I KNOW THIS IS REALLY LONG BUT PLEASE READ AS IT EXPLAINS WHY WE ARE SO KEEN TO HELP.
In September 2012 Charlotte was born and by the following summer we unfortunately became aware that she was different to other children, especially girls her age.
For many years we fought to have our concerns listened to and were constantly turned down for assessments because her pre-schools didn't believe what we were saying and didn't see what we said, instead they just saw a very quiet little girl who didn't say much (if anything at all) at school.
She was turned down for autism assessment and additional support three times and we really worried for her future. Many tears were shed and the autism assessment finally agreed to put her to panel for autism assessment one more time in January 2017.
Seeing how badly Charlotte was coping in social settings, especially at pre-school, with the emotional meltdowns afterwards we knew we had to do something to give our daughter the help and support she so desperately needed.
In September 2016 Charlotte started at Oakfield Pre-school. Straight away they listened to my concerns, they did not patronise or tell us we were wrong and from day one they looked after Charlotte like she was the most prized possession on the planet.
Within two weeks of her starting there we got called in for a meeting. They could see our concerns about Charlotte, they had used their own time in the evenings to educate themselves about autism in girls, they got in expert guidance to sit with Charlotte to ensure they weren't getting it wrong and decided that without one to one adult support straight away Charlotte would not cope at pre-school, let alone going up to primary school. The witnessed her biting, rocking, unable to communicate with any child, unable to follow any instructions and generally shut down in a complete panic and they knew it WAS NOT RIGHT. They provided her with her own dedicated worker called Shannon who has shown so much love and compassion it's unbelievable.
In November 2016 Oakfield Pre-school submitted extensive evidence to the autism assessment team to prove that we were not going mad and in January Charlotte finally went through panel and they agreed to the autism assessment. At the same time they knew that Charlotte was going to need extensive support to get through education and they applied for an EHCP (Educational Health and Care Plan)- which is basically a legal document stating her special educational needs and provides funding for her to successfully be able to get an education with support and an individualised curriculum that she can work to.
In March 2017, almost three and a half years after we started begging for help, Charlotte had her full day assessment for autism. Once again Pre-school supported her every step of the way and provided crucial evidence supporting us which led to a diagnosis of Autism on 7 April 2017.
On the 26th April we got a phone call from the local education authority saying that thanks to the evidence of the early years disability team (Portage) and Pre-school Charlotte was being awarded her EHCP.
With the diagnosis and EHCP now in place Charlotte is able to access any special, mainstream or unit school on the Island (space permitting of course!) and this means she will actually be able to access education!!! Which a year ago we never thought would happen.
Without a doubt Oakfield Pre-school are at the centre of all of this happening, and without them going above and beyond it would be a very different story. They have give us "Early Intervention" and it means Charlotte stands a chance in life!
So anyway ...... why are we fundraising for them??
Due to the new build in the Primary School, Oakfield Pre-School have been offered more outside space to develop, as at the moment they are very restricted. They are attempting to raise funds to buy outdoor sensory equipment and experiences which is very close to our hearts as Charlotte's has huge sensory processing difficulties and we know the difference this will make to future children that attend.
Charlotte only has a few weeks left before she moves up to big school (Yes - I will cry) but given everything Oakfiled Pre-school has done for us it is only right that we return the favour! As a family we will be making a donation to thank them but we also thought Charlotte could use one of her strengths to raise some funds for them.
SO! ..... Charlotte has recently learnt to ride her little bike with no stabilisers :) And on SUNDAY 25 JUNE Charlotte is going to ride her little bike with no stabilisers a minimum of 5 miles - starting from Ryde Harbour and proceeding to Seaview High Street and back. 5 miles may not seem much for cycling but please remember that she is only 4 and her bike is only little!! She has developed a love of cycling and we are keen to nurture this from a young age.
We are asking if our friends and family would be prepared to donate a pound or two to help us help Oakfield raise the funds they so rightly deserve and need to create this outside space to help future Charlotte's that will without doubt find their way to them.
They have given Charlotte a future and now we want to help give them and their future children one
NOTE: I did attempt to set the target for £50 but the minimum they would allow was £251!! But it doesn't matter if we don't reach that target as they will send funds on (minus their small fee, which is the same as all sites) regardless.