Lockdown sees special needs family group started

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Rebecca and Robert ScottImage source, Rebecca Scott
Image caption,
Rebecca Scott said one of the benefits was "getting to spend more time together" with her son Robert

More than 200 families of children with special needs have joined a Facebook group to help them through the coronavirus lockdown.

Rebecca Scott, from Bristol, who has a son with autism, created the group for parents, teachers and carers to help one another with home learning.

She set up Learning Knows No Bounds to "share anything useful".

Children with an education, health and care plan are entitled to attend school under government coronavirus measures.

Ms Scott said her son Robert, 15, was initially very unsettled when his routine changed but was "beginning to settle into his new routines since the lockdown".

She said: "Due to my son's anxieties in social situations the online alternative, now provided, really suits his learning styles and I hope that some of these alternative provisions remain a permanent option.

"It has made us realise that although society dictates silently how we do things, there are different ways of achieving the same things that are more suited to some of us.

"This crisis has given us the opportunity to embrace a better and more healthy way of doing these things."

Image source, Holly Taylor
Image caption,
Holly Taylor is looking after her two children at home as her husband is an NHS worker and continuing to work

Holly Taylor said it was different for her family.

"It sounds a bit dramatic but it feels like the carpet has been pulled from under our feet," she said.

She has a 10-year-old daughter with dyslexic traits and Irlens Syndrome, and a four-year-old son who is currently being assessed for autistic spectrum disorder.

Ms Taylor said her son "relied heavily on routine" and was having "more meltdowns" amid a series of sudden and rapid changes.

"He's loud, he almost shouts instead of talks, so we're worried about tension in case it disturbs the neighbours.

"As a parent of neuro-diverse children, it's harder than we give ourselves credit for and I often forget this when times are particularly challenging.

"I also need to think about my own mental health, being stuck in the house."

Image source, Kerry Bailes
Image caption,
Kerry Bailes has taken time off work during the lockdown to look after her son at home

Kerry Bailes said she thought home learning could benefit SEN children as "school is a place of uncertainty".

She has a grown-up daughter and a seven-year-old son with additional needs.

Ms Bailes said she has taken time off work during the crisis to be able to look after her son and is also concerned about the health of her own father who has underlying health issues.

She said: "We are trying to keep my son busy at the moment and only go out if necessary.

"My son's education, health and care plan isn't finalised yet, so no idea what's going to happen to him education-wise, the school are sending him a home learning pack.

"He loves learning and has come so far with his tutors from Bristol Tuition and now it's unlikely that his education will continue."

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