Ill let you into a secret. Soli Lazarus is in fact my wife of 30 years.
For the majority of that time, she was Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in a mainstream school in N. London, where she ensured that children with physical and emotional learning disabilities could access the curriculum in the classroom and school environment.
Soli recently took early retirement and set up her own consultancy Yellow Sun, to help support parents of children with special needs-primarily ADHD-to manage their behaviour, relationships and learning.
Yellow Sun is a young business but is going from strength to strength with 1: 1 and group support, online courses, books, seminars, in school training and away day retreats for parents. Listen in and find out why Soli is so totally passionate about her work.
“If I told you today, in 2018 how much training teachers actually got at teacher training college for special needs—it’s a day. One whole day for special needs.”[3:36]
Teaching is all Soli has really ever done. After qualifying she went right into a school and worked, eventually becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator, or SENCO for short. While she loved the schools, children, and atmosphere, Soli couldn’t help but feel a pull to make a difference outside of the framework of the current school system.
Part of her pull towards working with children with special needs was our own son, who was diagnosed with ADHD. This made Soli click instantly with kids on the periphery of the school system, those that got singled out through the highly targeted, inflexible curriculum and teaching methods put forth by the school system.[12:18]
Support for special needs in the classroom has been a struggle to implement. When Soli first started teaching, words like Autism, ADHD, and Dyslexia didn’t exist in the vernacular. Children were just seen as disruptive, slow, or a product of careless parenting. Things have changed, with teachers becoming aware of the array of different diagnoses and learning disabilities that affect children—however, the support inside and outside the classroom is still lacking in many regards.[23:20]
Soli realized this year that she could make a greater impact outside the classroom, away from the bureaucracy and stringent, often strangling standards put in place. So, she took early retirement and began work on a consultancy she’d wanted to start: Yellow Sun. Yellow Sun’s principal aim is to support families with children who are diagnosed with ADHD. This aid comes in the form of 1:1 work, a book Soli has written, workshops, and even a mom-centric retreat she has planned for next year. The goal in her support is to create sustainable practices and support systems through a community of like minded families.
While the move from the closed bubble of the school system was scary, Soli is excited to see how much she’s accomplished already and where Yellow Sun is headed. The array of tools to support children with ADHD is more than ever before with apps, audio books, and other gadgets to help focus and maintain attention. Soli will be furthering the services she offers to her families through Yellow Sun and is sure to continue making a difference as the organization grows, and as a humble husband, continue to make me proud.