I have been working with young people with SEND for about 10 years and I am a qualified counsellor, a SENCO and work voluntarily as an Education Rights Case Worker for the National Autistic Society.
I have decided to develop a low cost counselling service for families of children with special educational needs and disability. Since I already work with parents and siblings who are finding it difficult to cope with SEND relationships within the family. I understand how difficult it can be for siblings in families where the emphasis can seem wholly focused on coping with the needs of the child with SEND. Siblings can feel isolated, devalued and unimportant, yet torn because they understand that their sibling needs extra care and attention.
I also understand the emotional battle that parents undergo finding the right support, the constant worry for the future of their child and the emotional toil connecting with a child with special needs can sometimes take. Understandably, this can create additional tension within the home. Being the parent of a child with special needs can be mentally and emotionally taxing, and sometimes having an understanding ear can help relieve some of the stress. I understand this first hand, so I offer a non-judgemental space to voice concerns and struggles, all through a confidential service that is designed to be supportive.
I also offer counselling to young people on the autism spectrum. I understand the stress of school life on a child with autism. Issues with social interaction and communication can leave a child feeling isolated and ‘different’. There can also be internal struggles with the school’s understanding their needs. Schools can be overwhelming for children on the spectrum due to sensory needs or not feeling they fit in. Only 1% of the UK population is autistic, however, mental health conditions are much more common in people with autism compared to the general population, with nearly 80% of people on the spectrum affected. Anxiety affects 40% of autistic people and depression 30% (National Autistic Society). Because much of the focus can be on dealing with autism, or because mental health conditions can be hidden behind autism, not enough emphasis is placed on supporting the mental wellbeing of the child or young person with autism. It can also be very difficult working with someone with autism for many reasons:
- It can take a long time to establish a therapeutic relationship
- The young person may not be able to communicate how they are feeling
- They may not understand how they are feeling
- They may not be able to connect their emotions to external factors
- The emphasis may always be on managing behaviour rather than understanding emotion and this may take some time to resolve
This aside, I am prepared to work with the child to develop ways of understanding that can help them cope better with their emotions.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more. Initial consultations are 30 minutes and completely free.