‘Celebrating small changes’ – Jane Jones, Allsorts’ Charity Chief Executive writes on our blog

Allsorts, Stroud charity. Jane Jones, Chief Executive

Sometimes you just have to avoid the negative stuff, don’t you?

Recently there has been public outrage regarding comments made by councillors in Warwickshire regarding SEND educational provisional. I’ve been reminded of many similar incidents, over many years, of councillors saying ill-judged and ill-informed comments on this and other topics regarding disability in different councils across the country. Personally, I like the outrage, as the responses it provokes from the public affirms that most people in our country want decent provision for disabled children.

Today, I’m not going to add my comments to those already made but instead am going to concentrate on what is wonderful about working with disabled children and those with additional needs and avoid the negative stuff.

She had tears in her eyes at the thought that it might be possible for him to say ‘Mum’ in the future.

Our happiest times at Allsorts, in play sessions, is when parents share the progress their children make. The smallest piece of progress is celebrated by all the parents at the play session, as they know how important it is to the parents of the child. The last Saturday I worked, one Mum was so happy that her child was eating better, and it was no longer such a struggle. Everyone was so happy for her! Another Mum talked about her 4-year-old child starting to form words. Saying M M M whilst looking at her. She had tears in her eyes at the thought that it might be possible for him to say ‘Mum’ in the future. The kettle was put on and tea and biscuits were had in celebration.

I have had recent experience of progress with my son, Jacob. He is a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan, having watched it obsessively since he was about 10 years old. He is now 23 and for the last few years we have taken him to the live show at Birmingham. Jacob hates loud busy places but because he is so motivated to see the show, he somehow manages to cope, which is truly a-maz-ing!

Gaining life skills in children and young people with additional needs can be slow and sometimes it is not obvious to you when you see your child every day. By attending an annual event, it is possible to identify positive progress. This year, Jacob asked whether he should put his coat on, instead of waiting to be told to put his coat on! And he moved out of the way of people on the footpath instead of me having to direct him to move. I was so happy to see these small changes!

I told my friends who are also parenting young adults with additional needs. Messages of celebration were sent and gratefully received. I came back to work on the Monday morning and told the Allsorts team, many who know Jacob. They were happy to hear this and celebrated his success also.

This world of parenting is not easy, but I love the way that the community supports each other and celebrating the progress that children make, however small, is an important part of that.

Jane Jones has been the Chief Executive at Allsorts since 2020

Jane trained and qualified as an Occupational therapist and soon developed an interest in working with families who had children with additional needs, providing equipment and adaptations.

Jane is the proud mother of four sons, one of whom has many challenges in life and it was he who first brought Jane into contact with Allsorts when her family moved up from Cornwall to be closer to both family and the Bristol hospitals.

Jane has two basset hounds and her son, Jacob, has a shitzu cross and they enjoy walking them and generally spending time with them. Jane has been involved with Allsorts since 2018.