MV contacted ASK in July 2014 shortly after her arrival from Antigua where she was unable to find support or suitable provision for her 8-year old son who’d been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD. After an internet search on special educational needs in Geneva led her to ASK-All Special Kids, MV made the dramatic decision to move to Switzerland, knowing that not only would she have a chance of suitable provision for her son, but also the support of other parents and of her family, who live in the Geneva region.

With the new school year approaching fast, MV was running out of time to find a place for her son. She was anxious and frustrated, knowing she wanted the best for him but didn’t have the information to know what the best was.

“The welcoming email from ASK made me cry and was spot on with what I needed to hear. After a phone call to the office where I was greeted with a sympathetic ear, I was offered a meeting for the next day for a parent consultation with Joy to see what she could do to help.”

“Joy suggested I didn’t over-emphasise my son’s problems and instead let the school assess what support was needed. She went on to propose a school I hadn’t even considered and, following a great meeting with the Head of Learning Support, my son was offered a place, where he is now happily settled. She also suggested that he attend ASK’s Annual Summer Camp to help him with his reading and social skills.”

“On the first day of camp, I found it very emotional to meet other children with special educational needs and their parents – a first for me. My son walked in and was clearly at home straight away, as he started to dance with Camp Leader Steve. I was amazed he did things he wouldn’t normally do, like play soccer, as he always says his brother is much better. Not only did my son play and enjoy soccer at camp, but he is still playing it at home. I was also surprised that he had no problems eating; usually he comes home from camp starving as he eats very slowly and never manages to eat enough. At ASK, he said the food was great, with snacks helping him to keep going.”

“I had no complaints from my son about studying during the holidays and after the first week it was clear he should stay on for another week. During this second week, I was with my younger son helping Joy prepare lunch, and she suggested he came along too. I’m not sure how ASK did it, but they turned him from a little devil into an angel. It’s the first time I’ve felt happy leaving the boys together with someone else as they usually fight. I was also astonished that my younger son, who likes to think he’s Mr Cool Guy, took part in the play on Friday afternoon; it’s the first time he’s ever agreed to do anything like this. Thanks to ASK’s sponsors, Joy was able to offer me financial support for the fourth week of camp, which otherwise would have been beyond my budget.”

“I found it truly impressive that my son got one-on-one tuition at ASK’s Annual Summer Camp. I was also amazed by the commitment and the maturity of the student volunteers. This was his first experience of camp with other children with learning differences, so I was very amused when, asked if he’d made friends, he said yes, but that there was a really weird kid there. This turned out to be a very tall student volunteer!”

“My message to ASK would be keep going; you’re doing the right thing as you’re providing a really valuable service for parents. Having a child with special educational needs can be a maze in terms of diagnosis and finding suitable provision. ASK was able to channel my needs into what was available and most suitable for my son and has helped me build a network of other parents.” (MV – mother)