I was worried my children had every support taken away

SLCo has been a fantastic source of support for us over many months. 


As a parent who struggles to understand why my children struggle to understand language it is also really emotional for the family to watch our children struggle in front of us and not know how to communicate with them. To watch them when they are upset and worried and not be able to explain a virus, I don’t understand myself, makes me feel so inadequate. 


When there is no school that is accessible to children who have struggled as their world has crumbled around them has created mayhem and chaos on a scale more than I know how to cope with. There are constant fears about being out, their worries that Mum and Dad and their brothers and sisters are at risk of dying through a virus. 


Despite all the support that their school has tried to give, my children cannot communicate nor are comfortable looking at a screen. It is difficult for my children to focus their attention for longer than 15 minutes let alone several hours.  


I was distraught, I didn’t know what to do. I knew that my mood was affecting the children’s moods and making an altogether difficult situation even worse, if it hadn’t had been for SLCo, and someone there that I was able to speak to, every other day some weeks, I think I would have lost my mind. 


They were my only option and my best one.  They were always there; they made such a massive difference to our children’s lives, and also to me and my husband.  I cannot praise the organisation enough for their professionalism and their dedicated attention to the needs of our family during what must have been a difficult time for them and their own families as well. I don’t think the work of this organisation is well known but I did want to add my grateful thanks for what they were able to do for us throughout some of the darkest times we’ve ever experienced. 


We have two boys who have different diagnosed disorders and struggle on a daily basis to fit in. They are more or less completely isolated outside of a world of fast communication, one which they will always be left behind in. 


It was very upsetting for us to watch as observers over many months, how families engaged and coped with adaption to an online world of screens where children were achieving. It looked so simple, seemed easy with a little effort. It wasn’t for us. It There were certainly no real achievements in this family, it was a mess. My children lost out and I felt to blame. There weren’t any easy fixes, it just got worse. Even now, I’m desperately trying to address that but experiencing even more difficulty because services are just not up and running. Getting a phone call with a speech and language therapist or trying to see a GP is just a hurdle that you cannot overcome however hard you try.  


It’s like being trapped inside a goldfish bowl, you’re looking out opening your mouth, but nobody listens. I completely understand how my children must feel as they are not able to tell me what they need. I suffer from exactly the same thing. I try my best to relay to people what my family needs but there just doesn’t seem to be anybody listening or they don’t hear the words that I say. 


The only people that did listen and pulled me up from a feeling of drowning was  SLCo. What I’m saying probably sounds dramatic, and it should be because the experience was disabling and my mental health was so very poor for such a long time.  I cannot speak highly enough of the ways in which different supports were put together for our family.  One to one and group support for our children. It helped them so much to have a link to the outside world. It helped them manage their own emotions, the difference it made when they had been guided through self-help and activities was literally amazing. They were calmer and more centred and able to focus. The SLCo youth team supported them through telephone chats and they loved that. It all helped them build and maintain some social links  – they would have had nothing at all otherwise.  School has always been challenging for them and they are at high risk of Covid, so most of the time they couldn’t go in.  


For us as parents there was a high degree of support to help me manage emotions and the pressure I was under, it helped me address how I was feeling emotionally and also how I could put in some work to parent my children in a different way throughout a very difficult time. 


I’d recommend any parents with concerns and there will be many, to contact SLCo and speak to them about what’s worrying them. It’s good to have a place to go to that offers a lot of different things instead of having to go to one place for this and another for that. I definitely feel so much better knowing that I can pick up a phone and speak to someone who knows me and my boys. That is a gift in itself. If I need anything, I wouldn’t hesitate to contact them I know they’re always there and understand that it’s not only my boys’ speech and language that is the issue, or issues at school, they understand the whole family faces constant challenges, no matter what it is. Being able to come to a place where you have professional help under one roof for adults and children, you don’t get that anywhere else. 

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