Gary The Git

Unfortunately many of us have either been in, or know someone who has been in a relationship with someone that is completely and utterly wrong for them. 

Now  – imagine one of your friends is going out with Gary.    Gary is a complete git.  He does not care about your friend and does not have your friends’ best interests at heart.

Gary is controlling.  He tells your friend what to wear, who to talk to, what they like and don’t like doing. 

Gary suppresses your friend’s creativity.  He tries to mould her into something she is not.  Gary tries to stop your friend from being their true, authentic self.  You know that Gary is really bad for your friend’s mental health and slowly but surely you see that your friend loses their identity and stops being themselves.  Instead, they become a shadow of who they used to be.

Eventually your friend realises that Gary is indeed a complete Git!  They leave Gary and slowly start to heal and mend and you all celebrate your friend ridding themselves of someone who is utterly toxic and wrong for them. After time, your friend starts to heal, recover from the trauma of such a toxic relationship, they feel like their old self again and you see their true authentic self return.

NOW – can you imagine in this situation that once your friend is better the general opinion of everyone is, “Oh!  It’s so good you feel better – you are well enough to go out with Gary again!!!”

Or – “I am sorry but I am afraid to tell you that since you have embarked on a relationship with Gary you need to stay with him and get married – even though he is a total git and really damaging to you and your mental health.  You cannot possibly consider a relationship with anyone else!!”

This would be seen as utterly ludicrous!  However, every year thousands of children are forced into a “relationship” with an education system that is utterly wrong for them.  They are forced into a system that does not care for them or have their best interests at heart.  A system that suppresses their creativity, that tells them who they should be and tries to mould them into something that the child is not.  Worst of all a system that is bad for a child’s mental health and chips away at their true authentic self leaving them feeling that they are not good enough as “themself”

Worst of all, when trying to remove their child from this system parents have to fight so hard for better alternatives.  They have to fight for alternative provisions or EOTAS packages.  They have to justify WHY they want to remove children from a system that is harming them.  And then, even when the alternatives are granted, or agreed on, once the child has slowly begun to recover and heal from the experience of being in this system the pressure starts to creep up and the parents are told, “we really need to start thinking about getting them back into school again!”

Our children don’t need a one size fits all approach to their education.  Our children need alternatives that nurture them and care for them.  Our children need an education that helps them be their true authentic self.  We need to stop thinking of alternatives to our education system as “less than” the norm – and parents need to stop having to fight so hard to justify these alternatives and keeping them…….

(this post was made with in collaboration with Positive Autism Support and Training)

Not Helping..

You say these things but what do they actually mean?

When my child is at home and not sleeping and talking.

You can say all you like in the way of positives, but who is that helping?

Not my child who comes home and crashes and breaks.

I try to tell you over and over.

I share this stuff because you are the gatekeeper (or so I thought)

You do not hear what I am telling you.

You let me cry and share things that I don’t want to share.

And you fob me off.

You tell me I don’t need things I actually do.

You tell me I won’t get it anyway.

You are not listening.

Your words are empty.

What are you writing down?

What help is this for my child’s future?

None, but that’s not your problem.

So you pass the buck, the tissue and the head nods on to the next chump.

Anyway “they’ve had a lovely day.”


Where are the courses on pathways?

I didn’t even know I could apply for an EHCP myself.

Where is ‘an easy guide to SEN departments’?I’ve lost days leaving voicemails in the hope someone picks up/knows the answer.

Why do I need to go through them to get to them?

Where are the autistic advocates?

Where’s the ‘know your rights’/’empowering parents’ course?

What about courses on ‘masking’ or ‘autistic experience’ or ‘improving education for the neurodivergent’?

But I better go or they’ll really blame me.

Learner? Or Loser?

I blame the parents..

It’s Okay..

When we are working with outcomes, targets and assessments everything is measured and quantified.

Everything has to be proved. Everything must be fixed.

(And there is always a timeframe)

Can you evidence that?

So there is no room for being unsure, or not knowing or even that things just are.

Because we need to explain, we need to know why, so that a solution can be found.

“Why don’t they like..PE/School/Homework/Sports Day?”

But actually, when you step away or back..You get space and you learn about the bits that really matter and what really makes a difference.


It’s okay to say sorry.

It’s okay to work together.

It’s okay to not feel sure.

Targets? Goals?

What matters to many/most is different to what matters to us..

I just hope that one day more places exist who know what we know now too.


It’s okay to remove hierarchy.

It’s okay to work together.

It’s okay to do things differently.

It’s okay because you are okay.. just the way you are.

Things To Watch Out For..

The thing is they hit you where it hurts..

“Don’t you want to give them the best chance?”

“What about friends?”

No parent wants to see their child struggling so they send you on training courses.

How to be a better parents.

How to have a better child.

Someone is telling (ever so nicely) there is a better way to do it.

Because then your child will go to school.

Then your child will be like everyone else.

ABA, PBS is snuck in everywhere.. Parent groups, Special Schools, Support Groups, Coffee Mornings.

“Don’t you want them to succeed?”


I want them to grow into who they want to be, whoever that is.

I want to see environments flex and adapt.

I want them to be themselves.

My child is who they are meant to be.

You and I are different (you like weddings, I hate them)

That is okay.

What is not okay is teaching children to pretend to be someone they are not.

What is not okay is training them to change or fit.

Change the environment, not the child.

(By the way they tried to pretend for years and it broke them)

I Smile..

What do you say about me?

When I’m worried that my child has been sat in a corridor for weeks on end and distressed at home..

‘Mums very anxious’

When you talk about the importance of your job and your workload/number of children you have to deal with, again and I break down because I know you won’t help us..

‘Mum was verbally abusive’

So I have to be nice because I don’t know what else you’ve written down.

Assertive could be noted as rude.

So I am amenable, not too knowledgeable.(I’ve heard the horror stories, haven’t we all?)
I nod my head to your banal and obvious suggestions.

And I smile at the scraps you offer.(Because we need whatever help we can.)

I say thank you to the leaflets.
And I smile.

I go to another meeting for meetings sake.
And I smile.

And we carry on with it pretty much the same as it ever was.

And I smile.


Healing didn’t come from egg timers, access to a sensory diet, a time out card, meetings or books about autism geniuses (people just like you)

Healing didn’t come from meetings.

Healing didn’t come from a home to school book.

Healing didn’t come from a hub.

Healing didn’t come from group therapy or a checklist.

Healing didn’t come from people we only ever saw once.

Healing came from watching telly.

Healing came from mucking about.

Healing came from being together.

Healing came from staring out the window.

Healing came from pets, slippers, cushions, sofa.

Healing came from pancakes..

‘Mum’ says..

‘Mum’ says:

Guilt is not good because guilt doesn’t go away.

Guilt has made me tidier than I ever was and more polite than I ever was.

Guilt has made me more worried.

‘Mum’ says:

That the guilt does other things it brings in blame.

Why are they like that?

And that says they shouldn’t be who they are.

Are you saying they should be fixed?

Any trauma you feel you need to share?

How was your birth?

 (I have actually been asked this by a man I’ve never met before)

So I walk on eggshells, trying to better and trying to stop life throwing up any variables, because then there’s a reason.

A reason so you will even less inclined to help because; well then it’s my fault.

“mums extremely anxious”

‘Mum’ says:

But you don’t look at other mums who lead free, chaotic and fun lives and see that their children are fine.

And you don’t look at your institution and your ways and think ‘maybe this isn’t okay for everyone’

Maybe it can do more harm than good.

No, you look at women and mothers and remember some white man from years ago blaming cold (refrigerator) mothers and you go with this.

Because if you blame ‘mum’ then you can send her on some parenting classes and you’ve done your bit.

I mean, you start changing it for one kid and they’ll all be wanting special treatment.

Well ‘mum’ says: they were actually fine before they started coming here.


What you don’t see is dinner being made several times and still not eaten because I bought the wrong brand of sauce and the pan tasted lemony.

What you don’t see is that I’ve sat up half the night trying to settle them and help them switch off (yes they do have a bath/routine)

You don’t see their shorts have been washed and this has tipped them over the edge.

You don’t see the extreme meltdowns.

You don’t see shut downs.

You don’t see the tics.

You don’t see the insomnia.

You see parenting courses, coffee mornings and an anxiety workshop.

You see a game of Uno with their favourite TA twice a week.

You see them tick that afternoon registration.

You see “they are fine when they are here”

Because what you don’t see is what you need to know, my child is not okay.

It is not won’t it is can’t.

So please don’t talk about attendance or resilience because right now, with those reasonable adjustments you’ve made they are surviving.

We are all just surviving..

NB. (and you never see those looks I get at reception when we turn up late again.)


When you were sick and stressed you needed me but you also rejected me.

What no one saw was I was the person who you showed your real distress with.

I was your safe place and person but this distress hurt us both.

You couldn’t let me near, but at the same time you needed me.

Until you were so sick you stopped and shut down and off.

You were done, I was done, we were done.

The wheels fell off.

Healing has not been therapies but connection at home.

Once we were able to remove the cause of the stress (school) we were able to spend it connecting again.

It wasn’t fixing, it was being.

It was time, just time.

It’s been two years and while it’s not always been easy it was necessary.

You needed this.

You’ve let me in, because you feel safe.

I think we are ready for the next bit now..

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