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My adoption story…

Beginnings…

I was a baby when I was adopted. I was fostered to start with, but when I was 6 months old, I was adopted. I was a happy child and was given all the things a normal child would have been given in life. I enjoyed going to church and nursery and I felt happy in myself. I was diagnosed with autism at a young age, so from that I have always felt I was a bit different and I found it difficult to form friendships.

When I was 8 my birth mum died, and that led to my mum telling me I was adopted.  At the time I did not understand, it did not make much sense to me, and I thought my mum and dad were my real parents.

Secondary school

When I got a bit older and went to secondary school, I began to realise that I came from another family. This started to impact on my mental health, and I used to imagine I was living with my mum again. I did not behave very well in school and I used to cry a lot as I did not understand why I was adopted.  It caused a lot of negative feelings such as confusion, anger, upset, and anxiety. It also gave me a lot of stress, and this was on top of the other issues I was experiencing through my autism. I felt so alone and thought that I was the only member of my family to be given away.

My anxiety got bad and eventually I was given a social worker who I went to for meetings to discuss what had caused me to be adopted. They told me my mum had found it very hard to look after my sister and brother and when I came along, she could not manage.

I started to look up to see if I could find my birth mum and dad and brother and sister. I found out that my dad only stayed around for a short time, and my brother and sisters’ father was not very nice to them, so they were also adopted out but together. I had the option to see them however I chose not to see them as it caused a lot of stress to me. 

Social services

Unfortunately, social services did not hold lots of information about my family, but what they had went into a life story which they started to do with me. Because of COVID, it took a bit of time.

The social worker eventually came to my house and gave me my life story so I could take time to look at it and understand. However, I still have not managed to start, as I have mixed feelings on how it is going to make me feel.

“..it does get better.”

I was told my situation when I was very young and had a lack of understanding, and I thought the childhood trauma would destroy me. It did cause me a lot of anxiety trying to figure it out but as time has gone on, I have got stronger and able to cope more with things that are thrown my way. I have begun to feel better about myself and wanted to share with other people it does get better.

Families are not always about blood, its about the care and time they take to make you feel good about yourself. I am really happy I was adopted out to the family I have,  I feel more special and loved, and glad they chose me.

 I would, however, love to meet up with my brother and sister who are several years older than me and this is something I would like to happen.

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Additional Needs and Disabilities Education Mental Health Uncategorized

Learners’ Single Point of Access (L-SPA)

What is the L-SPA?

The Learners’ Single Point of Access (L-SPA) offers help and support to children and young people within Surrey who have a problem, concern or needs about their development or progress. L-SPA offers help to anyone to the age of 25.

What the L-SPA does

L-SPA assures they will give children and young people the right support or intervention at the right time so they can help you meet your learning developmental milestones. The L-SPA provides you access to information and advice from a team of professionals from education, health and social care; aiming to answer your call within 20 seconds. The L-SPA will not replace any existing referrals to services for children. If you have existing support or help from another service, the L-SPA will support and help alongside.

How to access the L-SPA

The L-SPA is a phone service that runs from 9am to 5am, Monday to Sunday all year round except on bank holidays. You can call the L-SPA on 0300 200 1015. Alternatively, you can go to their website and fill out a form as a parent, practitioner or as a child or young person. If you are not accessing any learning services other then L-SPA, the L-SPA can help you to get support from another service.

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Additional Needs and Disabilities Autism Dyslexia Dyspraxia Education Learning Difficulties Mental Health SEND Uncategorized

Additional Needs and Disabilities support at Colleges in Surrey

Introduction

ATLAS recently raised the below Action Card:

As young people with additional needs and disabilities, we would like more information on what study support is available in Surrey for all young people with additional needs and disabilities, so that we know what options are available to us when we make decisions about our education.

Support available

Following from your Action Card, we asked the Preparing For Adulthood Team at Surrey County Council what support colleges in Surrey offer. This is what we found out!

Nescot College

Nescot College offers a wide range of expert support, from specialised help with student finance to mentoring and professional counselling for personal, social or family problems.

All the services are free and available to anyone. To get this support you will be assessed at college after talking to your tutor.

When you join Nescot you can visit their website to apply for the support that applies to you. Or you can talk to your tutor or staff at Nescot and ask how to apply, or if they can help you apply.

For more information, visit their student services webpages:

https://nescot.ac.uk/about-nescot/student-services/send-information.html

Brooklands College

Brooklands College offers help from staff such as, progression mentor, your tutor, the counsellor, a member of the safeguarding team. They can also give you ways to help yourself or they can signpost you to services that can offer help and support. When you join the Brooklands college you can visit their website and see how to apply for the support that applies for you. Or you can talk to you tutor or staff at Brooklands and ask how to apply or if they can help you apply.

For more information, check on Brookland’s webpages on student support:

East Surrey College

East Surrey College offers additional support that’s offered to students who have a learning difficulty or disability. If you have a statement of additional needs, a learning difficulty assessment or an EHCP, you will need to provide any of these to get support from the college. The college provide access to assistive technology for exams, dyslexia and dyscalculia and will provide or recommend strategies to enable you to make independent progress in learning. The college has specialist staff to support those with hearing or visual impairments, as well as speech and language needs. Students needing more support will often be allocated a specific Learning Support Assistant to work with them ensuring consistency throughout the college day. There is also an Autistic Spectrum Support Group every 2 weeks, where students can socialise and try out new activities.

For more information, check on East Surrey colleges webpages on support for students:

https://www.esc.ac.uk/support-for-students

Farnborough College of Technology

Farnborough College has dedicated additional learning support such as, learning support workers, specialist tutors and key workers. Staff at the college work to create a range of support programmes for specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia. The support offer can provide 1-1 support, study and assignment workshops, exam access arrangements and assistive technology and equipment support. The college also helps with language and communication needs, whether its producing speech, understanding and using language or having specific communication difficulties.

For more information, check on Farnborough’s webpages on additional learning support:

SEND Local Offer

The SEND local offer aims to bring together useful information between education, health and social care within their website. You can find information, advice, guidance and a range of local service’s who provide children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

For more information, check on SEND Local Offer webpages on the support they offer:

https://www.surreylocaloffer.org.uk/kb5/surrey/localoffer/home.page

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Positive News

As we near the weekend, we would like to share with you some positive news stories we heard in March 2020! Make sure to check them out!

We would love to hear your positive news, get in touch!

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World Autism Awareness Week!

We are so proud and privileged to be able to share Emma’s experience with ASD! Emma’s experience highlights Girls with Autism and Wishes for the Future – please take a moment to read and share!

Thank-you Emma!

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Isolation Tips!

Self-isolating can be really difficult so Georgia in the User Voice and Participation Team has created a guide to self-isolating, including fun activities you can be doing at home! Make sure you check them out!

If you do any of the activities we’d love to hear from you and see what you’ve created!