"Jay was only six when he was excluded from school. He has ADHD and because of that he struggled in a mainstream environment. You’re expected to sit still for substantial amounts of time and for someone like Jay that’s almost impossible. The exclusion had a big impact on Jay. He went from being a cheeky chap to a very angry and aggressive young boy. My self-esteem was really low. I just thought I was a rubbish parent and that it was all my fault. Over the next few years, it was so difficult to find a school that would provide the right support for him.
For Jay, it was so hard each time a school refused to take him. I’d even say it left him depressed. He wouldn’t come out of his room and I couldn’t get him to leave the house. He wouldn’t even do things he normally enjoyed doing, like swimming or dog-walking.
I wouldn’t say I was a regular churchgoer. I went at Christmas, Easter and maybe a couple of times in between. I just happened to be at church one day and they were talking about the TLG school they run. When I got home, immediately I googled it and I was so excited. Within two weeks, Jay was attending the TLG Education Centre.
As soon as he started TLG, everything changed. Now he wakes up on time because he loves school and he’s excited to go everyday. In fact, he doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day! I used to send him to primary school and I’d just have anxiety every day because I didn’t know what mood he was going to walk through the door in. 9 times out of 10 he’d come home really angry. I used to dread him coming home from school if I’m honest. Now I pick him up from school and I look forward to it because he’s excited to tell me all that’s happened.
I think the amazing thing about TLG is that it doesn’t matter how much the kids try to push the teachers away, the teachers just respond with love. Children know if the people supporting them care about them or whether they’re just doing it for a job. That’s what makes TLG different. They really do care about these children.
Since he’s been at TLG he’s been attending the church youth group too. That’s been absolutely massive for Jay. Last year he wanted to do paintballing as a birthday party and to go paintballing you needed to have a team of ten people but Jay didn’t know ten friends to invite. It was soul-destroying for me to see Jay so disappointed. But since going to the church youth group, he’s made friends and that’s had such an impact on him.
He decided to come with me to church last Sunday as welI. I kid you not, I literally could not get him out of church at the end. I think there were maybe sixother kids and they were just standing around, being teenagers and having a laugh. So now we’re planning his birthday party in April. He’s got friends so we’re actually able to go paintballing. He’s really excited. He also attended his first disco as well before Christmas. He’d never ever been to a disco. They somehow managed to get him up on the dance floor. Honestly, I could have cried. It was so lovely.
I can’t even put into words how much of a difference TLG has made in our lives. Within the space of a few months, it’s turned everything around for us. It was only October that I couldn’t even get him out of his room. It’s just incredible!
I’m able to go to church regularly now too. I’ve made friends there and I attend a group on Thursday mornings with some lovely ladies who are so supportive. I’ve met people who don’t even know us that are praying for Jay. I don’t have a family so it’s nice to know I’ve got a church family to pray and look out for me. We feel settled and it’s just a really lovely feeling. I feel like we’re exactly where we’re meant to be.”