THERE appears to be no stopping inspirational Bexhill author Antonia Chitty, who, following on from the success of her previous two books, ‘A Guide to Promoting Your Own Business’ and, ‘Family Friendly Working’, has just launched a further two books entitled, ‘What To do When Your Child Hates School’ and, ‘Special Educational Needs – A Parents Guide’; which she wrote in conjunction with Special Needs teacher Victoria Dawson.
Using a wealth of expert advice and the latest information, this book brings together the facts on Special Educational Needs, how parents and carers can cope in daily life, which professionals can help, how to handle behavioural difficulties at home and school, as well as dealing with practical issues such as housing and finance
Explaining how she and Victoria came to write the book, Antonia said: “This book arose because my friend Victoria – who is a Special Educational Needs Teacher in Rotherham – kept saying she had really good ideas for practical help books. For my part, I know of children who have special education needs, but also my original background was as an optometrist so I’ve worked with a lot of people with sight problems. I’ve spent time working for the Royal Institute for the Blind and in my incarnation as a health writer at Which? magazine I did a lot of work on hearing and deafness; so for this book I am contributing very much from the sensory impairment side of things, and Vicky is contributing from the teachers perspective. We then talked to a lot of people, and used our combined knowledge to write the book.”
The book contains invaluable information which parents of children with special educational needs, may not have realised was available to them.
For example it’s possible to get an appointment with an NHS Speech and Language therapist without a GP referral, a fact that many parents may not have considered possible.
Antonia said: “It’s so important to know things like that because so many parents are deeply frustrated at trogging through the system to get a GP’s appointment, then they don’t know where the referral letters gone, and have no way of chasing it up. But if a parent can get on the phone, call the local speech therapy department direct and say ‘I think my child’s got a problem’, how much more effective is that?”
Antonia said that between them she and Vicky wanted theirs to be a “realistic book”, adding: “Vicky and I are both Mum’s, and we know that you don’t get time to sit down and read things which are in depth and then go and look things up. If you find something you’re interested in, you want to be able to know what the telephone number is, what the web-site address is and who to talk to – now! For example say you want to find a speech therapist, then you need to know which organisation to contact that will help you to find a local one”
“For somebody who is sitting at home thinking, ‘is there a problem with my child?’ and can’t get the help that he or she needs, it’s really difficult. You have enough to cope with – you’ve already got a busy life with kids and work and everything, this book’s there to make things easier.”
Antonia doesn’t advise parents to rely on health care check-ups to detect a problem, and also believes that health assessments in schools are, “not all they could be”, saying: ” Some services are cut back.
Children don’t get their eyes checked in the same way as they used to do and health visitors are very variable – they are not specialists – so there are children slipping through the net with problems. It’s great to pick up a lot of these problems before a child starts school. Take your pre-schooler for a sight test, opticians will see children before they can read, early detection is really important.”
Summing up Antonia said: “I just want to reinforce that fact that the book is written in straight forward plain English, and if you only get to snatch five minutes to look something up then you will still be able to get something out of it. It’s really meant for parents who are, as most of us are, stretched.”
In addition Antonia and Victoria have had their book nominated for an award by the National Association of Special Educational Needs, which is being judged next April, something which Antonia is naturally delighted about.
She said: “Vicky and I are really very excited to have written a book that’s been nominated for an award.”
Antonia’s other latest book release, ‘What to do when your child hates school’, is aimed at helping children and their parents deal with any one of a variety of situations which are making their school lives miserable.
A quote from the book epitomizes up what thousands of parents have to deal with everyday and says: “There are few things more miserable than having a child who hates school, but it doesn’t have to be like that.”
From bullying to social or learning difficulties, struggling to keep up or boredom, Antonia said: “Whatever the reason a child’s not happy at school it makes everyone’s life hell, that’s why I’ve put together this guide to coping.”
She added: “I think there are so few children who go through school without having periods where they may be experiencing a problem, and the constant cry from parents is that the schools not dealing with it.”
Whatever kind of solution a parent or carer may be looking for the book is designed to help by advising on how to talk to the school to get a problem resolved, to change schools within the state system along with alternative schooling such as boarding school’s or home education and, importantly how to tackle a potential problem by talking it over with the child.
Antonia said the book simply, “does what it says on the tin; it rings a bell with the child, it rings a bell with the parent, people know when to buy this book.”
Published by White Ladder Press, ‘What to do When Your Child Hates School’ costs £9.99. For more information visit the web-site at: www.whiteladderpress.com
‘Special Educational Needs’ is published by Forward Press Ltd priced £8.99 for further information visit: www.need2knowbooks.co.uk