My name is Sam and I am Shane's mum. Shane is 14 years old. He has complex needs and attends Charlton Park Academy.
I developed a wiki for my son Shane as it was very important to me for everyone involved with Shane's Transition to get an insight into Shane as a person and not just his disabilities and difficulties. A wiki is a multi-media mini website which can be easily accessed and updated. It gives information about our family, Shane's communication, mobility and care needs, the things Shane likes to do, his spiritual life and school life. Shane's IEP, Annual Review Reports, Speech and Language report, Physio Program, medical letters etc. are all on the wiki. Everything is in one place and I no longer have to hold onto lots of papers. Shane's eleven year old brother helped create the whole wiki. Siblings of disabled children can sometimes feel left out and by involving Daniel in this process he felt very important indeed.
Last year Shane's class teacher changed which as you can imagine for a young person with complex needs can be quite daunting.
We shared Shane's wiki with his new teacher and she immediately learned so much about Shane. It gave her the tools to create lesson plans appropriate for Shane and most importantly helped her understand his unique communication.
When young people with complex needs are not supported by individuals who understand their communication they can become frustrated and can lead to challenging behaviour. Personally I do not like the word Challenging Behaviour as to me it is a form of communication and if the young person is understood and supported appropriately behaviours which are inappropriate tend to be much less.
It is vital to understand how a young person communicates. I always try to imagine what it would be like to be in a foreign country where no one speaks my language and believe that is what it must be like for Shane if he is being supported by someone who does not understand his language. Now when someone new works with Shane they now can learn all about Shane's communication on his wiki.
Shane uses splints to help with his mobility. In order to avoid unnecessary mistakes on how to put Shane's splints on correctly we made a short clip which all new Learning Support Assistants in Shane's class have watched.
I have used Shane's wiki in numerous ways but the most beneficial and rewarding has been teaching Shane how to operate it. I must admit I was quite apprehensive as I was unsure if Shane would get upset listening to himself having a good time. It had the opposite effect and I believe it is a way to help Shane remember good times.
Previously Shane had never tolerated being at his Annual Review. However, his Year 9 review had his full participation. He loved showing his wiki to all who attended. I must admit there was not a dry eye in the room and I was very proud of his achievement. Unfortunately, Shane's physiotherapist was unable to attend the meeting but as she had already created a video for Shane's wiki and this was shown at the meeting.
I am delighted that Charlton Park Academy are offering this toolkit to all of Shane's friends at school. It truly has helped Shane and us as a family to try to get the support and services necessary for Shane to live the life he wants to live. I want a healthy happy life for my son where he is given the opportunity to reach his potential and learn skills which will help him in Adulthood.