2020 has so far been an unexpected year. During the beginning of the year we were running busy with ourselves, work, kids, weekly family meet ups, planning holidays for the rest of the year for our well-deserved breaks. Coronavirus was just background noise, you heard something is going on in China but did not think for once second what was going to happen next.

So March, the coronavirus was hitting headline news, the virus was hitting the UK hard and fast, vulnerable adults were told to shield – ‘wait did they say ‘vulnerable’?’ – my heart sank and I started to feel very nauseous. What was going to happen to my son, Arjan? And my mum who lives on her own in Derby? I felt at risk due to my conditions and I was extremely scared and anxious, all we knew was that we had to protect our families, getting this virus was out of the equation, so we made some changes like stopping his taxi to and from school and tried to eliminate most risks.

Two weeks prior to lockdown Arjan got a temperature at school, I rushed to pick him up feeling very scared hoping it was not the deadly virus, I also picked my youngest son Aryan from his school, my husband cancelled his work and we self-isolated for what we thought was two weeks to be 16 weeks, thankfully Arjan’s temperature went within a day.

During the beginning I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even talk about it, Sky News was always on, numbers were alarmingly increasing, you just felt that this was going to wipe out the world, and if you got it you had 50% of surviving. And then, I heard a doctor from London talking about the daily struggles he is seeing, masses of people dying with this virus and he urged people to stay home. He said “The virus won’t come through your letterbox”, and that changed my attitude towards the virus. I decided to take this opportunity with my beautiful family and enjoy our time. I became more grateful of my family, my house, our garden and our home gym, we made most of all the food in the house, waste was not an option and cleaned like you would not believe, my house has never felt so clean during these times.

With Arjan needing daily movement, he suffers a lot from a lack of concentration. However Red Boots School didn’t give us parents time to worry about the children missing out on their daily routine, as soon as lockdown arrived so did the Zoom meetings. Arjan did not miss out on his daily routine, physical programme or English, Maths, science, etc. During these times it gave us all a real insight into what the conductors do and our admiration for them grew. It was not a hard task to do, however, seeing all of the children Monday to Friday, seeing all the children adapting to the new world so easily was all thanks to the amazing school. I cannot explain the feeling I get when I talk about Red Boots, not only do they do fantastic work but it is genuinely a real family atmosphere, that’s when you know your child is in the best setting.

During the lockdown I noticed children continue to thrive, from seeing one child take independent steps, to seeing how clever the children are. When Arjan went back to school in July I genuinely felt he didn’t regress. He actually went from strength to strength, Covid did not get in his way all down to the quick thinking and adapting changes around the situation from this amazing school.

Just recently I read an article in my local newspaper which really deeply upset me, the local SEN school, concerns of 16 students not been able to go back to school, an extremely upset parent who was at the end of her tether stated the last time her son went to school was 30 weeks ago. To think her poor boy has not had the interaction with his peers, losing out on learning which was just upsetting, and again hit home how grateful we are that Arjan goes to Red Boots.

Now we are faced with financial struggles, it’s so devastating to see SEN schools struggling, businesses closing down, people being made redundant and it sickens me to feel how this has could affect Red Boots.

We know it’s not a great time to approach people for large donations. However it is the most important time for us all to think about spreading the word about this amazing school, without it Arjan wouldn’t be achieving the amazing milestones he has done to this date.

Ranjit Bhathal
NICE Parent