Gail's Story

UPDATE:  Gail has recently stepped down from her role with the PACC Board after 2 years, due to taking on a new job role.

Hi, my name is Gail Hogan; I am mom of three children aged 18, 16 and 5. My youngest is Emelia, she has Down’s Syndrome. I joined PACC a few years ago so I could have contact with, and have information from, other parent carers who have been cast into this special world of having a child with a disability.

At PACC’s 2014 annual conference I was appointed as a committee member, I still remember thinking ‘uh oh, what have I done, what am I supposed to do, what if I do or say something stupid…’ the nerves went into overdrive. So what calmed my nerves? It was the amazing duo - Zara and Sarah.

I met with Sarah and spoke about my interests and areas of PACC that I might like to be involved in; we agreed I would join the Short Breaks and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities groups.

Zara was great ‘holding my hand’ at the first meeting I attended; the JAPP steering group. Hmm, 1st important question – what is JAPP? Joint Assessment and Pathway Planning. Hmm, 2nd important question – what is JAPP? It is a group of many who are all passionate about working in a joined up way in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, their families and the professionals working alongside them.

What was amazing about this meeting was the knowledge of all the professionals sitting around the table and their fundamental desire to put the child and family at the centre of what they were trying to achieve. It was surprising to see how much they looked to PACC for parent carer views and valued what PACC had to say. I didn’t realise just how much PACC is respected and taken seriously.

The feeling of knowing I am representing a huge group of Shropshire parent carers is wonderful. Learning about the ways of the world, well the JAPP and Short Breaks world and the world of PACC, has been great. I have shared my new knowledge with parent carers and the committee. I have shared parent and carers experiences and my views with the local authority.

Back to the original question, what is it like being a new committee member?

It’s great, being a part of a group who all want what’s best for children with SEND and their families. It’s a great feeling knowing I am part of a group who help to share parent carers’ views to the local authority in order to make a difference; whilst sharing information to parent carers in the hope of making a difference.

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