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This Is My Child - the new MNHQ campaign. Everyone come look please!

304 replies

RowanMumsnet · 16/08/2013 15:16


As lots of you will already know, we've spent the last few months working on a new campaign called 'This Is My Child' - and it's launching on Monday. (We're letting you know about it now because there's a rather nice piece about in in the Guardian this weekend.)

You can read about the background to the campaign here, but in essence it's about myth-busting and awareness-raising - so we'd really love you all to share it as widely as possible. We've consulted with Mumsnetters and the material is supported by input from some of the leading charities in the field: Mencap, Contact A Family and Every Disabled Child Matters.

Over the years on Mumsnet, parents of children with SN have described how their lives are made more difficult by the occasional (or not-so-occasional) judginess of members of the public. They've described how this can contribute to their isolation, placing limits on their social opportunities because they can't face the stress and disapproval that comes with public interactions.

That's why we came up with This Is My Child. Its aim is to support parents of children with additional needs, inform everyone else, and open up a conversation about how we can all act together to make day-to-day life a bit easier for these families.

The input of parents caring for children with special needs has always provided a fascinating perspective for other MNers, encouraging empathy and giving real insight into what life can be like. We're hoping that our myth-busters, tips for non-experts and strategies for parents and carers, along with our background facts and figures, will help to bring the wisdom and perspective of Mumsnet SN posters to a wider audience.

So if you like what you read and think someone you know would find it interesting or useful, please share it as widely as you can (you'll find our impressively large sharing buttons on each page Wink).

And for the Tweeps among you, we'll be holding a Twitter party on the #ThisIsMyChild hashtag on Tuesday between 1pm and 2pm; please join in if you can.

As ever, we'd love to know your thoughts and hear your feedback, so please use this thread to post up anything that occurs to you.


OP posts:
SunnyIntervals · 20/08/2013 10:43

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SallyBear · 20/08/2013 10:47

Sunny, she really is inspirational. She was runner up a few years ago for a local child of courage newspaper competition. We didn't enter her. Our local hospital did!! Smile

alwayswaving · 20/08/2013 10:49

this is a brilliant campaign and "long overdue"! I am the 61 year old mother of a 40 year old daughter with special needs who was eventually diagnosed with schizo affective disorder in her 30s. She was a slow learner and I thought for years she might be dyslexic. She was statemented when she was 10 after enduring what I can only describe as abysmal "help" from the local Council. I was/am a single parent had no help from anyone with her education or managing her at home - my family and anyone else we came into contact with thought she just needed a good slap I think .. she now lives in the North West in a care home and despite now living in London (long story) I see her nearly every other weekend thanks to Virgin trains. My life is still 100% bound up with her needs/happiness and whilst I have found the people who have looked after her over the years unremittingly kind, I worry every day of my life what will happen to her when I'm not around to make sure she's ok. when not overtaken with anxiety, she is also a very funny lovely person but unfortunately a bit loud in public, particularly if she's anxious in a crowd or a restaurant. I feel guilty every day as I feel as if I've abandoned her but tbh if I hadn't gone to make my own life, and instead stayed in the North West and tried to look after her myself, neither of us would be here now. I will follow this campaign with interest as the assistance people like my daughter need doesn't stop once they leave school.

VLE1974 · 20/08/2013 10:49

I have had people speak very loudly next to me in the school playground saying things like 'well perhaps if she didn't work her son wouldn't be trying to gain so much attention' or 'all he needs is a little bit of discipline and good smacked bottom, he wouldn't be allowed to behave like that in my house'. The times I walked across the playground in tears biting my tongue, the times we saw invites being handed out to the whole class but my son. I felt like standing on the roof and shouting 'Listen you ignorant sods, he has autism and ADHD, we do the very best we can, try and show some understanding, he has feelings like us, and perhaps try living with him for a week to understand that he is actually a very loving, sensitive little boy albeit one who can be handful'. But of course I didn't. A move to a new school and a new start, medication and a lot more understanding from those around him have seen a lovely Little Man emerge who 80% of the time functions very well and very normally, yes he is a loner, yes he still does odd things but he is more accepted and helped now, we still do worry about the future, who knows what that holds but we will get through it together as a family. I wouldn't change him, the ADHD and autism make him the awesome boy he is x

SunnyIntervals · 20/08/2013 10:56

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exaltedwombat · 20/08/2013 11:04

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Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 20/08/2013 11:18

Well hello Katie Hopkins.

muchadoaboutsomething · 20/08/2013 11:22

wombat for what it is worth I think my life with a child with CP who can't walk, and would therefore count as having a real disability in whatever classification system you use is considerably easier than my friends life with a child with ADHD.

sickofsocalledexperts · 20/08/2013 11:23

Exalted wombat has a bunch of thick, Unexamined viewpoints backed up by no real experience or even curiosity. Dull.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 20/08/2013 11:26

My DD has autism and complex learning difficulties and low tone and motor delay and by far the hardest aspect to deal with is the ADHD symptoms she has.

Imagine coming on to this thread and posting such ignorant ill informed tripe.

Maybe read the campaign

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 20/08/2013 11:28

Accusing people of " celebrating their child's problems" is incredibly offensive and ignorant of what people go through.

You should be ashamed wombat

sickofsocalledexperts · 20/08/2013 11:29

She just wants a ruck fanjo. Ignore the silly cow

DebsKent · 20/08/2013 11:29

I chatted on BBC radio Kent this morning about this fantastic campaign. Looking forward to 1pm

VLE1974 · 20/08/2013 11:30

Wombat perhaps spend a week 24/7 with a child with ADHD and then form an opinion as to whether it is a disability or not.

My husband now in his 40's if assessed would now be 'labelled' ADHD as well. Yes he wasn't labelled in the 1970's when at school, instead he was expelled at the age of 5 and sent to a 'special school'. At least today it is recognised and yes it does help, as there is more understanding (from the majority) and more help in school. Instead of him being 'labelled' naughty, people work with him not against him.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 20/08/2013 11:31

Good idea sickof..

Hopefully her post will be deleted..if not it stands to show why the campaign is much needed and what ignorance is out there :)

Dawndonnaagain · 20/08/2013 11:32

exalted Perhaps you could come back when you've done a little research, there's a dear.

Bonkerz · 20/08/2013 11:35

I have struggled with this for many years. At age 3 my son was labelled awkward, at age 5 he was quirky, at age 6 he was naughty and challenging. All these were labels from professionals in schools and nurseries. As his mum I knew he was struggling for other reasons but I had to battle the health system, school system and general public prejudices against my perfect little boy. When I restrained him in public I was called all sorts of names when I only did it to stop my son hurting himself and others. After a huge two year battle that saw me quit my job and almost lose my marriage and sanity my son was diagnosed with autism and oppositional defiant disorder. We managed to find the perfect school and paid A lot of money to fight the LEA to place ds there but we won at huge personal expense both financially and mentally. Since diagnosis the road has not been smooth sailing. Ds has been excluded from social groups and play schemes and the battling for therepy and support continues even now ds is 13! I've never had help with his behaviour at home and have to research and try things out. Sometimes I fail dramatically and this isn't helped by the judgemental attitudes of the public. My son appears perfectly 'normal' he is handsome and funny but suffers hugely with anxiety which can be triggered by the smallest thing. I no longer take my son out alone. It affects every day life for me and I constantly worry about his future.

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission · 20/08/2013 11:49

I doubt you've offended anyone sunny, I think it's quite easy to tell from someone's tone whether they are patronising or paying a genuine compliment Smile like the lady I met in the supermarket who came to coo over dd3 when she was a baby and asked why she was wearing glasses, all absolutely fine except as she walked off she said, well at least it's not a facial disfigurement, I had to pick my chin up off the floor Shock

or the 2 older ladies that fell over each other because they couldn't stop staring at dd3 when she was a baby, or the looks and comments I get for parking in a disabled bay because I'm 'obviously not disabled' (which in itself is an issue!) until I walk round the car and get dd3's wheelchair out, I could go on but it gets a little repetitive Grin

but then there's also the lovely people that smile or talk to me and dd3, like the lovely lady that was trying to walk past dd3 trying to get to grips with steering her wheelchair who laughed and asked dd3 if she'd like to dance, or the lady that sympathised with me when dd3 (7) was crying over the sweets placed next to the till that she couldn't have.

my current favourite quote is 'kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see' (Mark Twain) quite apt given our circumstances

I have to agree sallybear, your dd is a gorgeous girl!

SallyBear · 20/08/2013 11:53

Thanks ninja Smile

ColinFirthsGirth · 20/08/2013 11:55

Well done Mumsnet for this fabulous campaign!

JakeBullet · 20/08/2013 11:59

Piss off wombat, my chid has autism AND also ADHD...its the last bloody "label" I would have wished for him but I am bloody glad he has it because since starting the medication he has leaned to read (within three months of beginning the medication).

He is achieving now because of a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

StarlightMcKenzie · 20/08/2013 12:07

I think Wombat probably works as a senior SEN Officer in my old Local Authority.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie · 20/08/2013 12:11

The label is only words on a page....and it's not a label but the key to a set of interventions which can help a child. Without the label, the child has no advocates in the professional world.

JakeBullet · 20/08/2013 12:17

THREAD HIJACK have a FABULOUS name there.....was watching The Breakfast Club recently and laughing out loud at that line.


JakeBullet · 20/08/2013 12:31

I really did not want my child reduced to a set of labels, I looked long and hard at all aspects of our lives and blamed myself for every little thing.....working part time so he had two days a week in nursery, not giving him a brother or sister to learn "sharing" with (ignoring the fact that he had a legion of other children in nursery to practice those skills with), what did I eat/drink or not eat/drink in pregnancy. You name it and I probably considered it.

I considered (and still do) that I had a quirky and very active little boy. However, it became apparent as he got older in nursery and then in school that his quirks were far outside normal development. He is active but not climbing the walls and as such his behaviour in school has never been an issue. His academic progress was very slow and he entered Y3 unable to read or write despite the rest of his peers having mastered these skills. ADHD was the last thing on my mind, he was diagnosed with autism at age 7.5 yrs and the ADHD diagnosis came 10 months later. I spent six months refusing medication until a paediatrician gently explained to me that DS was not reaching his potential because his brain could not focus. I agreed to a trial of medication and it was amazing.....within three months and at the age of 9 years my son could finally read.....and read fairly confidently. Its been a long slow process but he has gone from not reaching national curriculum L1 to L2s and 3s within two years

An example of the significance of medication for my child.......the school actually have to explain their academic results because my son has skewed them by making 23 points of progress in TWO years....anyone who examines the results think it's a typo and it always has to be explained.

More than anything though I have a little boy who has been handed his self esteem back. He now knows that he CAN do it and that he can match his peers instead of always feeling like the stupid child in the class who needs help. It has been wonderful to watch his confidence in his abilities soar.....and it is all down to a "label" and the right medication.

I am so proud of him for all his has a achieved and all that he will continue to achieve. I love him to bits.

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