Part of a series of true stories reflecting the struggles of SEND children and families in Birmingham recorded by Laura and Paul from Children’s Quarter during 2021/22. See the Stories Without Pictures index.
G has two children with additional needs. Her daughter is 21 and has global development delay. She is still battling to get her the support she needs. G’s non-verbal autistic son does get extra support – Birmingham City Council pays for him to go to a private school outside the city . But G feels he learns less there than the family teach him at home. She reflected on her frustration that, even when families do win extra support for their children, they see the money wasted on inappropriate and ineffective services provided outside the city and by private schools.
“For my daughter, we have had so many battles to win her proper support through school and in college. She is 21 now and we are still in no way getting proper support for her. It is written in her statement that she should get support but, for some reason – I don’t know whether it is something to do with payment for Occupational Therapy services (in Birmingham) – they haven’t been doing the OT sessions with my daughter for the last two and half years. We are still waiting for her support to come in. The (OT) sessions should be delivered; she needs that support.
“When I was trying to get support for my son (I was told) there was no support for severely autistic children in Birmingham. So we had to send him to (a school in a neighbouring borough). It’s almost a one hour drive (each way). And it is a private school. That means extra funding is being spent on my son, but I am not happy with the support he gets. Every other day he is off from school for one reason or other. I don’t know whether (what the school says) are excuses or real situations.
“I don’t see any improvement in my son’s behaviour or education. I try to teach him as much as I can at home, but I can’t see what difference the school is making. When we went to meet (at the school) I asked them are you teaching him alphabet or numbers; colours or shapes? They said ‘No, we just use pads to teach them because they do not understand.’ But we taught him numbers up to 50 and colours and shapes. We use cards with pictures on and we practice every day to teach him.
“To be honest, it’s frustrating when your child gets the support, but it isn’t used properly. It is a shame.”