Henry’s Mum writes….

As the conversation flowed at the Circle meeting last night, a surprising question popped into my head: do we (still) need a facilitator? At moments, it felt as if we, the Circle members, were doing it for ourselves, could we do this on our own now? Did we still need a facilitator?

kathI’ve written before about the crucial role that Helen played in setting up the Circle, inviting members, setting ground rules. She’s worked carefully to put together a one-page profile and a job specification for people to work with Henry. She’s supporting us to put together a week for Henry that is centred on his interests and aspirations. Helen has taught us never to be constrained by other people’s low expectations, or by what has gone before, or what Henry might easily (and cheaply) be slotted into to suit the budgets of education and social care. So, now that is all in place, do we still really need a facilitator, after all, it feels like we’re doing it ourselves now.

And that is the key point, it feels like we’re doing it on our own because that’s what it feels like when the facilitation is done brilliantly. We are working together but the gentle and persistent guidance offered by Helen is underpinning everything we do.

One of the most remarkable things for me as the combat weary mother of an eighteen-year-old son labeled with a learning disability (with all that that entails!) has been the feeling that I now share the responsibility with the Circle members (Read Not being in Charge for more on how that feels). But I know that without Helen the responsibility would come back (or be taken back?!) by me.

At my work, we were recently asked to nominate for the annual staff awards. One of them was for ‘Unsung Hero’. I nominated our administrator and said in the nomination that he was an ‘unsung hero’ because he did his job so efficiently and seemingly effortlessly that it was almost as if he wasn’t doing anything at all, it is only when he’s not there that you realize everything he does. I think that the role of a facilitator is to be ‘an unsung hero’. But here I want to sing your praises Helen and thank you for everything you do!