#GetInvolved Lets get talking – By Gordon Forsyth from PAACT

Welcome to #GetInvolved

Number 9 in a series of blog posts from my friends and colleagues in the education, health and care sector which I have been collecting and publishing over the last few weeks to help us all keep in touch.


Today’s post is by Gordon Forsyth from Parents and Autistic Children Together: PAACT Support. I have had the pleasure of supplying training workshops to parents and professionals through PAACT since 2016 and during that time I have learned that Gordon is totally committed to supporting young people with additional needs, as well as their families and the professionals that work with them.

Today, Gordon would like to offer you a lifeline… 


Lets Get Talking

While we are entering the end of the third week of lock down has the novelty of being at home instead of going to work or school gone, if it was there in the first place.

Maybe our children are just not able to keep up day to day learning as we are hearing from lots of people from TV to FB showing how clever they are at being wonderfully creative and how well their children are coping.

My daughter’s response to that is, “good luck if you think I am doing that”.

This then sets us as parents a challenge as how do we get our children to do their work, we are exhausted and coming up with creative fun ways to ensure they get some learning done during the day feels like an expedition up Mount Everest and we have fallen at the phone call stage of planning.

This then makes us feel down why can I not get my child to engage, we tell them they must do what has been set for them, you can not stay in bed and no you are not going on Xbox again. We then get our daily response of sorry mum /dad, I just am not able to do it today or something similar to this but probably much more colourful.

We now feel the pressure, what should we do? How do we deal with this?

Then we have the boredom of nothing to do, why can’t we go out, or why can’t I play on my Xbox or watch the telly anything but what you would like them to do.

We may start to have a meltdown ourselves by raising our voices banging things down, saying out loud why can’t you just do as I ask for once, is it really that difficult, No, just me, thought so.

Our child/ children then have to cope with the change of lots of people in the house with much more noise and people making demands that have not happened in this way before.

Siblings getting on with each other has never been easy but manageable to a degree as they are mainly at school so you have a bit of respite, not now as at least one of your children or your only child wants to be in total control and in their eyes is running the show. So as we know we just let them do what they want, yes!!

Anxiety has now taken over the whole house as we are walking on eggshells we are now chief negotiators for family peace and no sign of bed time for us or our children, panic is now setting in and we start to doubt our ability to cope as the day is getting too hard and I am a terrible parent and just maybe the professionals were right I am a bad parent.

At this point we have lost perspective of what is really happening, we have given in to our years and years of programming of how things should be done and they will be done when I say etc etc.

If any of this sounds familiar and it should as you are not alone going through the same battle and feeling you are not coping. I will say this, you are all doing so well as you are all doing your best to get through the day the best way you know.

Due to the coronavirus PAACT had to stop their monthly support meetings and this for me was a huge resource and good night or morning out to meet other parents going through similar things to me and they had a different idea on how to deal with a situation or confirm we are going through the same issue and no matter what we do nothing seems to work.

This discussion is priceless as it boosts your own confidence makes you feel better about yourself makes you feel empowered and helps to understand what your own child might be struggling with and gives you a better perspective or understanding and therefore reduces your anxiety which in turn will reduce their anxiety.

Stopping the support meetings gave me the biggest worry as I know we need to provide support for families but with my non existent technical knowledge I was anxious on how to get the support meetings to work again.

I got in touch with Andrew Whitehouse and asked him for help and he very kindly told me he was putting  his amazing workshops ( my words not his) onto Instagram Live so information could get out and hopefully help getting to understand there is no answer but small steps small victories for us to build upon.

By talking with Andrew and other members of PAACT I feel we are now in a position to go live with support meetings on a weekly basis with the first one taking place on Tuesday 14th at 2:00pm. After this one we can look at alternating the meetings from morning, afternoon and evening depending on what you feel would work best.

Being able to talk and hear what other families are doing will help us all. I have been going to support meetings for the last 14 years and I always come away with really good information and advice that I have not heard before or hearing something from a different perspective that makes such a difference to our family.

For more information about this please email me at paactsupport@hotmail.co.uk

Join me today, Tuesday 14th at 2:00pm (if you can’t join today, please be assured – there will be more).

Let’s get talking

Gordon Forsyth,
PAACT Support







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