Its Special Needs not Special Wants….

I often get asked what I want for my children with, especially those with autism, but never what I need for them.

The difference between a want and a need often get confused. Even by those in a position to provide a solution to satisfy both.

For instance I want my children to be happy. I need them to be supported to achieve this.

I want my children to be able to function in society; they need to be taught how to do this by the right professionals. Obviously my wife and I endeavor to do this to the best of our ability too, but for the children with ASD it is more difficult.

There are a lot of wants for any parent. I want my children to live a happy, successful, meaningful life, Regardless of their predispositions. I don’t care if my children are straight, gay, or transgender. I don’t care who they love. Whoever they are I will support them. I will help them in whatever endeavors they choose. And because I didn’t bare them in my body, I will make sure they always know that they were wanted.

What I NEED for my children is for you to listen!

I need my children to receive a good education – now I don’t mean private schools; I just mean an education, which allows them to get on in life.

I need my children to have the right medical care when they are sick.

I need my children to be supported by those around them.

I need my children to have the right to love who they choose, and be who they choose.

I need my children to not be judged.

I need people to stop trying to impart parenting tips when my son is having a meltdown in the street.

I need my children to acknowledge danger and stay safe.

I need my children to make sensible calculated decisions.

But what I want for my children is completely different to this.

When a professional asks you what you want for your children your response is usually that you want what is best for your child. This is such a broad term. What’s best for them on that specific day may not be what is best for them in a week, a month or a year.

During a meeting this week I was asked twice what I wanted for Finn. I answered, as I have above. I want him to be supported. He needs the correct support in place.


It shouldn’t be down to what I want for him, but what the professionals have stated that he NEEDS!

I know that teachers aren’t given anywhere near enough training on how to deal with SEN children, and all additional training on the matter is down to their own choice. I also know there are more children being diagnosed with complex behavioral difficulties, and an increase in the visibility of ASD has resulted in the number of children with ASD being diagnosed at a much younger age.

 It concerns me that a lot of these children’s needs aren’t being met because of the various cuts in staffing within schools. And how difficult it has becomes to get children an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan – The new statement). Even getting the local authority to assess a child’s special needs is difficult. If a local authority thinks a child’s needs are being met then they can refuse to assess. A lot of these children, especially those trying to cope unaided in a mainstream setting are not having their needs met or their parents wants fulfilled.

Also, Communications between SEN parents and schools could be better from my experience. For a lot of parents, they have never experienced a SEN process and I think sometimes schools forget that.

Parents don’t know about IEP’s, and provision mapping. They don’t know what interventions are available, or what SMART targets are.

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