Welcome back again after the summer break.
I hope you have managed to recharge your batteries back up and have also now had enough time to settle back into another school year - I bet the holidays now seem like a long time ago to you!
In this, my first SEN Update for the academic year 2019-20, you will find sections entitled:
As I always say, I know how busy everyone is, so please feel free to read just the sections that are of interest to you or read everything; the choice is always yours.
Don’t forget, to ensure that you never miss out on one, you can get my SEN updates personally by completing your email details below, or by following me on one of the Social Media platforms that I use, at the top of this page.
You can also share this update with others (please only do so if it may be relevant to them) by using one of the icons usually to the right or at the bottom of this page.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW
At this time of year I like to refresh the SEN information that I provide to people on my website. Well, this year is no different, but this year I have tried to simplify things more by making everything easier to see and access.
One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that so many people ask me for information that I already have freely on our website. I have found that both parents and professionals, both those who are new to SEN, or those who are experienced with SEN, find something on it that they didn’t know they didn’t know.
(Please note that it is sometimes easier for people to find out about these things by subscribing to my 10-part email course called: ‘A Guide To SEN’).
I tried a few years ago to put a lot of this information into an App called SEN.fyi, which people could carry around on their phones; but, although I was pleased that so many people downloaded and used the App, I have since increasingly wanted to try to simplify things further if possible.
So, during the past year, I have gradually retired our App and, over the summer, have instead put all the information on it and more as links all in one place now on the home page of our website. Now it can be seen and accessed quickly and easily, so people do not have to search for things.
But rather than me trying to tell you what I have done, it is probably easier for you to just see it for yourself by clicking here: www.SpecialEducationalNeeds.co.uk
Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know…
IT’S NOT JUST ME THOUGH... (OTHER PEOPLE’S RESOURCES)
It’s not just me though that is trying to help people understand SEN - there are a number of other resources out there that can help people.
Often, a good start (not just for parents) is the training guides at IPSEA’s website: www.ipsea.org.uk, which includes access to online training, face-to-face training, bespoke training and webinars. You may also be helped by IPSEA’s helpful guides about SEN.
Then there is the CDC’s (Council for Disabled Children’s) website at https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk, which also contains or refers people to a lot of useful information (including, recently, a link to a good explanation of how high needs funding currently works in local authorities, which is on the TES website).
Finally, there is SEN Magazine, whose website is at https://senmagazine.co.uk who also put out a bi-monthly publication, which has started coming out in the past few months as a digital version that you can read on your eBook reader or tablet.
Remember though that you can find all of these things and more by going regularly to the SEN News section of my website, which is updated daily.
FORTHCOMING SEN EVENTS
This section of my Update is usually shorter when we start a new school/college year, because there is often not too much for me to talk about that is coming up yet.
That being said, the things that I would draw your attention to are the following:
Also, before you ask, the Annual SEN Conference that I stage with IPSEA and Matrix is going to be held next year on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 (again in London).
So make sure that you put the date in your diary now if you want to come, because I know the tickets last year went quite quickly and it was sold out beforehand.
I will provide more details as soon as I can.
I DIDN'T SEE YOU THERE!
When you are a wheelchair-user like me, you are usually sitting down and so are then roughly half the height of somebody who is standing up (unless you are a child, who is usually still on my eye level).
People therefore often fail to see me until the very last minute, because I am below their field of vision. This often ends up in quite a few near misses, either when they are walking towards me, or even when I am crossing the road.
I can’t tell you the number of times that I have been nearly hit by cars, even when I am using a zebra crossing. It is usually the same thing, either one car stops for me to let me go, but other cars behind them or coming the other way just keep going, or cars drive over my path when I am crossing, because they just don't see me.
We often only avoid a collision because I stop or take evasive action as quickly as possible, or they slam on their brakes when they see me, sometimes screeching to a halt just inches away from me - it is really terrifying.
Yet on some occasions, people in cars who have just narrowly missed hitting me, just carry on driving without a care in the world, not realising that they have only very narrowly avoided what could have been a fatal accident for me, which they would be held totally responsible for and could mean them being convicted of manslaughter by dangerous driving and being imprisoned.
It really doesn’t bear thinking about, as so many lives (including those of our respective families) could end up being changed so dramatically in a fraction of a second.
But probably the best example I can give you is the one which happens to me nearly everyday, where I am quietly travelling on the pavement and approaching people coming the other way, who are so engrossed in looking down at their phones, that they do not see me coming towards them.
I also cannot tell you the number of times that I've had near misses with people like this, with them not seeing me in front of them. I have to be so careful not to collide with them, but they still almost crash into me even when I have slowed down considerably and am sometimes even stationary, when they suddenly look up a bit startled and find me sitting there just in front of them.
I suppose you could say that they are just in their own little world!
With good wishes
P.S. I always find it helpful to find out what people think about my updates, so please take a few seconds to tell me what you think by going to 'Autumn Term 2019-20 'SEN Update – Your Thoughts’.
There are just 3 quick questions.