It’s been nearly 6 years since I started volunteering with SNAP Cymru. The reason I started volunteering was because I worked as an educational psychologist for 33 years, and was the principal educational psychologist for Neath Port Talbot when I retired. I then did locum work, which showed me that I was clearly not ready to give everything up – SNAP fills a hole in that respect, in terms of being able to employ my experience.
In my role, I had worked with people from SNAP, and valued the work they did with parents: it’s worthwhile to work with them, and gives me the opportunity to give something back.
I’m an independent parental supporter in the Swansea Office, and support parents with school meetings, home visits, team-around the family, and multi-disciplinary meetings. I go through statements, IEPs etc. with parents and help them write the ‘parental advice’ section. The statementing process is all very familiar territory to me, so I’m able to offer a lot of help. I also attend the Special Educational Needs panel – instead of chairing as I did before, I now have more freedom to share parental perspective on these decision making panels.
I’m proud to support parents to achieve a good outcome. Sometimes the outcomes are not always in your control, but at least you’ve empowered the parent with reliable advice and information and supported them to really participate in decisions or to have their views considered when they might otherwise have not been listened to.
I enjoy that I’m still able to contribute. I love the stimulus and that it makes you think and keeps you active. It’s good to help people come to decisions that hopefully will be helpful to them and their children.
Working with SNAP, has been fulfilling.