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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than a 'How To' Book on Special Needs, 1 Feb. 2005
By 
Linda Gardner (Lake Charles, Louisiana U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
I stumbled upon Sandy Row's book Surviving the special educational needs system: How To Be A 'Velvet Bulldozer' and was happy that I had. It has all the elements of a good bedtime read-the drama of a family with four adopted children being taken on a roller coaster ride through the educational system of the U.K. Even as an American reading this book, I found myself riveted with the stories of each of these children and their personal demons and struggles with the educational system, and I was impressed with the plethora of information that was provided by their mother about how to access the agencies and institutions who might help. Sandy's writing style is very personally engaging. Her voice of desperation, leading to determination, followed by eventual victory make this book very appealing. It should provide hope for those parents seeking educational services for their special children. Read this book and become empowered with the resources out there that are available to you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring essential for every parent of a child with SEN, 5 Sept. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
A year after our daughters diagnosis of severe dyslexia and dyspraxia, my husband and I have found ourselves at odds with the school over my daughters inadequate provision and about to prepare to fight the LEA to get them to provide our bright yet frustrated and underachieving daughter with a much needed Statement of special educational needs and hopefully into a school which is specialised enough to meet her appetite for learning while teaching her in a way she can cope with and understand.
The special needs system appears to be hugely complex and overwhelming, designed it seems to be as inacessible and bureaucratic as could be possible to prevent parents obtaining help for their children until they are at their very lowest ebb( and if you arent already there, it appears the system will push you just that bit further!)Staff at my daughters school said 'You'll only get it if you fight, forget it, you wont win'
Just when we needed advice most we discovered this wonderful book. No nonsense, straight talking, detailed yet reassuring we now feel far better prepared for the task which lies ahead.We feel empowered and inspired by this 'ordinary' supermum and dad took on the system not only once, but repeatedly and did manage to 'win' the provision they needed for their children, who by the end of the book I found myself caring about and willing them and their parents on through their fight. I devoured this book in one sitting and have referred to it repeatedly in moments of self doubt and times when Ive thought what if the LEA do this?? what then?... the answers lie within the pages.
Thank you Sandy Row for this wonderful gift you have given me and my husband. The priceless benefit of your experiences
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration encouragement and good advice, 7 July 2005
By 
J. Saggers (Pershore, Worcestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
I read most of this book in one sitting it was so interesting. For anyone who has ever been dictated to by "experts" who claim to know what's best for their children,I would say read this book and be encouraged to stick to your guns and like Sandy the author - DON'T give up.
Sandy's own story makes an inspiring read and there is also lots of useful information on how to deal with education authorities and the special educational needs system which she has had to learn the hard way and is keen to pass on to other people in the same position.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful but layout isn't user friendly, 14 April 2013
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This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
A very inspiring book about the authors fight to get adequate support for each of her four children. I'm astonished how much this lady and her husband accomplished with long, drawn out battles with the educational authorities.

My only gripe is that all the information on how the system works, problems you might encounter etc, is all mixed together with sandy row's account of her own experiences. This makes it hard to find information easily (especially when you know you found something in there which you want to check again), and I feel it takes away from the power of her own story. It would be much better to split the book into two sections, the narrative in one, the nuts and bolts of how-to in the other.

I would recommend this book to anyone starting out with the the SEN system, but be armed with sticky notes to mark the pages you need to come back to!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!, 16 Mar. 2006
By 
Mark W. Muir "caroline6505" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
This has to be one of the best books that I've read on this topic so far. The author gives an insight into the trials and tribulations of life with her adopted children that each has an austic spectrum disorder as well as having other problems/difficulties. After reading the first few chapters I was really disheartened and thought how on earth am I going to manage to deal with my situation as Sandy is very forthright about how she's had to fight 'tooth and nail' to get a diagnosis for each child as well as a proper education, etc. However, Sandy's just been honest and realistic about the difficulties she's faced and gives a great deal of invaluable advice. I found this book to be a combination of sad, touching, and heartwarming and gave me real strength to face whatever is ahead of me in my quest for a diagnosis for my son. I think because the author hasn't just clocked on a 9am and went home at 5pm (she's experienced the highs and lows), she tells it like it is. I'd highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A DIFFERENCE A BOOK CAN MAKE, 5 Oct. 2009
By 
E. Horton (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
As the parents of an autistic child we needed a friend with the experience to guide us through the special educational needs system. That's what this book is, it makes you laugh out loud and cry into your pillow and for parents like us shows you the way, points out the possible pitfalls and arms you with useful information the LEA doesn't want you to have. Its not a clinical view of how things should be but an honest account of how things really are!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book review, 2 May 2009
This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
Worth every penny. This book was recommended to me when we started going through the Educational Statementing Process. The book is easy to read, informative and the humour in the book makes you smile.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Advice for parents with Autistic children, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
This is a handbook for parents trying to get the help they need for their autistic child/ren. The author has described in detail how hard it was to get local authorities to acknowledge her chilgrens needs and get their rights observed. Detailed, with even how to fill in the forms.
Essential reading if this is your situation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUST MUST BUY, 7 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
I am the parent of a special needs child and this book provided me with invaluable templates and guidance that I have needed and used in my constant battle with the powers that be to provide what is in the best interest of my child. Any parent of a child that needs to be statemented or that already is should buy this book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brill excellent, 21 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Surviving the Special Educational Needs System: How to be a 'Velvet Bulldozer' (Paperback)
should of read this years ago. I felt empowered to tackle the LA on getting what my child deserves. Would highly recommend for any parent tackling the SEN system.
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