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Marie's Story - Case Study

September 28, 2021

Marie's Story

Tell us a bit about yourself and your circumstances 

I'm a single parent to an 11-year-old girl. She's super bright and eloquent and a ball of energy. She's dyslexic and although she is not diagnosed, she probably has a mix of ADHD and autism with a demand avoidant profile - that simply means that general life for her is incredibly anxiety-inducing and she struggles to do even basic things like get dressed or even eat. 
It's a hard life for her (and me) and her behaviour can be incredibly challenging when she is suffering from anxiety, which is pretty much all the time. As a result, I am often exhausted and isolated. We rarely go out and it's hard to spend time with others. 


What has Skylarks meant to you and your family? 

Skylarks gave me hope. When you have an undiagnosed child who is obviously struggling with the world, you are generally met with a barrage of accusations from others. Of course, her behaviour is just your fault, you're not strict enough, you don't impose enough consequences... It's so hard to get your child the help you know they need just to exist when you are met with these responses at every turn. At the same time, the damage that does to your own self-esteem and your abilities to parent, the way you need to, with confidence is severely impacted. 
When I contacted Skylarks, in a period of utter despair, I was met with kindness and acceptance. It didn't matter that my daughter didn't have a diagnosis. She had needs that needed to be met and Skylarks signposted me in the right direction and just gave me the confidence to go and get it. 

What difference has the SEND Advice service made to you?

I've used the SEND Advice service to understand the EHCP process and access the necessary support for my daughter. 
I went into meetings with the local authority and school much more confidently and rather than pleading for absolutely anything, I was able to ask for very specific things and also hold the school accountable when they didn't deliver that support. So now, my daughter gets the support she needs in school, which means that when she comes home she's far less stressed and her behaviour is much more manageable. We're both less exhausted and our home life is much more harmonious as a result. It has been life-changing.

Describe how Skylarks partnering with Haymarket has positively impacted you

For a start, I became aware of them and was able to directly benefit from their support! Secondly, I feel so proud to work for a company that supports such an incredible charity. It has given my daughter a big boost in self-esteem knowing that other people and businesses support individuals with additional needs. 

What would you like other parents to know about Skylarks? 

The one thing I would say to other parents is that it's hard doing this alone. Your peers and friends and family don't often get it. But there's a whole community on your doorstep who do. You might be tired of asking for help especially if you've had an experience like mine. But maybe like me, you've been asking for help in the wrong place.  

The other thing is, maybe you think your child won't engage with Skylarks. That doesn't mean you can't benefit from their services. My daughter's life has changed dramatically as a direct result of the support that I have received. 
And I can't thank Skylarks enough. 

In one word how would you describe Skylarks?

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Names have been changed to protect the identity of our members