As we have reached 3000 followers on @SENexchange we would like to take this time to thank and celebrate the contributions of our followers. The key thing that makes #SENexchange so successful is the contribution of our range of followers who are willing to share their knowledge and ideas. To mark the occasion of us reaching 3000 followers we decided to ask a few of our most regular contributors to our weekly discussions for their thoughts about #SENexchange. We would love to hear your views too so why not write us a message in the comments section at the end of the blog!
“One of the wonderful things about SENexchange is who you can bump into in the ether. There are brand new teachers keen to learn and experienced practitioners willing to share. There are experts in their field professional trainers and specialists. There are parents, some with children newly diagnosed, others with tons of experience under their belt willing to share, and there are individuals with special needs and disabilities themselves giving their first hand insight into the discussions. Where else would you get such a mix? 30 mins on a Wednesday evening can be like a whole week’s worth of CPD.”
“SEN exchange has been a revelation for me, firstly the fact that there IS great SEND practice out there in schools and there are staff who genuinely care and want to have the best outcomes for these children. On top of that, these wonderful Professionals STILL want to learn more and enjoy sharing and collecting new ideas.
If I am honest, some of the chats I have watched from afar as they are so unreflective of my experiences that I have found them difficult to read, it is hard when you feel you are fighting a system that could and should work well for your children but you find obstruction every step of the way. However, the huge learning experiences I have had from SEN exchange outweigh this and it has given me the extra confidence in school meetings to question decisions and poor inclusion / communication in a more specific way to ensure accountability. “
#SENexchange was one of the first twitter chats I took part in. It presented an unparalleled opportunity to discuss important issues with a range of experienced practitioners from across the world.
You hear a lot about the negative side of twitter but I have never had a problem or issue during #SENexchange that has not been resolved through a challenging but beneficial professional dialogue. Unlike the complaints of twitter feeds becoming echo chamber a chat is open to all. Whilst there are multiple opinions shared every week there is a common theme of respect. It is clear that care and the dignity of any child is at the centre of every contributor’s ethos & practice.
Having a sounding board of experienced professionals, carers, parents and #actuallyautistic tweeters has been invaluable in broadening my thoughts and improving my practice.
“I have found SENexchange to be a welcoming and friendly space for teachers, leaders in education, parents, home educators from early years to post 16, (as well as adults with SEND who share their experiences of receving education) to come together to discuss some of the issues that impact on meeting the needs of children with SEND and share solutions. The chat is inclusive and welcoming of a variety of perspectives and all views are respected and encouraged. There hasn’t been a single chat that I have participated in where I haven’t learned something useful or found something to think about in greater depth. I think t is a real positive for parents to see some of the real thought and care that goes into meeting the needs of children with SEND in schools and for professionals to have a non-confrontational perspective from parents on their practice.”
Ed Psych Insight
“I think the #SENexchange chats are great at eliciting people’s thoughts and feelings on a wide range of everyday issues in education. They help to generate practical ideas for managing a child’s special educational needs. Above all, they reflect the many practitioners and parents who have a vested interest in learning more about how to help children fulfil their full potential.”
“Often we are so caught up with the act of doing processes and methods that have been tried and tested over the years. Over a cup of tea and with HolbyCity going on in the background I am both relaxing after a long day and thinking with peers on new ways to look at solutions we think we know about. It is a strange platform to talk, however the retrospective thinking about the topic, the replies and your own thoughts make you think and consider new possibilities. It is this reflection that I find most valuable. The idea that others out there can have a profound impact on my everyday work.”
“Why do I follow @SENexchange? It’s simple, a community of innovative thinkers in the SEND field that share practices offering honest reflections and guidance.”
“The community of #SENexchange are very welcoming. They challenge me to think about my own practice and inspire me to be a better practitioner. The discussions each week are always worthwhile. The community of #SENexchange are very supportive. I would recommend #SENexchange to any tweeting practitioner, parent or carer.”
“Wow! When I take part in the discussions I never think of our tweets being seen by so many followers! It’s a great achievement.
For me, #SENexchange was a great find. A community of professionals, parents, and some members able to contribute their own lived experience, all contributing to bring about understanding and share ideas or concerns. It’s different from other online forums because there isn’t the ‘them and us’ feel that I’ve come across elsewhere. Everyone contributes because they want things to be done properly for children, whatever their role. I’m proud of my job and I honestly think I work for a service that gets things right most of the time. However, concerns and ideas that I’ve come across in #SENexchange discussions have prompted me to talk to my managers about how we could improve, and been well received and acted upon. Also the support I sense when I contribute is very welcome – it’s always nice when people like what we do! I look forward to each week’s discussion. Thank you for hosting it”
“SENExchange has been a great way for me to get to know other SEND practitioners from all over the UK and to learn from them. I’ve made new friends and professional contacts that I would have never found just through twitter. The range of topics covered each week have been wide ranging and always focussing on the practical. I particularly like how they welcome and include parents and people with different conditions to give their point of view. We can all learn a lot from each other. Having the chance to host a chat was a challenge for me but I received so much help and support from Cherryl and Mary that it went really smoothly and I learned lots. I’m looking forward to this chat continuing to help mainstream and specialist SEND teachers, parents and others come together and share knowledge and good practice for the sake of SEND children everywhere. All the more important as the budget cuts hit schools and force us to be more inventive with less resources.”
“What I like about Exchange: I love the fact that it builds a family of parents and professionals who go out of their way to support each other; first on a Wednesday night and then whenever anyone has a problem. You can learn so much from others on the different topics and it is usually anecdotal evidence to back up the theory. On a personal level, as someone who recently left the classroom, it is my opportunity to help others no I can’t do it directly
As for the future, it would be great to see some sort of conference/teachmeet. Continue to explore a range of topics and hopefully introduce new professionals and parents along the way”
And a note from each of us:
When we started #SENexchange, we aimed to establish a forum for sharing knowledge, ideas and resources relating to SEND. We are so grateful to the growing number of people who have joined us to do just that! The #SENexchange community is now rich with practitioners including schools and therapy services, with parents / carers, training providers, students and service users who all bring an important perspective to the discussions we have. The positive feedback we have from our followers is very much appreciated and helps us to ensure we keep #SENexchange relevant and useful.
A huge thank you to all of you for working with us to make #SENexchange so successful for the last 2 years – onwards and upwards to the next 2!
Since we began #SENexchange two years ago I have enjoyed witnessing the increasing popularity of our weekly chats. We encourage anyone and everyone with an interest in those with special educational needs and disabilities to share their knowledge with us. Mary and I are on a mission to keep the chats as relevant as possible to the SEND community and we regularly request our tweeters to send us their chat topics.
One particular chat regarding post 16 stands out as memorable as it was exceptionally busy. Another busy chat was our ASC and girls which we all found to be very informative.
Over the two yeas we have had a few guest hosts and I would like to thank them for their expertise. I would also like to thank everyone for their contributions to our chats and for helping us to make #SENexchange successful.