady to speak up for you and your son.

  10. That was a truly beautiful thing to read, despite the sadness in it. #spectrumsunday

  11. I too know that feeling when my child hurts another :( It makes me afraid to stand on the playground sometimes :( thanks for sharing your experiences, the other parent said exactly the right thing, your son needs that support x

  12. This Mom did a fabulous job of advocating for your son. Other parents might go along with blaming the child for his "difficulties". You also handled this fabulously, even if you never had an opportunity to thank the Mom. My parents would've gone along with blaming me. #spectrumsunday

  13. I have read this before and felt sure I had commented but I can't see it? I think maybe you sent it when I was having trouble with a similar situation. It's so tough. My post this week was a response to it really. I hate the way that even when some institutions are helping/providing support etc, the language is often still so negative - like E is a problem. #SpectrumSunday

  14. Rebecca widnall16 March 2017 at 00:46

    Im having this problem ag the moment my child has been hurt a few times by a child who is suspected austism. They accepted him in the nursery and neve ronce have i said anything about the child or the mum! I said the nursery aren't doing what is right by the children involved. Even a nursery teacher said they cannot cope as they do not have the training! This is the nurseries problem the child deserve to have everything any other child has. I think every nursery should have staffed trained to cope with any special needs there may be with a child! Thsi should be mandatory!


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