There have been many times when I’ve had to put myself in to my 14 year old Marlon’s shoes. Marlon is my middle son and was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2006. I had to ask the head teacher at his then primary school if they thought it was ok for him to come to school and have no support or idea of what was going on? I told her to put herself in his shoes. What if you came to work with no idea of what is going on? Just looking at the ceiling? He was regressing. Thankfully they realised he needed a one to one.

Then came the nightmare of secondary school. He had been in a mainstream primary school and the secondary Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) came to the annual review and said that Marlon would be fine and that he would be supported.

How wrong they were. Less than a month in I received a phone call from a SENCO to come for a meeting. This was the hardest and the most distressing meeting I had ever been to. They were telling me that Marlon wasn’t suitable for the school. That suddenly they realised that he couldn’t be supported. My world and his world came crashing down. Then the local authority wanted to place Marlon in a special needs school, which wasn’t appropriate for his needs. I once again had to put myself in Marlon’s shoes. He felt that he was stupid and that his two brothers were smarter than him. It broke my heart. I had to contact my local MP and explain that the mainstream school had pretty much thrown us in the river. They had to wait, as we couldn’t just randomly take him out of school until Marlon, yes, Marlon was happy to go.

This all started in October 2015, by January 2016 the local authority were still determined to place him in a school that wasn’t appropriate for his needs. With one day to go until the panel had to make a decision I asked Marlon how he felt and I put it down in a letter written on his behalf.

Please can you tell the board that I really want to go to Baston House. I went to visit it and I liked the animals and there weren’t a lot of children.

It was also a nice school.

I really want to go here and I will be very sad if I don’t go to Baston House.

From, Marlon.

Eventually he got a place at Baston House where he will be taking his GCSES in 2020, and is thriving.

So yes, putting myself in his shoes motivates me to fight and help Marlon. I’d put myself in anyone’s shoes, especially if they need help or guidance.

Mary is a new Family Fund Blogger, to read more of our blogs head to our Family Fund Blog page