One of our forum members has shared the inspiring story of how her daughter’s move into home education not only boosted her skills and confidence but helped sow the seeds of a fledgling social enterprise.
Kaydi has just turned 15 and is autistic (as well as having ADHD, anxiety and school-related trauma). She has no high school education due to her additional needs and being out of school for three years, but she is a highly intelligent and caring young lady.Due to her bad experiences at high school, she was diagnosed with school-related trauma and she sank into a dangerous depression. She didn’t see the point in “anything anymore”. She felt her future had been taken away from her.After she could no longer go to school we worked on nurturing to get her mental health in a better place and then set about how we would home educate. I took on a very different approach to things and, as we were shielding (and still are), I had to get creative!During lockdown, Kaydi spoke a lot about the various charities that had helped her when she struggled with everything related to school, and she told me she wanted to give back to them. Kaydi originally set about baking (something she really enjoys that we do a lot of at home) and selling her cakes to friends and family. Eventually word spread and she was baking and selling to many in our local community. Then she went on to making Easter gift cartons and again selling them to raise funds in our community.After she did that I knew I had to find ways to help her fundraising grow with her and we discussed how she wanted to do that. Something she is very passionate about is her fiddlies (sensory fidget toys that help her regulate). Her fiddlies were removed from her in various educational settings and this contributed towards why school was distressing for her. She couldn’t regulate without them and no one understood her.I wanted to help her turn that around and give her a way to bring that experience back to being a positive one. We decided together that her next home education lesson was to build a more formal venture for her fundraising and her choice was to sell sensory toys.We worked together to build her plan of exactly what she wanted to do. This led us down a path for her to learn how to source suppliers, choose products, build a website, manage social media accounts, develop her business mind, teach her financial skills, work on communication skills, help her manage her time and priorities, build her confidence and more than anything, show her nothing is impossible and against all odds she can and will succeed!In April, Kaydi set up Diversified. She has done so incredibly well and has learned so much along the way! One major success is her confidence. Just a year ago she couldn’t do a five minute English talk with her tutor and had numerous meltdowns because of the idea of it.Now, you will see on her page, she does LIVE videos every few days and sheloves doing them! She has so far raised nearly £1500 for charities that support neurodiversity and children with additional needs and I couldn’t be more proud of her.Kaydi has goals to become a formal social enterprise next year so she can tackle social isolation in the neurodiverse community and become a neurodiverse employer. This means a lot to her as only 22% of all autistic adults are in paid employment in the UK. She wants to create change for neurodiverse young people who are at such a disadvantage in today’s society.It took 3 years of heartache, distress and mental health problems being in and fighting the school system, but we finally managed to be the first in our area to win at tribunal for a new service in a private specialist neurodiverse specific school. Although Kaydi will soon be attending there, her home education journey will not be ending and will continue on to complement her place at her new provision.Her home education journey gave her so much more than the local authority school system could have ever given her and brought her bright beautiful personality back that was taken from her. It gave her skills, experience and confidence to build a future for herself regardless of her circumstances.Kaydi will continue with her venture and wants to be a social enterprise as soon as she turns 16, but she is also happy to be given the opportunity of being around children just like her and to now fill any gaps in her education.I know how hard the system is and it’s terrifying closing the door feeling like you have no clue where to start. Myself, Kaydi and her little brother are all neurodiverse and have a very wide range of complex needs, but we managed and we found a way. Don’t be confined to only typical education, it’s only one aspect of your child’s life and there are alternatives that are just as good!I hope sharing Kaydi’s journey will inspire others and reassure them that the system doesn’t always get it right and home educating can be amazingly beneficial to our children, even when things seem hopeless.