Independent support feedback We received this wonderful feedback, regarding our Independent Support service. "My son, Leo Mitchener, was 10 when Paula from KIDS came to help us with our application for an EHC Plan. He had not been in school properly for two years with increasingly difficult behavioural problems. First being diagnosed with Dyslexia, then auditory processing difficulties and finally in the previous August just before his 10th birthday, high functioning Autism. As we adjusted to diagnoses and realised the breadth of his difficulties, we knew he would sink in a normal state school. His older sister was at another school and we had seen what they did to children there; we were also aware of the way they treated pupils like my son, eventually expelling them despite them having a specialist Autism unit. We knew the school that would be best for him – a residential school that would deal with his dyslexia and autism as a package. A school with boys just like him and a vocational program as well as academic. However we were told time and time again the local council would not place him there. This is where Paula came in. She was a voice of reason, but also a mum who understood what we needed and where our concerns were coming from. Paula was on a steep learning curve with the new process herself, but she listened and advised and when she couldn't, she found the answers. She held our hand at all of the planning meetings and interjected when points were being brushed under the carpet. Paula also was the gentle reminder when I forgot all that we needed to say, and she ensured Leo’s voice was heard. We got the EHC Plan and Leo got to go to the school he wanted, which was in a large part due to the help and support of Paula. That however is not the end, as I want you to know and be able to show the impact your help has had upon Leo. He has gone from a child refusing to go to school entirely to having 100% attendance with good grades and high effort and behaviour grades. He is excelling at Maths, English, Science and other academic subjects as well as showing a passion for Cookery and Land based studies. I know he will now go on to achieve the grades in GCSE and A Levels that he is capable of. He could even go onto University to study Classics, which is currently his passion. He has changed from a young boy shut up in his room having suicidal thoughts, to a young man with friends and ambition. I have not seen him this happy and alive since he was four years old. Without KIDS and their support, not just from Paula but the support staff who answered my calls and passed on messages, the training Paula received, the funding raised to pay for her to help and the people Paula turned to when she needed answers, Leo would still be stuck in that place. Leo and countless children like him need people like Paula and your organisation.