One of the founder members of PAN, Suzanne, has agreed to blog with me. Here is a bit of information about her.
I am a SAHM to 3 children, Elizabeth 17, Robert 6 and Matthew 4. I moved to Derbyshire in 2004 when I met and married my husband. Prior to this I had been a single parent for 8 years to my daughter, so understand the challenges this entails.
I am also a full time carer to my husband, who is disabled. Our lives changed when he was diagnosed with a condition leaving him physically disabled and in chronic pain. Before this I had been working full time as a primary school teacher. I taught for 16 years in London, Liverpool and Derbyshire and achieved the role of ‘Assistant Head teacher’. I therefore feel I have some insight into the education system.
Robert was diagnosed with Autism when he was 4. He attends mainstream school with a Statement of Special Educational Needs and receives 23 hours 1:1 support. His needs are many but as the saying goes: ‘when you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism’. I have cried many tears; some of joy, some of frustration and some of sheer exhaustion.
Having a child with an additional need has a huge impact on all the family and I am constantly worrying about the affect it has on Robert’s siblings. I strive to be there for all my children and give them my time and love equally. This is not always easy.
My son has taught me so much about myself, other people and about life in general. We truly are our childrens’ advocates, they need our strength and love to thrive in this world that at times can be so difficult and confusing for them.
I have been lucky to made many new friends through attending local support groups. Although our children are all individuals and their needs all vary, we share a very special and common bond.
I hope to be able to share some of my journey with you.