Going to school was such a daunting experience for eight-year-old Morgan. Being suspected of having autism and on the pathway to diagnosis, she wasn’t getting the support she needed. Thankfully you were there for Morgan and her mum Melanie, at this especially challenging time.
The most distressing part of the day
Do you remember how you felt when you heard the school bell ring at the end of the day? For many children, it’s the best sound in the world – the sound of freedom. But not Morgan. For her, home time can be the most distressing part of the day. Classmates rushing to the cloakroom, shrieking and scrambling for their coats and bags – the chaos of school made Morgan feel extremely anxious. She’s on the autism spectrum, and as her mum Melanie explains, “there are things happening to her in her mind that are different from everyone else’s mind.”
Isolated and ignored
School was an overwhelming, disorientating place for Morgan. She found herself getting left out. Despite being incredibly bright, she fell behind academically – because the classroom was too chaotic and stressful for her to concentrate. Morgan’s needs were being ignored by the school. When Melanie raised concerns, she was ignored too. “The school was pushing me away,” Melanie says. “No one listened to me. I felt helpless but also angry – that my daughter wasn’t getting the start in life that every child deserves.”
You were ‘like a godsend’
Your support came at just the right time for the family. “I was completely distraught at what Morgan was going through at school,” says Melanie. “It must have been unbearable for her. Then I found out about Navigate.”
Navigate is one of the many services that wouldn’t exist without your gifts. It matches up parents of disabled children with advisors, who have their own experience of disability. “It felt like a godsend,” Melanie says. “Finally, I had someone who would listen to me – my advisor Emma.”
Getting the very best for Morgan
You made a difference straightaway. “The first time I spoke to Emma we formed a bond,” explains Melanie. “I could tell that she had been in my position, she was so knowledgeable and understanding. She gave me a safe space, where I could just talk and not be judged.”
As you can tell from the name, Navigate is all about enabling families to move forward. In one of their weekly catch-ups, Emma helped Melanie prepare for a meeting with the school, so she could go in and make sure that Morgan finally got the support she needed to thrive. “Before, trying to access the right resources for Morgan was like a minefield,” says Melanie. “But Emma helped me find a way through. Now it feels like the school is on our side. At last, Morgan has the chance to fulfil her amazing potential.”
You’re making the future brighter
Thanks to you, Melanie’s outlook is also much more positive. “Having Emma as an advisor really boosted my wellbeing and confidence,” she says. “I feel much more relaxed now. I can just focus on putting everything in place for Morgan to flourish.”
Your support means everything to Melanie and Morgan – and to all the families who reach out to Navigate, feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Thank you so much for being there, when they need you the most.
The right person for families like Melanie’s
Emma, Melanie’s advisor at Navigate, explains what it was like supporting Melanie and the difference she saw:
"I was Melanie's sounding board, offering her safe space to talk and plan a way forward. It gave her the confidence to speak to professionals about support for Morgan, and reminded her she’s a great mum!
One thing I suggested was for Melanie to use a ‘star chart’ to pick the particular areas of her life where she needed support. She picked out ‘her emotional wellbeing’ and ‘her child’s education’ and through our conversations, both improved so much. It was a pleasure to work together, and your gifts make my work possible. Without you, life would be much harder for families.”