When I look back on my time at Primary school even though I got bullied they were happy times. Primary school was also the time in which my family and I found out that I was disabled and had cerebral palsy right hemiplegia and learning difficulties so this time was also very confusing too. I have done all my education in the mainstream learning environment
1. Having SEN Reviews
An SEN review is a “special educational needs” meetings discussing a child’s progress throughout school. I remember at primary school finding it confusing as I didn’t get why their was a meeting with my teachers and parents all about me. I also found it awkward I still do. I just find it strange how a meeting is just all about you. At primary school I was definitely less bothered about having a disability. When I went into secondary school I started to understand more what having a disability meant and how I could find things challenging compared to my peers. I was also getting more heavily bullied at secondary school due to being disabled amongst other things so I was more aware about what made me different to everyone else. At primary school I was more confident in telling class mates where I had gone for a meeting or physio however when I was at secondary school I tried to keep as much as I could to myself as my peers made fun of me.
For me personally I don’t like the term “special needs” because to me everyone is special in their own ways. When really what has happened is something is being adapted something in order for someone to do the same thing as everyone else. In reviews we discuss all different topics for example we’d discuss my adaptations and support I needed in class to help me keep up and be like everyone else.
2. Having Adapted Equipment
In primary school I was given equipment to help me in class. I remember finding underlining my writing really hard or just using a ruler in general. I could never keep it still. So to help me with using a ruler the occupational therapist got me to use a crocodile ruler instead. This ruler helped as I had a handle to hold helping me to grip the ruler into place without it doing a dance around the page making my work have wonky lines all over it.
My hands would get tired and I found it hard to use pens and pencils. So the occupational therapist and I did work together with how to hold a pencil to help me write. I was then given pencil grips this helped me to have more control of my writing when trying to form the letters.
I also had a slopping board to help me with writing as it helped me to keep good posture and when I used to write I couldn’t write in a straight line all my sentences would slop of the page.
In primary school I was also given a foot block. A foot block is quite simply a block that you put under your feet when sitting. I had one of these to help me have the correct posture at the table and my feet didn’t actually touch the ground so without the block my feet would be lifted in mid air.
3. Sitting At The Front In Class
In primary and secondary school I would sit at the front or near the front in every single one of my lessons. This was for a number of different reasons:
- So I could see the board better
- So the teacher could keep an eye on me as I was the slowest at copying from the board so they would normally check that I had the right stuff written down
- So I could concentrate more and not get so distracted
- I also sat at the front so my LSA could sit next to me so that they could help me when needed.
4. Occupational Therapy, Physio Therapy & Conductive Education
At Primary School when I was in year 2 I started Conductive education. I would do afternoon sessions and after school sessions too. We would work on stretches, balance and writing to name a few. We also had lunch club where we would learn how to use a knife and fork to help with my posture I put my elbows on the table to help me sit up. We even went swimming and did some baking.
At Primary and Secondary school I did both occupational Therapy also known as OT and Physio Therapy. I would work on improving my writing and creating the shape of each letter and not going off the page. I did stretches and core exercises as well as learning how to read the time and do dressing tasks.
5. PE Lessons
At Primary School I did do PE lessons however I was put into a different group. Everyone in the group had a disability. Before doing an physical activities we would go through our starches with an LSA, we would then maybe play a bit of tennis which I was really bad at, I still am.
Then for some reason I remember during PE lessons we stopped doing PE and started to clean at the classrooms fish tank each week.
They are just a few things I can remember now. I’ll probably think of lots more later so don’t be surprised if you see a part 2!
After months of doing studying online due to Lockdown. The thought of returning to education which isn’t on a screen may feel a little daunting. Here are some of my top tips on how to make this transitioning a little bit smoother .
A New Routine
Many students all over the country will have to start doing COVID tests in school and colleges. As someone with anxiety I know that timetable changes to my day can set me off to feel extremely anxious and I may have panic attacks. To help you overcome this you could maybe write out your time table in a more visual way using lots of different colours and pictures. Or you could have a little notebook full of little affirmations you can look at whilst your waiting to do your test. Many schools and colleges have created videos to show students what the new process will be like. If they haven’t shown you don’t be afraid to ask your teacher as they may have other resources available for you to you which you might find useful.
This next tip might seem a bit silly but when you get up ready for the day make sure you have breakfast this could be some toast, a fruit smoothie or some cereal. If your stuck on what to have I recommend looking at Pinterest they have some really yummy, healthy, breakfast ideas to help kick start your day.
Did you know:
1. Eating breakfast can help you with your memory for the day and your attention span will be a lot better compared to days we’re you don’t have breakfast
2. Eating breakfast can help you have a more positive outlook on your day.
3. People who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to become obese. Their is still a lot of research going into why this may be. One idea is that eating breakfast helps to prevent large fluctuations in your blood glucose levels, helping you control your appetite.
Things To Have In Your Bag
Recently I was talking to one of my friends about returning to education and how they felt about it. They were feeling very worried and scared because their OCD has worsened through the pandemic and they are becoming more and more scared to touch anything or go out.
To help with returning to education they suggested always make sure you have a little bottle of hand sanitiser with you. As well as this they also have stress balls and fidget spinners with them to help them to control intrusive thoughts.
Another tip I have that may seem obvious is talk to someone. You never know you could be helping them too. They might feel the same and it’s nice to feel your not alone. You could speak to a family member, friend, teacher anymore who makes you feel safe.
Be Kind To Yourself
My final tip is remember to be kind to yourself. The transitioning from working from home on our screens to being back having to get ready to the day ahead , catching the bus so your not late for school. Our whole routine is changing. Make sure you do little things just for yourself and give yourself the attention you give to others. This could be watching your favourite TV show, reading a book, having a nice bubble bath. Give yourself breaks enjoy the outside. You could sit in the garden or go on a short walk with your dog. Ground yourself be in the moment. It doesn’t matter what you’re meant to do or shouldn’t have done. Just enjoy the here and now nothing else matters.
I hope some of this helped and I wish you all the very best of luck with going back to school. Sending all positive vibes. If you need any more support I have listed a couple of websites that you may find helpful.
Youn Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk
It’s that time of year again. September has arrived which only means one thing it’s the new academic year. You might be going into a new year at school or starting college or even going to university.
Even though I am 22 now I am starting my Level 3 Course in Performing Arts this year at college. Through the years of being in education I have developed my own top tips on how I like to get ready for the new academic year and I thought what better way to share them with you by writing a blog post all about it.
Cleaning out the junk and starting fresh
1. So my first tip is to have a clean out of any old work you may still have but don’t actually need. You may have a desk you use to work and the draw is just filled with rubbish. When sorting out my draw I like to create piles of things I need to keep, things I want to keep and things I can throw out. For example you may have a maths book you’ve finished but you want to keep it because it maybe handy for maths revision if you are doing maths again. Where as you don’t need to keep pens that don’t work anymore.
2. Next I like to go onto my laptop and get rid of anything I don’t need anymore related to my education. For example you may have folders you have created and your not doing that topic anymore and you won’t find those notes useful so it can go. Helping you to clear your mind and organise yourself for work that is now the new important.
3. Another thing I like to do is change my computer background at the start of every academic year. I enjoy going onto Pinterest and finding quotes that speak to me and will help me to stay motivated. Sometimes I’ll just have one quote and other times I like to make a collage of quotes for me to see.
4. To help me get to my most important and most used websites I use for college work I create bookmarks. I then like to go through my bookmarks to see if I need to add any new ones and also to get rid of ones I don’t need to make my web searching more efficient.
5.Lastly I like to go through my college email and get rid of all my emails from the following year so that I can start a fresh.
New Year Equals Haul Time
I don’t know about you but one of the things I love about a new academic year is getting a new bag and stationary.
1. I like to go through my pencil case and chuck out any pens and pencils that don’t work anymore. This helps me a lot later when I am working and taking notes quickly in class as I know all the pens in my pencil case work.
2. I really enjoy writing in different coloured pens and colour coding my work as well as making it nice to look at when reading. If you like doing this to I recommend getting yourself a pack of gel pens. You can buy gel pens for cheap prices at shops such as The Works and on Amazon.
3. If you are struggling to find a new bag that is still really cute and pretty but not to expensive I recommend buying a bag from Primark. I used to love going to Primark to find a new school bag. If you want to spend a bit more on a bag I highly recommend checking out TK Maxx.
4. If I’m in need of a new notebook that is really cute I love to checkout notebooks from Paperchase.
Goals, Goals, Goals
Like at the beginning of the new year we like making new year resolutions. I like to create my own education goals at the beginning of every academic year. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are. I just like doing them to help me see later on in the year how far I have come.
For example your goals could be:
1. To try a new dish you can buy from the cafeteria
2. To sit next to someone in your class you don’t know/ don’t know very well
3. To organise myself more so that I am not so late to class
4. To make sure I hand in my work on the given deadline
5. Set an alarm on my phone for when I need to get up so I’m not rushing and stressing about missing the bus
Create A New Routine
So with everything that’s been going on recently our daily routines have changed massively. To help me create and get into my new routine here are some things I do that you might feel helpful
1. I like to get myself a big whiteboard and section it into seven days. I then like to write the day of the week at the top. With the place and time I need to be somewhere. I like having this whiteboard on my bedroom wall because when I wake up I can clearly see what I’ve got planned for the day.
2. I also like to get myself a new diary that I can carry in with me in my bag. I find this useful as I can write down when things like assessments need to be done by, or when a trip is or if I need to come in an extra day for rehearsals. I also like to colour code my notes so that it is easy to understand if I am running late.
3. Before I leave the house every morning it is really important that I am awake and energised for the day ahead as I am an Performing Arts Student. This means I need to have breakfast before I leave. I will be doing a quick breakfast idea blog post soon.
4. It’s really important that you create some down time for yourself. Self care is just as important as doing coursework or revising for a test. You could watch some TV when you get back home or maybe you want to tryout a face mask you brought from Boots. You could go on a short walk to help your head from spinning with all the stuff you’ve had to do that day.
I will be doing a self care ideas blog post soon. So make sure you are following me so that you don’t miss it.
I hope some of these ideas helped you. Please let me know what other things you do to help get yourself ready for the new academic year.
It’s that time again after the summer break we’re we are buying new equipment and stationery ready for our new year of school, Sixth Form, College or maybe even University. I don’t know about you but living with anxiety can be hard to cope with when new chapters are starting. So I thought I would share with you some of my tips with coping with the new academic year when you’re feeling anxious.
If you are doing higher education at college or university chances are you probably had to go and have an interview with a tutor who teaches on the course you want to do to see if you have got a place on your wanted course. When you get an offer this can be very exciting however the day before you start you might have those ever so helpful doubting thoughts wizzing around your head like crazy. To help me to deal with these unhelpful thoughts I like to write down statements of what I am looking forward to doing or learning on the course for example going on trips or having guest speakers come in. By doing this it helps me to focus on the positives, you might want to write them on your phone or write them down in a notebook that you keep beside your bed or maybe on post it notes and put them around your house.
I would also go into your school, college or university before you start to talk about your concerns for example about your anxiety. I have found that if they know before hand they can support you in making sure you are alright and feel comfortable. I also found this useful as I was told about different departments that I could go to if I felt I wanted to go somewhere more quite or to get additional support for example I could talk to a student development officer.
When you start to pack your school bag make sure you’ve got all that you need. But to help with my anxiety I also like to add to my bag things like a stress ball or maybe even an emergency paper bag that I can use if I feel a panic attack coming on. I do this because it helps me to feel more prepared if something was to happened.
On The Day
When you arrive at your school, college or university for the first day it can sometimes hit you when you reach the entrance. This can make me feel very uncomfortable and worried. I think everyone is looking at me and talking about me. To help me with this I like to pick a letter at random and then try and find as many things as I can beginning with that letter.
My last tip would be don’t put pressure on yourself to talk to everyone or to get to know other students. What I like to do because I find it hard to talk to lots of people is give myself a target of talking to one of the other students and if I talk to more that’s great . I feel that if I put too much pressure on myself then my anxiety gets worse. So go at your own pace theirs no right or wrong answer.
I hope some of these will help you too, I would love to know some of your top tips!
The night before results day I still remember like it was yesterday. My thoughts in my head racing around at a hundred miles an hour.
Did I put my name on the paper? Did I do the right level paper? Did I answer the right questions? Did I read the questions correctly? What if I don’t get the grades?
With all these thoughts and emotions running wild whilst I was lying in my bed. My heart began to race and I knew I was going into a panic attack. So I tried to do my visualisation techniques I had learnt in therapy.
Throughout my time at school I had never been one of the high achieving students in my year. I found writing hard not only because I found spelling tricky but also making sure my writing was going in a straight line. I did a lot of practicing with writing in my OT sessions. It took me longer to write things down than my peers. I found maths extremely difficult I saw it in a way that not many other people did, I found it so confusing.
Looking back now doing all that revision, opening the first pages of that exam paper, then thinking after the exam if I would pass or not and just hoping I would. This time in my life was so stressful I was with CAMHS and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression let alone the fact I was getting bullied at school the minute got in through the school gates.
That night lying awake in my bed just wanting to know my grades the following day. Counting down the time when I would go to school for the last time pick up an envelope and see these grades staring back at me. I believed that my results had the power to not only change my whole life but dictate it too!
However my family and close friends reminded me that I was more than just some letters on a piece of paper. All those things exams don’t test like the fact I want to help others or that my strengths were outside the school grounds like horse riding. My mum said to me we don’t just need doctors or lawyers everyone has a special skill they can offer to the world however big or small they may seem.
I know it’s terrifying and scary and you may feel like these grades will plan out your whole life. Doing all those practice tests then having to mark them to see if you would have passed an old exam paper. Your grades do not own you and do not have the power to stop you being who you are!
You’re going to be OK . Follow your heart and follow your dreams show the world who you really are because we are all worth more than some letters and numbers on a piece of paper and all have special skills to offer the world!
You’re going to be OK!
For many years during my time at primary and secondary school I was bullied by lots of different groups of people. The bullying however got a lot worse when I entered second school. At secondary school it didn’t even start on the first day but on my induction day. I was so upset and scared I didn’t want to go to that school in September, I remember coming home in floods of tears just crying on the sofa.
For a while in my first couple of years at secondary school I thought the people in the group I hangout out with were my friends. Turned out I was only in their group so they could pick on me. To begin with I didn’t see it as bullying I just wanted to fit in but then it got a lot worse. They would bully me for many reasons for example being disabled, not wearing fashionable clothes and having curly hair they would throw drinks at me and in my hair at break and at at lunch.
The bullying started to escalate with older and young years bullying me too hitting and punching me. Other people in my year would laugh at me during class I got told several times to kill myself.
The bullying I was experiencing made me feel very sducidal I just wanted the pain to stop. When I tried to tell teachers what was going on they would dismiss it telling me to except it or to feel sorry for the people bullying me.
Over time I started to retreat into myself not wanting to be with anyone or socialise I spent a lot of time in my room as I felt safe in my bedroom when I went out I thought everyone was looking, talking and laughing at me.
I found it extremely difficult to express how I was feeling and what was going on to my parents. And that’s when I found out that when I listened to my music the lyrics would just speak to me and I felt that I wasn’t alone in how I felt. I found that music could express how I was feeling to the outside world as I found it super difficult to try and express my thoughts and feelings to the outside world. I found that music also helped me to keep going as a lot of the time when I came back from school I would be crying sometimes I cried myself to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up.
I liked listening to music as it helped me to try and make sense of all the thoughts in my head that would race around in my head at 100 miles an hour. I found it extremely difficult and confusing to try and think why people treated me the way I did for along time at school. Because I had been bullied for a long time before I started secondary school I thought of it as a new start so when I was getting bullied more and more at secondary school I started to think their was something wrong with me. And that I deserved to be treated the way I did because I started to believe I was a bad person and that everyone’s lives would be better if I wasn’t here.
Listening to music helped me a lot in not feeling alone and that maybe others felt similar to me as lots of people made me feel like I was a freak. I also found that music helped me to face the upcoming days going to school as sometimes a certain lyric made me feel empowered and that maybe I could get through the day a little bit better.
I remember at the time my favourite band JLS helped me massively, I felt I could relate to them as I found out that one of them had experienced bullying and another member of the group was a young career helping to look after his mum during his childhood. As my sister was a young career for me.
I still love listening to music now but throughout my difficult time at school music played a big part in trying to just get through one day at a time feeling that others interpreted the songs lyrics in a similar way to me! The bullying still affects me to this day as I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the bullying that happened to me.
When I am at college I sometimes find expressing my emotions to others very challenging. As I can feel threatened in this environment due to my past experiences at school with being bullied. The bullying affected me so much doctors diagnosed me with PTSD. To help me process and communicate with others I sometimes use communication aids to help me express myself in ways I feel safe and comfortable to do so.
To help me communicate with others I have done Lego Therapy with my support staff but also in small groups with other students. Lego Therapy is all about trying to identify your emotions by putting a colour to it. For example my happy colour is yellow and my safe colour is green. I use Lego because sometimes I might be feeling more than one emotion so we stack the Lego bricks onto each other.
Lego helps me because in the past whilst doing this with other students I have had to do our whole week in colour. By seeing my week visually using Lego has helped me to understand that my emotions can be mixed and that is ok. Doing this has helped me to identify why I might be feeling upset and other emotions during the week. Talking it through with colours makes me feel more relaxed in sharing how I maybe feeling to others. By dong group sessions it has helped me to understand that I am not “silly” for feeling some emotions as others can feel similar emotions to me in some situations.
By using colour I have been able to cope better with my feelings and thoughts rushing around in my head at 100 miles an hour. Sometimes when this happens I don’t know what’s going on.However if I can find a colour that best describes how I am feeling this can help to slow down my thought process into a more manageable way and it becomes less scary and less overwhelming for me.
I use this to also help me to tell others how the voices I live with are making me feel. I have coloured circles attached to my bag which I take with me all the time. Each circle is a different colour with the emotion it makes me feel on it too. So if I am out and about and feel I can’t tell someone how I am I can show them the coloured circle I am feeling. By having the circles with me makes it more discreet when out and about as I don’t need to get Lego out.
I find using this resource also really useful after I have had a seizure as I can find it very hard to communicate with others because I find it hard to speak or I am hard for others to understand.
I am now able to use this if I need to when I’m out and about with support workers, my family and friends. Using Lego has helped me a lot in understanding emotions and that it is ok to have mixed emotions!