An awards evening hosted by Bridget Jones co-star Sally Phillips was held in Coventry on May 18th to recognise the talents, stories and families of parent bloggers from the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) community. New Directions’ representatives Senior Manager Laura and Media Officer Abbi attended these aptly named Bloody Awesome Parents Awards (BAPS) at Windmill Village Golf Club and Spa and met with Sally, who recently fronted the BBC2 documentary “A World Without Down’s”. The BAPS are organised by two SEND associated organisations Bringing Us Together and My Family Our Needs to celebrate the bloggers’ valuable contribution to raising awareness of additional needs in the SEND community and in the wider society.

Media Officer Abbi, comic actress Sally Phillips and Senior Manager Laura

2017 winners include Don’t Be Sorry, Joseph And His Amazing Spectrum Coat, Mum On A Mission, Stories About Autism and PDA Society. Their thank you speeches described online therapy, over sharing and the freedom from inhibitions that blogging brings. Some winners expressed surprise that people had contacted them to let them know that they had brought them relief. One winner described blogging as getting things off his chest and providing an opportunity for friends and family to find out more about being an SEND parent at their leisure. Sally Phillips talked to double award winner Don’t Be Sorry about the bloggers need to keep integrity and how SEND parents need to constantly recalculate their plans.

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Senior Manager Laura said, “It was a privilege to take part in this SEND bloggers awards celebration. There are everyday and exceptional lessons to be learned from supporting a child with SEND that brings insight and joy. Many thanks to the organisers for enabling New Directions to experience this event where the SEND community were given the opportunity to appreciate each other and let their hair down.”