My story as a parent carer
As a parent carer and a member of the Bridgit Care team, I wanted to share my journey so far to let other parent carers know that there is support out there and that even though we are parents, accessing support services does not mean we cannot cope.
My son is 3 and a half years old. At around 18 months we noticed that he was not reaching his milestones as well as he did when he was a baby.
How it began
He started learning new words, but then stopped and would no longer say words he had learnt. He started having behaviours, but we put this down to him being in his ‘terrible twos’, started a heavy interest in playing with cars and trains disregarding playing with anything else and enjoyed playing in his own world.
We thought these were things he would ‘grow out of’ or it was because ‘he is still young and learning’ but from having a background working with people with SEND I had in the back of my mind, there could be something else going on.
The nursery he attended also noticed that he needed additional support and so they created him a Support Plan with regular Support Reviews. As his speech was delayed, we were referred to Talk Time, a group ran by our local childrens centre. This was a great group, however as this was during the height of the COVID pandemic it was online and not as engaging as the in-person groups would be.
We then were referred to Portage, a 12 week course run by the Local Authority. This home visiting course was very helpful for my son, and allowed us to ask questions and learn more about how he was developing against expected milestones. By the end of the Portage course he was comfortable with the tutor, looked forward to the activities and had developed with communication and play.
Although my sons speaking was improving, it was still delayed, and his understanding of language and social communication was not at the expected level. Therefore we were referred to Speech Therapy via the pre-school. A Speech Therapist visited the pre-school and assessed my son in his environment alongside a 1-1. The Speech Therapist contacted us, gave us an assessment report and identified that he may have Social Communication Disorder or Autism.
Getting a support plan
As great as it was knowing more about what he may have, it was a shock to us, but we became determined to know how to support him best.
We contacted his pre-school who updated his Support Plan and started thinking about next steps. The amount of assessments and form filling then started to increase and become overwhelming.
We made a Request for Support so that he can get assessed and diagnosed by the Neurodiversity Team, however there is a 3 year wait!
We started the process for a EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) for him to have support in his school which he starts next year, as that can take up to a year to have in place!
We are also waiting for Speech Therapy visits to start, which has an unknown waiting time.
So with all these waiting lists and processes, what support can I use?
Although I have requested to visit the primary school he will be attending and I am attending the next SEND parent carer forum event. I would like to know more about what is happening in my local area.
That is how the Bridgit Care Online Support Tool can help anyone who is a parent carer, it brings everything together in one place.
Events, Local Services, National Services, Information, Apps and Downloads all in one place.
“We haven’t got the time to be hunting online for the right information for us and with waiting lists taking years in some cases, we need to know we can access supportive information and advice whenever we need it.”