YES! My Belles......Hooray.
One of my fave pics from 2006
A 2008 pouty shot!
She will have just spent a little over a week at her nanna's caravan in North Wales where I'm sure she will have grown an inch and come back with new confidence. Seriously, I notice these things after a week. Luckily she has been spending the time with her two cousins, just about the only kid company she gets these days. However, things are a-changing! An action groups called Aiming High have been out to assess Belles and have awarded her 6 sessions of "no family" time with two volunteers who will take her out and allow her to do stuff without Me or Mark or the Grandparents. This is a unique experience for Ellie and one that I am dying to see how she "copes" with. I could literally cry with glee about the prospect. So this Friday will be her first experience as she goes out for dinner with two girls (I think they are in their early 20's) and whom have been CRB'd and all sorts through Wigan and Leigh's childcare services.
Ellie enters her last year of school this September and I am filled with hope (and equal amounts of dread) about how her future will pan out. She has no clear indication of what she would like to do when she leaves school, mainly because of the bubble she is "encased in" within the school environment. She doesn't get to mix with her mainstream peer group (and by that, I mean children who don't have special or extra needs) and share the experiences of gossip and chatter about how life is. Of course, Mark and I encourage her all we can about "life" but its just not the same. For instance, just before the school holidays we got a call from the Connexions team (the careers advisors). They wanted to explain that they had asked Belles what she wanted to do when she left school and Belles being Belles just said "I don't know". So the Connexions team asked ME what I wanted her to do? Well I almost blew a gasket. Why would I know what I wanted Belles to do, it's not my job. I'm not an advisor but obviously they are. I mean, I have an idea what she wants to do but I'm not steering her to fulfil my wishes. I'm sure that's what she goes to school for - to be educated, you know?!! The conversation did not bode well at all. I am not driving Belles to be what I want her to be. I was hoping the school might set a course or plan for her; I certainly knew at 15 what I wanted to do and I actually went and did it! So this is how it is with kids like Ellie. Systems shirking responsibility at every opportunity and barely meeting us half way. I could literally cry.
I really don't want you to read that as that we don't care because that is certainly not what it is. Its awfully heartbreaking when there isn't a system built for kids like Belles. And yet the Connexions team, with all their knowledge and contacts I feel that they are the right people to guide Ellie. Plus the whole "Non Diagnosis" really doesn't help unlock the doors to all those path ways and roads that are available to kids who have a diagnosis. Its incredibly frustrating and it chokes me all the time. I feel like I'm scratting around in the dark with people prodding me and laughing at me and refusing to help. It truly is a very lonely place to be as a mother right now. Although, to be fair, Ellie is non the wiser about it. She skips along at her own merry pace under the false security of the bubble at school but when it pops next July and she has to move on from it - who will blow her the next bubble? Gosh, I hope you are following me on this one.....I'm trying my best to keep it together, here.
After a sketchy converstaion with the Connexions team, I went to visit a special needs college nearby but it was incredibly heartbreaking. There were some severely mentally disabled children there and it broke my heart. Ellie is not severely mentally disabled but she is not physically abled either - she kind of falls into this grey area that isn't "text book". I really wish I could campaign for kids like Belles who are neither mainstream or severely disabled but I'm so drained from campaigning as an individual now - would I have the strength to carry it out? So the college for severely disabled children is NOT an option because its not fair on her. In truth she would come on leaps and bounds due to the small classes and the structure of the program however, placing her in a room with kids who are at the opposite mental spectrum as Belles is highly unfair. I wish someone in authority would put Ellie in the right box, as it were, so then Id be able to deliver it (her) to the right place... you know?
So the next option is to look at a few mainstream colleges but yet we hit another stumbling block. Ellie is not independent enough to catch a bus to college on her own and nor is there funding to have her collected from home. I was hoping to take on some extra work away from home after devoting 15 years caring but I'm not able to as I would have to driver her to and from college. Not that its a hardship (DEFINITELY not a hardship) but again, because of this grey area that isn't "text book in college legislation", its very difficult for her to manage on her own and again "Momma will be there" - restrictions she could well do without.
I wonder if any of you readers (who are special Momma's) can give me any advice on any services that might be able to assess Ellie or should I just keep chipping away at the current system until someone hears my desperate pleas? I really do not not know what to do next because all authorities simply shrug their shoulders and slope off the subject because even they don't know. I desperately want to have us all go through a 3Di test, that's for sure.....any indication on how we go about that, momma's?
Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, I'm not ending on a low note. Instead I'm going to share a card that I made, using a manilla envelope and some scraps I found whilst clearing this dump of a craft room up ;)
Diamonds are one of my fave shapes to work with so this cheers me up no end. A splash of colour, a doiley and ink......a perfick escape from the humdrum of a complicated life :)