The Story behind MIH;
Hi my name is Donna McLean and I founded MIH in August 2018. It is from my ever growing passion in supporting children and young people with additional needs that inspired the development of The Multiple Intelligence Hub. From my experience in working within the education support system, I quickly came to realise the need for support and more facilities within this field. My involvement and love for supporting additional needs has been encouraged and continues to be boosted by the everyday care of my amazing and beautiful daughter who was diagnosed with ASC in 2012 and DCD in 2016. This has contributed greatly to my experience, knowledge and understanding in specific needs and support for vulnerable Children and Young Adults. To say that the word ‘normal’ and the phrases “she doesn’t look disabled” or “she’s very well behaved for a child with ASC” frustrates me is an understatement and my attempts at assisting my daughter in achieving goals has only been hindered by society’s lack of understanding and the restrictions in alternative learning opportunities and not by her having a brain that is merely just wired differently!
If I have learnt anything from loving someone with ASC and working with additional needs, it’s that they still have the ability to learn and achieve their own goals, they may just not understand the instructions offered to them in the same way, or simply just need more time or adapted goals compared to someone who is ‘neuro typical’. Therefore to offer the same guidance but ‘alternatively’ may just open up more than one road to success! The key to my daughter being “very well behaved for a child with ASC” has been through my understanding for ‘preparation’, ‘clear instructions’ and ‘individual alternatives’ and, more importantly, has offered her ease from unnecessary anxiety caused by confusion, fear and frustration. Whilst every additional need is unique and some locks are harder to pick, I believe that a key can be discovered for any additional need.
Whilst the understanding and support of additional needs is on the increase, the limited knowledge introduced into curriculum still allows for misunderstanding between peers and the lack of alternative opportunities hinders ‘individual learning’. An example of such is when my daughter asked if she could go to dance lessons after school - not only did this end in tears because she could not keep up with her peers, their unpleasant response to this and because the instructions from the tutor were ‘global’ to the group. When I then tried to seek dance lessons for additional needs in Kent, the options were almost non-existent! This spreads to more than just specific dreams such as dancing; this merges into everyday learning as a whole and how it is important to individualise this for better outcomes for SEN children and young people.
The neuro typical brain is more susceptible to change and therefore we can change the way we introduce a diverse learning opportunity and adapt it to be understandable to everyone where possible.
So, with such experiences having contributed greatly to my understanding and knowledge in specific needs and support, I aim to put this into alternative, therapeutic and fun learning experiences that I, and hopefully my service users can become proud of.
I aim to make available individualised learning strategies within MIH’s everyday activities and thrive to offer a provision that I believe can grow with our Young People and will be a success.