Case Study: Emma's Story
Moor House parent Veronica gives an account of what led her daughter Emma to the school and the difference it has made to her life.
“Emma was getting nothing from school but anxiety”, says her mother Veronica, when she reflects on her early struggles at school.
At nursery, Emma initially seemed fine, but within just a couple of terms was noticeably less able to put sentences together and preferred to point, rather than use words.
Her GP referred her to a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT), but that support, just a single weekly session, didn’t begin until towards the end of her reception year.
This continued throughout infant school, with a different SLT each year and little progress. As she fell further behind, her anxiety grew.
“At that age, your peers don’t have much understanding or patience for you” Veronica explains.
“She wouldn’t understand the rules of a game for example, which would upset the other children and leave her very isolated and open to bullying.
“By the start of junior school in year 3 she was finding it very difficult socially, and her twin brother was intervening regularly in the playground to protect her from bullying.”
By this point, the family were convinced she had a permanent, persistent speech and language disorder, and had already completed the paperwork for a statement.
With the support of SOS SEN, a charity which provides independent advice and support for parents, and a privately funded 3-day assessment Emma was moved to a mainstream school with a specialist SLT unit, where she spent half her time in class and the other half with a therapist.
This arrangement helped initially but gradually the progression stopped and Emma’s anxiety returned.
“She’d stopped making progress by the end of year 4 and so we began looking earnestly again for a new school that would fully meet her needs” Veronica says.
“Moor House is a place where Emma has been allowed to be Emma and grow into being Emma. She is seen and valued for the individual she is and her confidence is building all the time.
“With the support of SOS SEN, we were very well prepared for the assessments at the start of year 6, but even then, the place she was initially offered just didn’t seem right for her.
“We went to see several schools and one specialist suggested Moor House, so we came for a visit and Emma really enjoyed it.
“Eventually in the summer term of year 6 we got the place at Moor House that we wanted, although even then we had to go to tribunal with our Local Authority over the finer aspects of the support she would receive.”
“At Moor House, she has thrived because of the multi-disciplinary support she is immersed in, the expertise of the staff and the understanding of her peers.
“In year 8, some of her social anxieties returned but the school were really on it straight away, and have helped her with the strategies to overcome them.
“Coming to Moor House has given her confidence and independence. She’s now doing English, Maths, Science, Art and Pottery at GCSE level and hoping to stay on for college after that.
“In addition, the life skills they develop are fantastic, and even give her a head start over her peers, especially when you compare her to her brother! She bakes every weekend and is very assertive around the house”.
“The relationship with her brother is still very close, and as a family we have learnt ways in which we can help her, such as not talking over each other, or using sarcasm. She’s also put a booklet together which explains to others what she finds hard, and what they can do to help, but you wouldn’t meet her and think she has a learning difficulty; such is the progress she has made”.
“As a parent, all you want for your children is for them to be happy. Moor House has given Emma the same opportunities as her peers and a choice over her future”.
“We can now visualise Emma with an independent future and more importantly, Emma can imagine that for herself. She is not afraid of new challenges and is very assertive.
“Moor House is a place where Emma has been allowed to be Emma and grow into being Emma. She is seen and valued for the individual she is and her confidence is building all the time.”