But, thanks to them, I got the advice and support to help my little girl and then my baby was born safely in hospital!

A few months ago my daughter Isabelle was sent for a ‘Ruth Griffiths’ assessment. This is a test used by paediatrician, who is a doctor who specialises in children’s illnesses, to assess a child’s development.  The paediatrician tested Isabelle’s hearing, language development, eye hand coordination and social development.  I was told that depending on the results, the paediatrician might decide to refer my child to other services like a children’s centre, speech therapy or maybe physiotherapy, to support her to reach her full potential.

We were obviously very nervous and not sure what to expect. The test helped explain lots of things about Isabelle.  We were told she didn’t have a developmental delay across the board but that some of her difficult behaviour was down to sheer frustration from having a severe speech delay.   The Paediatrician felt Isabelle would need support when she started school, so referred her for something called a statutory assessment. Despite all the effort, less than 2 months later her statutory assessment request was refused.  We were a disappointed and worried about what would happen next. We knew that Isabelle would find school very difficult and the paediatrician had felt the same way.

This is where I heard about SNAP Cymru.  I spoke to a lovely adviser  Cara Bellamy from Swansea on the SNAP Cymru telephone helpline, which was really lucky as I am in Swansea too. She made me an appointment to see her as soon as she could, as I was due to have my 3rd baby in 6 weeks’ time it was quite important that I got things moving before the big day!

However….when it came to my appointment, things got more difficult.

I had been having Braxton Hick’s contractions all that day, so I went to the meeting a bit earlier in case they got worse.  (I had been 2 weeks early on my first baby, and 3 weeks early on Isabelle)  I was keen to get things sorted and I certainly didn’t want to go into labour earlier when I also had the stress of Isabelle being refused her assessment.  My meeting though was cut short …the baby was arriving! Cara was brilliant, she could see straight away what was happening and took charge of everything!

Cara helped with everything, taking all the information and paperwork from me and ensured I went immediately!  My baby was born safely in hospital, just in time! Fortunately Cara completed my letter of appeal and emailed it to me to make sure it covered all my concerns and reflected my views. In January our appeal was upheld  and the process started. Again Cara helped me fill in all the forms for the statutory assessment, reassuring me that when Isabelle’s provisional statement came through that she would again check everything with me and make sure that Isabelle’s best interests were all covered and that the local authority had seen the ‘real Isabelle’ with all her skills and support needs. The draft statement arrived and everything was once again talked through with us by Cara.

I was so thankful for SNAP’s supprort I wanted to give something back

I was so delighted with the support I’d received that I decided there and then to fund-raise and help SNAP Cymru.  I knew they had several charity shops and were looking for donations.  I went straight away and cleared out my house of everything we no longer needed and donated it all to SNAP Cymru so they can continue to support other families!  I’ve donated regularly since then.  I love the fact I can help SNAP Cymru through my regular donations, which I’m told can raise at least £20 per bag!.  All this money goes straight to help them help more families like me.  I couldn’t think of a better way to support others and would love everybody out there to do the same.

Maria Smith Swansea Mum