• My daughter received full attention and was listened to. There was a clear feeling that everyone was trying to help her and prepare her to live a life with better quality.
  • I was totally overwhelmed at how well supported Lensey and Lara made me feel. Completely listened to (at length too!) Never rushed or belittled as I experienced at a previous place. Always open to questions and available when I emailed.
  • Explanation. Doctor Lara understood our views and explained everything very nicely. The service we received was outstanding. Very happy with the service. Doctor Lara made us feel like we are a family working together for my child.
  • Good Morning Anneline. I also wanted to thank you for seeing my children, not just in an assessment way, but “seeing” them as the people they are.  Not many people see them like that.  I know it’s your job, but it felt more human than that & I can’t thank you enough.
  • Dear Dr Flood, It was wonderful watching you work with my son today and I wanted to thank you personally for your time and I am grateful for all of your help in supporting xxxxx in whatever ways we can. I especially wanted to thank you for your kind words at the end of the assessment, they really helped. 
  • All was very professional and the level of knowledge was clearly high.
  • I would like to thank everyone involved for the service provided. You have made a positive difference in our lives.
  • It’s great service and we wouldn’t be where we are today without it.
  • I feel that more sessions would have been nice and helped us focus on other problems as we had to prioritize the areas to work on. More funding for more sessions

Katie’s story

“My children can just be themselves and have fun, with no judgments”  (names and ages have been anonymised)

Katie and her husband have two children, aged 8 and 12. Katie works with neurodiverse children and so was already aware of the signs and symptoms of a range of different learning disabilities.

A hidden disability is not always obvious at first but at the age of 6, Archie, Katie’s now 8 year old son, came home from school one day and asked “Am I autistic?” He and his class had been learning about autism that day.

“Archie is very intelligent”, says Katie, “so it was no surprise really when he asked me.” Katie approached Archie’s school, and together they applied for an autism assessment with Cognus, the Council’s specialist education provider.

“When Archie had his assessment he was quite nervous beforehand, but he thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing! He thought it was great fun, and getting that confirmation that he was autistic before we had even left meant a great deal to us. Having to wait for days to find out would have been a huge ordeal for him, so that quick decision was crucial to help all of us move on, knowing exactly what was what.”

But Katie’s 12 year old daughter, Chloe, had been secretly struggling too. “School became a very challenging environment for her when she moved from primary to secondary school. Girls with autism are very good at masking their struggles and are very different from boys with autism in lots of ways.”

Katie applied for an assessment for Chloe, which also took place last year. “The thought of having the assessment was very daunting beforehand, both for me and for Chloe,” said Katie. “I knew she would struggle with it – she was very anxious leading up to the meeting. But the psychologist who saw us was so good at putting us both at ease, taking the time to make sure Chloe was feeling secure and understood everything, reassuring her at every step that she would only go at Chloe’s pace, that it turned into a very positive experience for both of us.”

“Having that later diagnosis made things more difficult for Chloe – before that assessment, the school hadn’t known the best way to support her, but with the support now in place for her, she is starting to adapt. Both of them had regular counselling sessions with a child psychologist at Cognus and that has been hugely helpful for both of them.”

“And the events that Cognus puts on for children with additional needs means that they know they are with other children who are the same as them, and they can just be themselves and have fun, with no judgments. Cognus has made what can be a very difficult journey much much easier to deal with. As a family we are very grateful for that.”