Thursday, 6 February 2020

Number Day 2020 - onesies to help keep kids safe

Child in Onesie

This evening, we've been choosing onesies. It's for Number Day at school tomorrow.  All the kids get to dress up in something involving a number. They can go as simple or crazy as they like, from being a number to just wearing a top with a number on it (I've found Gap tops to be a saviour for this as they often have 1969 on them).

Number Day is a day for to schools to have a mega maths-inspired fundraising and awareness raising day for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).  Both Anthony and David struggle with dressing up days at school.  Strange costumes and themes often make them confused - school clothes are for school. But Number Day could simply meaning wearing normal clothes, which although would be strange because they were wearing them at school, at least felt like their own clothes and not some weird costume that upset their sensory systems.

As a parent we can be acutely aware of the dangers facing our kids even though they are not.  1 in 5 children in the UK have suffered abuse or neglect. That’s why, across the UK, they are working to protect children today and prevent abuse from happening tomorrow.  As a parent of kids with additional needs and autism,  I'm aware they are at higher risk of abuse either because in their case they don't understand what's happening or can't communicate it if they do.

I've read reports that show that children with disabilities are nearly four times more likely to be physically abused or neglected and more than three times more likely to be sexually abused when compared to children without disabilities. These are scary numbers for parents like me.

As someone who works in education, I've got an idea of the type of signs to look out for and how to help prevent situations. The NSPCC website has support and tips to help us keep children safe. From advice on children’s mental health to staying safe online, support for parents and what to do if you’re worried about a child.

Having awareness is vital.

My daughter and I were having a chat the other day. She said she was feeling scared about something but wasn't allowed to tell me. I reminded her that, as always, she can tell me anything, no matter what it is and I'll do my best to help her with it, even if it's something really bad.

It turned out to be nothing more than a silly scary story about a secret witch from one of the kids at school.

But afterwards I reminded her that she can always speak to me or leave me notes if she needs to.  And then she said, "Or I could tell the MSPCC"

It took me a moment.

"Oh, the NSPCC?" I asked.

"Yep, you can talk to them if you need to tell someone something.  Or if you think someone else needs help."

Jane already looks out for her brothers in ways I didn't have to as a sibling.  She is an amazing person.  But it made me think - even with that fuss over wearing different clothes, Number Day was pretty important.

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