A MUM whose son was diagnosed with special needs has made it her mission to deliver vital SEND sessions to groups and schools across the borough.

After previously working in the travel industry, Gaynor Kirrane requalified as a teaching assistant for children with special needs (SEND) following her son Harrison's diagnosis and witnessing the support that is available for children and their parents.

Explaining that there is a "massive lack of understanding" in special needs provision, and the Tyldesley mum-of-two launched 'SenSability' earlier this year to advocate for improved SEND provision, deliver sessions at local schools and community groups, and offer support and guidance for parents.

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Leigh Journal: Gaynor recording her 'Chaos and Calm' podcastGaynor recording her 'Chaos and Calm' podcast (Image: Gaynor Kirrane)
Since launching SenSability, which is registered as a community interest company, Gaynor has delivered inclusive sessions at Open Air Bounce, an outdoor inflatable park in Bolton, and training at East Leigh AFC, which has now launched under 9s, under 12s and under 16s special needs teams.

The 51-year-old also produces a podcast called 'Chaos and Calm' to deliver guidance and advice to parents of children with special needs, and will bring inclusive swimming sessions to the Pelican Centre in Tyldesley in February.

Leigh Journal: Gaynor's son Harrison at the Open Air Bounce sessionsGaynor's son Harrison at the Open Air Bounce sessions (Image: Gaynor Kirrane)
Gaynor, who works as a special needs assistant at a mainstream school in Leigh, said: "As Harrison was diagnosed with autism and ADHD, and I work as a special needs assistant, I've got the parent's view and the education view on SEND povision, and I see myself as a kind of bridge for parents.

"I kept being approached by more and more parents about SEND advice, and this continued until someone told me I should take this further, which is how SenSability came about."

Leigh Journal: Gaynor launched 'SenSability' in March and has had a great response from parentsGaynor launched 'SenSability' in March and has had a great response from parents (Image: Gaynor Kirrane)
After delivering her initial sessions in Bolton and Leigh, Gaynor said some of the parents have been "gobsmacked" at the level of care, support, and inclusiveness, compared to what they are used to.

She said that while some businesses and community groups do have SEND sessions, they are often not run by people who have children with special needs and therefore do not completely understand the complexity of the condition or what support should be offered to parents.

After hearing increasing concerns about special needs provision, the Tyldesley mum wants to grow the community interest company even further, by delivering more sessions to groups across the borough as well as training and advocacy in schools.

Leigh Journal: SEND sessions have also been delivered for players and coaches at East Leigh AFCSEND sessions have also been delivered for players and coaches at East Leigh AFC (Image: Gaynor Kirrane)
Gaynor added: "The response from parents at our initial sessions has been amazing, and many of them have been gobsmacked at how well run they were.

"There are SEND sessions and facilities out there but there seems to be a massive lack of understanding about the appropriate support, and this often results in parents staying at home with their children and not getting out.

"It just felt like there was a massive need for SEND training in different settings and to make places much more inclusive.

"It's just me running the group at the moment but I'm really passionate and love what I do, so after seeing the response from parents, I want to spread this as much as possible across the borough and the whole of the North West."

For more information about SenSability, you can visit the website here.