Rosh Hashanah: Orli’s story

3 September 2021

This Rosh Hashanah, you’re just a step away from changing a life, forever. Orli’s mum shares how we have supported her daughter so that she is supported to develop the skills she needs to thrive in school.

“My family and I moved to England three years ago. Whilst my oldest daughter, Orli, had always had some challenges, they were never behavioural. We always knew she had executive function issues and was chronically disorganised, but her ability to over-compensate and hide her issues using her phenomenal memory masked her real issues.. We tried seeking occupational therapy support, but it didn’t work.

“Having transitioned to secondary school shortly before the latest lockdown, shewas expected to work autonomously but it soon became clear she wasn’t able to. She didn’t take notes during Zoom lessons and she wasn’t completing any of the work that was being set. The school signposted an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) workshop, which opened my eyes to where her issues lay.

“I began to seek a diagnosis for her through CAMHS and I reached out to Norwood and our social worker Susie. Susie spoke to Orli’s Head of Year and sent the school a questionnaire. Susie has experience working with most Special Educational Needs Coordinator at Jewish schools, and that made the school take her issues seriously.

“Susie advised me to attend a learning disabilities support group. When you’re knee deep in addressing a problem it can be hard to prioritise – Susie listened, she gave advice and she signposted routes to take. She helped me navigate pathways and understand who to talk to and where to go. She was my sounding board, both legally and emotionally, and gave me such useful advice.

“It’s not because you’re middle class and educated that it can’t happen to you. And when it does, it’s more difficult to seek support, because people are more closeted about their challenges. However involved you may, you still can’t necessarily see what’s happening with your own child – it’s hard to have perspective. When I tell people I sought Norwood’s help, they gasp – they think they only support people with profound learning disabilities, which isn’t the case. You don’t need to wait until your children have really hit rock bottom before you seek help. Ultimately everyone needs someone to help them cope.

“At Norwood’s Cygnet group on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) all the parents were clever, educated people who wanted to know more about ASD. Even with all the available resources in the world, you need a wider support network. It can be lonely dealing with learning disabilities and we need to bring it out of the shadows.

“Thanks to Norwood, Orli now has access to the tools and support needed that are enabling her to flourish at school.”

Norwood is there for people like Orli and her family, to help with whatever life throws at them. Please help ensure that children like Orli can receive the expert support that they so desperately need.

Donate to our Rosh Hashanah appeal today.

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