How SEN Parenting is Just Good Parenting

Safia Rana-Jaswal
January 16, 2024

It was spring 2016 and my first born Inaya was 18months old. In my head and deep within myself I knew we were not meeting the “milestones.” There was no “mama” “dadda” or imitation of language, just what I know now as jargon.

The constant “is she talking yet?” and from my own mother “gosh you were talking so much at this age” really didn’t help. But then in stark contrast when confiding in my husband and closest friends I was frequently told that language will come and to just wait as there’s nothing wrong.

Fast forward 6 months and I was sitting with our pediatrician explaining what I had noticed. I was told to just wait and to see what would happen. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted answers now. I was being made to feel like this was all in my head and to stop being an overprotective mother.

I contacted a speech and language therapist in my local town I found online who was a Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. We had an initial 20minute chat to see if I was going crazy and it turned out she thought it would be beneficial to book in an assessment.

I was so anxious about what she would say. Was this all in my head? I wish it was as I didn’t want there to be something “wrong” with my child. She confirmed I wasn’t crazy and that Inaya had a language and communication delay of around 9 months. We proceeded to work together once a week for almost 3 years.

It was more than hard work, the tasks I did with her everyday, the additional resources I purchased, the pressure I put on myself and her to try and “fix” the situation. I still punish myself weekly, did I not talk to her enough? Did she spend too much time with our nanny? Maybe I should have switched the TV on? She was my first child and I feel I made so many mistakes but equally learned so much through our time which has led me to parent in such a different way than I would ever have imagnined.

This leads me to how SEN parenting is just good parenting. Our household is full of visual aids and I can say without a doubt the benefit it has had on my two other children, as as-well as Inaya growing up (who is now 7) has helped in encouraging positive behaviour, independance and developing their language and communication.

Visual aids are often thought of just a SEN tool but as adults are you more likely to remember something you saw or read? Well that’s because the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

If I can give you two pieces of advice, the first would be not to get hung up on labels. Parenting is challenging and we shouldn’t be afraid of using all the resources available to us to help our children thrive. Secondly I would say trust your instinct and don’t be pressured into conforming to what society makes us believe is “the right way to do things” push for answers, apply pressure where you think its needed and never give up.

Thankfully there are so many amazing mums out there who are doing a phenomenal job in supporting one another.I would like to say the guilt goes away, but sadly I think its part of what we unknowingly signed up for.

The Mum Hub is a safe space for all mums no matter how far along the motherhood journey. Our events and online platform aim to support all mums from all walks of life.

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About The Mum Hub

The Mum Hub (TMH) was set up with the sole purpose of creating a safe, non-judgmental environment for mums and mums-to-be to come and share experiences and gain knowledge at our TMH Brunches. At each brunch, a guest speaker is invited to share their expertise in a range of areas of interest to our mums. These include topics such as: identity and how it changes after becoming a parent; how to support mental health and wellbeing; and how our relationships change after having children.

The Mum Hub was founded by mum of three, Safia, after struggling to find her own identity when becoming a mum. She faced significant struggles with the constant feeling of not doing enough, feeling judged and burning herself out. In response to this, she created The Mum Hub in 2021. TMH host brunches with a twist – specifically tailored to mums and to support their mental health. What makes TMH unique is that each event has a guest speaker discussing a topic that affects mums every day, even where they carry a social stigma or are difficult to discuss.

Safia hopes to give mums confidence when facing testing times, by equipping them with knowledge, knowing that there are always choices available for them and most importantly, realising that they are not alone.

The SEN Expert offers a range of services for young people, families and schools. We offer support for parents to help navigate the complex world of Special Educational Needs. We will work with you closely to ensure the best for your child.

The SEN Expert was set up by Claire in 2021 following a successful career spanning 12 years in school improvement, special educational needs, safeguarding and the arts.

Claire has worked as a Deputy Headteacher, Assistant Headteacher, Consultant and SENCO in both state and private schools in inner city London, the Southwest, the Midlands and the USA.

Throughout her career, Claire has ensured solid outcomes for the young people she has worked with. Be that a set of good exam grades, a placement in specialist setting or getting a part time job.

Claire is a working mother, and understands the challenges parents face trying to ensure their children are happy and successful. We aim to provide young people with a creative route to the personal and professional adult life they deserve.

Claire sits outside a café with a laptop

SEN consultancy
with a difference.

We offer support for families, children, and schools to navigate the complex world of SEN.

Check out our full list of services at our website www.thesenexpert.co.uk or follow us on Instagram @senexpert for daily advice on special educational needs.

The SEN Expert is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13523478.