Five years into our journey with the failing SEND system and I would have thought things would have improved by now. Scarily so, I feel even more victimised by those working in it, despite my developed knowledge on how it operates.
In 2016, I entered it naively, apologetically and ready to be made a scapegoat by those soon to set their eyes upon me. I knew no different and had to learn fast that I was not the real problem behind my eldest daughter’s behaviour.
With the assistance of this blog, campaigns and getting an EDM in motion with my local MP. Then, being invited to speak to local groups, run a support group for other parents and speak at national conferences. Suddenly the narrative had changed; I was starting to be treated as the expert on my child and the opinions I formulated were considered more withstanding.
A powerful voice advocating for the SEND community is something that some people wish to avoid.
With the merry go round of professionals that come into and out of our lives, that dynamic can soon change. Added to the situation, the emergence of needs from siblings (this being their own individual make up and the environment that they live in unsupported), suddenly we have been catapulted into uncharted waters once again.
It only takes *a few* of them to formulate some opinions on your situation and it can be cast in stone. Views, with no factual evidence, but simply created on bias.
When they make claims YOU create the problems in your children, that you seek diagnoses for children who are fine. That YOU are the source of anxiety on the playground and begin documenting observations on you. Nor do you have any idea of their findings because you are trying to nurture your children and support them through the morning distress as those views are being made. Unaware that a silent wall of judgment will end up adding to the problems that both you and your children pick up on.
Out of the blue they want details of the children’s father despite knowing that contact had been cut. They are moving forwards with their tactical play.
Then they document claims you are intimidating, you have controlling behaviour, professionals are frightened to work with you. They claim you name and shame people on your blog. They add random claims to the campaign now, like you allow your children to call their grandfather ‘Daddy’ and they are uncomfortable with that. They’ll add anything into the mix now because you are being witch hunted and not for one moment supported.
Their strategies widen.
They bring attendees to meetings you have never heard of and say they are here to offer support. You start to have a gut feeling they are gathering ranks and these professionals are not adding solutions but unmute themselves when you question any issues. These are the professionals they bring in when they put cases together that the child would be better off elsewhere.
You try to remain calm, not to react emotionally or they will continue writing that they have concerns over your ‘emotional well-being.’
You get wind that they were bringing all professionals together to pull a meeting together to discuss their concerns that you are the issue here in this family. You request an agenda and evidence of those claims but they ignore you.
Your voice is slowly being etched away. That strong, powerful voice you knew how to use, is being silenced.
Their tactics are working.
As a parent who had knowledge in the field they are tactically disarming me.
Professional gaslighting happens far too often for vulnerable families like mine.
It rips us apart. It makes us frightened to even ask for help at the start.
I’m so indebted to The Nurture Programme for holding my hand and listening to me cry. I am so grateful that they have supported me and made me feel like I can get through this once again.
It shouldn’t be like this.
If you are another parent going through this, please know you are not alone.