Be the reason someone smiles today…

The Lovely Laura Kenny in our t-shirt, she is always smiling x

I am ashamed that this is my first post of 2021! I naturally have some excuses as to why this is….

Last September I was lucky to be accepted on BILD’s (British Institute for Learning Disabilities) Positive Behaviour Support Certificate Course. It was the first time that parents and non professionals had been invited to take part and I saw it as a great opportunity.

To find out more about BILD go to http://www.bild.org.uk

I have always had an interest in Human Sciences, Zach is supported using a combination of ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) and PBS and I am on the Positive Behaviour Support Community of Practice Steering Group for Hertfordshire which all seemed very good reasons to take up the challenge.

Unfortunately the course start date coincided with the busiest time of the year for our enterprise, Spectrum of Misconception. We had two new and very welcome team members, Aki and Donald and so there was greater need to be well organised and keep on top of our orders.

I did find it pretty stressful doing the course up until Christmas, splitting my time between it, the Enterprise, Christmas preparation and the usual day to day chores made me more snappy than usual! However since Christmas I have been able to relax more and enjoy absorbing the information and understanding more about why things are done the way they are and the massive difference that PBS can make.

I was invited by BILD to join the PBS Alliance Communities group, it is fascinating and inspiring to hear what is being done around the UK to ensure that PBS is embedded in support workers practice.

It is also alarming to know that abuse and mistreatment is still happening all these years on from Winterbourne View, something which although it happened in 2011 the residents from the period will still be experiencing PTSD and live with behaviours associated from their vile mistreatment for many years to come, maybe, sadly forever. A school in Wales had a brave whistle blower come forward, reporting mistreatment and abusive practice at Ty Coryton link: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57404837.

I was asked to present at one of BILDS online Webinars, the title being ‘Mum knows Best’, just don’t tell John that. It was difficult to pack all that needed to be shared about Zach’s journey into a short period of time but I hope I managed to convey how we have turned around what was an awful and bleak situation into something which is wonderfully positive and evidence that with the right support and attitude things can turn around and improve to give a life that is rewarding, full of quality and happiness.

Don’t misunderstand me, it will never be easy. We have had a bumpy ride but my goodness, how my boy has flown with the right people and a consistent measured approach supporting him.

As a result of all my studying it was hard to get on top of things with Spectrum of Misconception. Our aim for this year was to have products which we could sell all year round. The team really enjoy doing the packing up, delivering and posting and sometimes request to do it even when we have no orders.

Leila Nabih, a local illustrator who we love working with did some stunning designs for us, which we have used for gift cards, wrap and household goods. We discovered Wonky Candles, they are a family run business who make candles and wax melts. Both son’s Tom and PJ have autism and complex disabilities and we wanted to sell their wax melts as we feel such affinity with them and they smell amazing.

We missed World Autism Day this year, there was just too much going on for Cormac and I to promote and put the effort in which we needed to, to make it a success but we hope that we made up for that with our campaign for Learning Disability Week which was in June.

We are always looking for quotes which jump out at us and give us a concept which we can work with. One which just did that was ‘Be the reason someone smiles today’. Although I am thinking of Zach in relation to this statement I could be thinking of almost anyone. Zach is incredibly perceptive and if his staff are happy, bubbly and fun he will smile all day. A smile is a universal language and needs no words, we all know what it means.

The theme for Mencaps Learning Disability Week was ‘Friends and relationships’ so we asked our friends and families to send virtual ‘Hugs from Home’ via video to people that they love and have missed during lockdown. We had the most wonderful videos and photographs to share on instagram and facebook.

Leila designed us some great t-shirts with our message on, just seeing them makes me smile! Laura Kenny who is incredibly busy getting ready for a very different Olympics to the ones she is used to did us a ‘Hug from Home’ video and she and Jason also modelled the t-shirts for us.

She is such a lovely warm person, always smiling and has time for everyone. Please give her and Jason a cheer at the Olympics, they will certainly be getting a massive cheer from the Spectrum Team!

So I feel a weight has lifted from my shoulders, my blog is live again and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Please take a look at our website, we have items which will make great gifts. http://www.spectrumofmisconception.com

Until the next one 🙂

Published by

thezachproject and Spectrum of Misconception

Mother and advocate to my son Zach. Zach has autism and complex needs. My blog is about the project we set up when there was no suitable further education setting for Zach when he left school in July 2016. I find that sharing our successes and struggles is cathartic for me and I hope insightful for the reader. My hope is that others who are struggling to find a place for their child or themselves may draw some inspiration from thezachproject. Thanks for reading my blog, please leave me comments.

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