I am so pleased to be able to add our comments here.
My son Louis has a visual motor coordination difficulty which makes handwriting laborious and painful. Added to this he is left handed which has meant that from an early age, he has had to do things the opposite way from his peers, He has impaired fine motor skills.
Both Louis and I routinely spoke with his primary school and requested that he use a computer to complete his written work and was always told, no. Louis was demoralised by this as his handwriting was difficult to read – he would put so much time and effort into his writing and then wouldn’t be able to read it. It also meant that his self esteem was impacted as well as his relationships with staff. On the day his EHCP request was agreed I submitted his CENMAC referral form. That was May 13th – deep in the country’s lockdown. I didn’t expect to hear anything back but had a reply on the 14th and by Fri 22nd I received an email from CENMAC to say the referral had been accepted. I can’t overstate the relief and joy that my son experienced. He knew the importance of it and the timing – it meant that he would be starting secondary school on a level playing field. He felt – as did I – that this was going to be a game changer and his opportunity to show his new teachers just what a bright boy he is – unencumbered by the limitations of pen and paper. He was so excited and felt like he’d won something very special.
One particular bonus for him was that for the first time, he felt able to express his creative side – he had always felt embarrassed and ashamed of his drawing. Mary made contact with me and we arranged a google meet, mid June. Before the meeting Mary asked to know a little about Louis and his likes. I told her about his love of Pendolino trains. Louis and I were incredibly touched when – on a google meet – a pendolino train was Mary’s backdrop. During this session I was so happy to hear the way Mary dealt with Louis – as an interesting young man with needs that could be addressed. Louis was absolutely thrilled. When I later met with Mary separately I was struck by the fact that she asked questions no other professionals had ever asked. She was interested in the whole of my son not just the bits she was supporting. She saw the whole child and this is rare.
So! Louis has started secondary school with his CENMAC packed and charged every day. He uses it routinely and confidently. It has changed how he sees himself. He has brought him confidence, pride and self esteem. He was constantly getting in trouble at primary school. He has not once been told off at secondary and has received 15 positive achievement points. I firmly believe this has a great deal to do with his needs being met. I cannot recommend Mary and her team highly enough. She is an extremely skilled and thoughtful professional and I would nominate her for every award going. I asked Louis, “if you were to say something about Mary and CENMAC what would it be?” Louis’ response?: “Thank you”
– With tremendous thanks, Louis and family, September 2020