This scheme will provide opportunities for parents of special needs children to meet, encourage and support each other. A model of promoting a “buddying system” that fosters non-judgemental support. A safe and open environment that allows advice, skills and knowledge of local resources and strategies available to support the individual child.
My story so far...
My name is Nicole Blom and I have been working and teaching within the area of special needs for the past six years. I am passionate about supporting the individual children I teach to reach their full potential and to be as independent and resilient as possible.
The sector of teaching within special needs requires you to build a strong relationship with parents as the impact of home intervention is as vital as the work that takes place within school. While working with and supporting parents, I quickly realised that I was having the same conversation with every parent about their concerns, fears and worries and also realised that most parents had the solution or the start to a solution once they were prompted or equipped with the necessary information, agency or intervention.
So fast forward to April when I stumbled upon the Essex Families Included Prize while browsing through my emails I became inquisitive about what sort of organisation I would like to start to support the parents that I work and have worked with. I phoned around some parents and colleagues of mine that all have special needs children and put the question to them – “What support would you have wanted when your child was diagnosed?” And their answer? “Someone to talk to me that has been through it.” So Voila! That is where my idea was born– and it is just an idea – I have a lot of research, interviews, trials and networking to complete in the next four months to get my “idea” to an “organisation”.
So enough about the inspiration, what exactly is my idea? My idea is to create an organisation where parents of special needs children buddy each other in a supportive, non - judgmental and safe environment. Where do you come in Nicole you might be thinking? Well, I will be wearing my professional hat and advising the parents on where, when and how to access all the support and early interventions that are so vital for a child with special needs.
My idea will help families because it will be an opportunity for existing parents to support new parents that have recently undergone a diagnosis and so desperately need to know that there is ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel (That’s where my name for the idea/organisation comes from!) and that they are not alone on this new journey.
I’m very excited to be a finalist because firstly I am totally clueless regarding how to start an organisation and will be supported by a great team to get me through the next four months and secondly because hey, I have nothing to lose and if I win then I am going to impact my local community and make a massive change in the lives of very vulnerable and isolated families.