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Finally- SN Toddler Group Is Official!!!!

36 replies

JakB · 15/02/2005 18:48

Amidst my general malaise, one bit of bright news... Finally set up a bank account for Sweet Peas, the parent and toddler group for parents and children with special needs, that I have trying to set up since last year! My friend (who I am doing it with) and I are so chuffed and we have also found a free venue. Want it to be really supportive with singing and special time, good coffee, CAKE, visiting 'experts' (trying to convince my SALT to do a 'prime ministers questions'!) and eventually 'special events'. So hopefully parents will find it a haven and not have to worry about the inquisitive glances of other mums and generally feeling uncomfortable at a mainstream group. Hurrah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ps Do tell me what YOU would want from such a group...

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ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill · 15/02/2005 18:51

Fantastic JakB . You certainly have been a busy bee. I think it is an excellent idea and would have loved something like that when dd was younger.
I think the main thing for me would be that dd could go and be herself and I wouldn't have to worry about the "tuts" that I used to get. That for would have been heaven.
To be honest I think you have thought of everything, so WELL DONE!!!!!!!!

coppertop · 15/02/2005 18:56

It sounds great! Are you sure you don't want to move to my area and set it up here instead?

Maybe you could have an info sheet printed out which gives the basics about DLA, Carers Allowance etc. The kinds of things that you often only find out about when you find somewhere like mumsnet.

If I was going to a group like that I'd love there to be a small corner/area with an enclosed space for ds2 to retreat to when he starts to feel overwhelmed. At home we have a cardboard box but it could be anything - even a table with a blanket draped over it.

I'll have a thinkaut wha else I'd probably like.

MandM · 15/02/2005 19:46

That sounds absolutely fantastic! Where abouts in the country are you? Something like that round here would be brilliant, I have met so many mums that have SN kids who have found normal groups and play places unsuitable.
Is the group going to be open to NT brothers and sisters aswell or not?
You seem to have thought of everything. the only thing that I can think of that dd would really love at a group like that is loads of music, instruments, action songs etc, but nothing really loud or overwhelming.
Good luck with everything!

Merlot · 15/02/2005 19:51

Wow JakB that's fantastic!

Wish you were closer to us - I'd come!!

chonky · 15/02/2005 20:15

JakB - that's great news!!! I'm dead impressed.

DD & I go to something similar, and I'm struggling to think of anything that we do there that you haven't thought of already . Your group sounds fab. The only thing I can think of is that when we sing songs we sign them in Makaton as well (although we're not in the same league as Dave Benson Phillips ).

eidsvold · 15/02/2005 21:43

that is brilliant - we attend a sn playgroup and it is brilliant - mums who understand what you cope with and we get together every week for two hours. The best thing about ours is it is provided through the school system here and so we have a special ed teacher and teacher's aide who run/help with the group. We also have access to therapists.

Our set up is like this:

play in the room with toys books etc for first half hour or so, then outside play - swings, sandpits etc, then snack time( usually have coffee etc for parents then too), then some sort of arty/crafty thing and then music time with singing and dancing - lots of actions, movement etc.

If you are worried - why not ask the parents who attend what they would like to see/know more about etc.... then you can be sure of catering to people's needs.

Davros · 15/02/2005 22:08

The one I went to years ago sounds like Eidsvold's although they didn't have an outside area available then, they now have lovely premises. It was run by the charity Kids. My only comment is to make sure that there are tangible things to do for the kids with ASD as you know how difficult "play" is. Don't know what to suggest, mini trampoline, ball pit, and my DS has always been totally indifferent or even actively disliked action songs

heartinthecountry · 15/02/2005 22:09

Well done JakB! Think you have thought of all the important things (most important being cake!) Just one tiny thought - if you are having snacks for kids at all what about having gluten/dairy free biscuits available? (expensive but I'm sure parents wouldn't mind chipping in for refreshements).

FineFigureFio · 16/02/2005 07:42

well done jakb and typical of HITC to give priority to the cake

something like this would have been a godsend to me in the early days, how about NOT closing the group during the holidays? This is usually when you need the most support!

FineFigureFio · 16/02/2005 07:43

lots of things low on the floor for kids who arent mobile, and lots of BABY toys

chonky · 16/02/2005 08:14

This book might help - sorry if you've already got it , I know our playgroup leaders sometimes use it. Another thing that we have is a 'theme' for the term - e.g. 'on the farm', and we get given a termly agenda for what we're going to do each week. Probably really useful for older kids because parents can tell them up front what the organised play activities are going to be that day.

small steps forward

JakB · 16/02/2005 09:33

Fantastic ideas! As we have got the venue free, we can afford some equipment so a mini trampoline, mini ball pool, OT balls etc and lots of sensory stuff are on the agenda. I know what you mean, DAvros, dd vaguely interested in Twinkle Twinkle and that's about it, then she wants to fling herself at stuff. We are definitely going to open all year round and siblings are welcome. Deffo gluten and dairy free stuff. So excited. Thanks for all your fab ideas...

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maddiemo · 16/02/2005 10:50

Well done it sounds like it will be brilliant

At Portage playgroup we used to be given a sheet telling us the weeks activities could be used to benefit the children. We would also take home a little bag of bits such as differnt texture materials for sensory issues. Could be expensive but again people could donate.

Wish I lived near enough to come. I have refused to help at my local playgroup and will no longer take ds4. The last time I was on the rota to help ds3 had not long been out of hospital and I decided to take him with me rather than let people down by not turning up. People complained about him especially the woman I was paired on the rota with.

Davros · 16/02/2005 11:27

Forgot to say well done Jak!!
Someone got DS a bean-shaped OT ball for Xmas from Tescos and I got him jumbo round Nike one from Argos for only about £8 (reduced). Look at Letterbox too (via MN) as they have a lot of those balancing, peddally things I described somewhere before.

chonky · 16/02/2005 12:50

A parachute's a fun toy, and really good for group play - £15 from ELC.

pixel · 16/02/2005 20:37

Wow!! most impressive JakB! I found doing my stint as a parent-helper at our playgroup stressful enough! Can't think of any helpful ideas atm that haven't been covered but will give it some thought.

JakB · 18/02/2005 09:44

Maddiemo They COMPLAINED about him? OMG. That's bloody awful.
ps Thanks for all your great ideas . There will definitely be no 'complaints' about children at our playgroup.

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macwoozy · 18/02/2005 11:28

Wow, I am so impressed. I would have jumped at the chance of such a playgroup for my ds when he was a toddler. Just to be able to go to a place where my ds could play and not have to worry about his behaviour would be a godsend. WELL DONE

Davros · 18/02/2005 17:17

JakB, I like the name BTW. Will you have some guidelines or something? People treating each other with respect/tolerance, being willing to take a turn helping out making tea etc for the others, whatever you can think of. Probably best to get something short down as a Welcome to Sweet Peas and then you have something to follow if anything goes wrong. Sorry to sound negative but reading maddiemo's post is worrying.

maddiemo · 18/02/2005 17:56

It was a mainstream playgroup Davros. The woman who complained the most had kept asking ds3 to play with her 1 year old while we set up the toys and he didn't really understand what she meant and I suppose he came across as uncooperative.
He go a bit distressed as there were balloons in the room. I kept an eye on him the whole time, he never went near anyone elses child and I took him around activities with ds4. However, this woman complained that he was rough and kept telling people to watch out for him.

I always watch ds3 like a hawk at any gathering, not because he is rough but because he is unable to articulate any incident to me.

Having said that a sheet with who to speak to type details would not be a bad idea along with the support eachother type info.

jollymum · 18/02/2005 18:13

Jak B, where are you? Curious 'cos I do music with littlies and go into a Special school once a week. I'm getting better at Makaton and would happily come in a do a session for you

JakB · 19/02/2005 19:36

Maddiemo. That is just so upsetting. Just the reason why I set up Sweet Peas. Bloody ignorance. Yes, a sheet is a fab idea. Jollymum, I'm in Brighton? Where are you? That would be fab if you came and did a music/signing session

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ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill · 19/02/2005 19:53

I know this sounds soppy but I am so proud of you JakB. You are an inspiration and I am seriously considering setting up some sort of support group at dd's unit becuase of reading what you have done. xxx

Are you going to the meet up???

JakB · 19/02/2005 19:55

Ah, sweet! You should do. Thing is, I make it sound as if I had the idea and just did it. It's taken me a year to get it together, to be honest. I am at the meet-up. I am PRAYING that nothing gets in the way.

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ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill · 19/02/2005 20:06

I am supposed to be going to counselling at the carers centre but would love to meet you lot instead. I am a bit all over the place though as my gp has told me to half my ad's and I don't think it's a good idea as I am not with it to be honest.
I am going to have a chat with dd's headmistress and see what she thinks. There are children from nursery to year 6 and I think it would be so helpful to speak to other mums in the same boat.

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