We love a good book at Broccoli HQ, although Hannah much prefers chewing hers *sigh*. Anyway, we paid a trip to the bookshop recently and I chose a book called Dummy by Matt Coyne.
Matt writes about parenting from a dads perspective and he’s devised a game called Profanity Bingo – I won’t spoil it for you (just in case you ever do buy the book), but it’s a corker! And, as I was reading in bed the other night (attempting to stifle my lol’s so I didn’t disturb Hannah’s daddy – aforementioned stifles subsequently turned into snorts, you know, like they do…or is that just me?) I had a thought; we parents of children with additional needs could have our own bingo game.
…A Bingo game just for parents with children who have Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
But minus the profanity (apologies! sorry to be such a party pooper!).
I’ve never been to a bingo hall (I know! shocking, eh?) even though I think I’d quite like to go one day when I have time/energy. I’ve no idea of the rules either (I can almost hear lavender haired ladies all across our glorious land tutting and rolling their eyes at this disclosure…sorry! *cowers*). Nevertheless, in true Special Mama styl-ee I have done what I am particularly good at…winging it (don’t most parents do that anyway?)…and made it all up.
Just a heads up, here: please don’t take any bit of this post in any way seriously (although Special Parent’s may well recognise just a soupcon of sarcasm/reference to aspects of our lives/experiences etc here. Possibly)
Let’s go, shall we?…
Now, in order to ensure us SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) parents feel right at home, our SENDBingo™ halls will be:
• Absolutely miles away from your home – probably just like many of the appointments you need to take your kid to.
• All disabled parking spaces will be taken up by those without a permit, or our staff, or people ‘just nipping in there for a minute’. You’ll have to park down the road. It’s only about a third of a mile away. Just put your hood up if it’s raining and bring a torch if it’s dark. You lot are quite a resourceful bunch, anyway. Don’t be soft. You’ll be fine.
• Of course, all of our SENDBingo™ establishments opening times are designed to suit the requirements of our staff, NOT our clientele. You may be paying our wages, however that doesn’t mean the likes of you can dictate to US! *tuts*
• Our reception staff may treat you with disdain. You’ll get over it.
• There’ll be no ramps and suchlike. Our SEND Bingo Halls will be old and a bit crumbly, so all the regs and legislation around access and stuff won’t really apply to us. You’ll need to go up a couple of (seven) steps, then squeeze that wheelchair you’re pushing through that average size doorway and round a 90 degree bend. Oh, careful! Mind your knuckles…oh…too late!. Just give them a bit of a wipe and put a plaster on when you get home. We won’t take kindly to you bleeding on the carpet.
• Don’t even think about a proper disabled loo or changing space. That’s just silly and, quite frankly, a bit cheeky of you to ask! *rolls eyes* No, our perfectly apt single unisex toilet cubicle will be upstairs, down a dim pokey hallway. Just don’t turn around whilst you’re in there or you’ll catch your bum on the industrial size (empty) toilet roll holder. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure the floor’s nice and wet too.
• Our lighting and acoustics at SENDBingo™ have been carefully designed to give you THE ultimate experience of sensory overload. We consulted with our resident DJ – Disco Dave – because his neighbours’ cousin’s best friend has a granddaughter diagnosed with autism…so naturally, Dave’s the ‘Go to’ guy about anything to do with ASD. Obviously!
• Oh, and there’s no mobile phones allowed here. We don’t want someone frantically phoning you in an emergency. Ha ha ha!
So, you’re in the Bingo Hall. OK, settle down now, eye’s down…aaaaand we’re off…
But, hang on…
You won’t be hearing “Two fat ladies, rise and shine or even dancing queen” here.
Here at SENDBingo™ we’ve an alternative spin on proceedings. There’ll be no numbers on our cards – please refer to ours at SENDBingo© (pictured). There’ll be no bonus points for the stares either…you get far too many of those anyway!
Our hall will be filled with (mostly) well-meaning individuals and maybe even people you know. You will be forced to engage in discourse with these lot. Well, actually, I really mean, you’ll be talked ‘at’.
You see, these people are THE experts in YOUR life. They know FAR more about your child, their needs and diagnosis than you ever will. You’ll be given advice on how best to ‘cure’ your child or care for or stimulate them (and woe betide if you don’t take heed…you bad parent, you!). You’ll feel like a failure, patronised, pitied, scoffed at, looked down upon, insulted, be advised and questioned (i.e. interrogated purely out of nosiness, regardless of how painful that may be for you) and made to repeat your child’s condition over and over and over again until their eyes glaze over in that ‘I’ve-asked-you-but-I’m-really-not-remotely-interested-I’m-just-being-nosy-or-polite-or-whatever’ fashion.
Okay guys, Bingo dabbers at the ready. Start dabbing away when you hear or experience any of those things on your SENDBingo™ card. Let’s go…
Oooh! Well done you! You’ve won a prize!
Ah, now, hang on a minute.
We appreciate you’re probably on a low income and you’d much prefer financial remuneration, however, we don’t do cash here.
In fact, we don’t even stock any prizes.
What we require you to do now is put in writing what you need…we’ll then have a think about whether you can have it or not (again, just to make you feel right at home). You’ll need to respond within 5 working days of winning. What? You’ve got a week’s worth of juggling hospital appointments, therapy, EHCP meetings, going to work and 3 nights of being up all night with a poorly child.
Ah, too bad.
You’ll need to try harder, really. That just won’t do!
Still, if you can be bothered to make time to apply for one of our coveted prizes, you’ll have to wait a minimum of 6 months for us to consider your request whilst we sit around in an office shuffling papers, studying our computer screen (i.e. booking holidays/flicking through facebook) and looking busy (and telling everyone how VERY busy we are). We’ll then respond and send you a 45 page document to complete – in order to ascertain whether you are actually a worthy winner (and not a fraudulent person…you lot are a bit dodgy. Apparently!). All sections must be completed in full in a timely manner. You will need to disclose EVERYTHING about your life. By everything, we mean EVERYTHING…your finances, what you had for breakfast a week last Thursday, the name of your cat. We won’t keep any of this confidential, we’re rather partial to a bit of tittle-tattle at SEND Bingo ™, so we’ll make sure everyone’s suitably misinformed of our interpretation of you and your life. Oh, and if we don’t like the look of you, then we’ll just put your application in the bin. End of!
Once we’ve considered you a worthy winner (and, yes, we expect you to be very grateful), we’ll ship it out to you. We’ll decide the delivery date. You’ll need to be at home to receive it. We frown upon people going out gallivanting to appointments or ‘important’ meetings…you need to prioritise US, not anyone else. And don’t even think about not answering the door and having an afternoon snooze; you may’ve been up most nights playing nurse-maid recently, but that’s no excuse.
If you’re not in, we won’t leave a card to say we’ve been, we’ll expect you to get in touch with us. We’re FAR too busy to be chasing you around.
Them’s the rules!
So, there you go…SENDBingo™. Sounds fun eh?
Come along and join us!
(Annual Membership costs £1695.95 plus VAT – naturally, if it didn’t have SEND in the title, it’d only cost you £15.50 inc VAT on the high street.)
That’s all for now my lovelies.
Until next time…
Gentle reminder: As I mentioned earlier, none of this should be taken seriously…at all…ever. This is all fictitious.