About Shiny Stone
Shiny Stone North West is a Community Interest Company that is dedicating itself to improving the lives of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities with a focus in the areas around children's mental health, relational and developmental trauma, Autism and Selective Mutism.
Born from a need to find appropriate resources and education to help their own children, the founders of Shiny Stone who are based on the Wirral have become educated themselves in various childhood developmental and mental health conditions. In their struggles, they have found a lack of available knowledge and training available in the North West of England regarding various childhood conditions.
Shiny Stone's aim is to provide training events in the North West of England making them available at an affordable cost to increase awareness and interventions for children with disabilities. Shiny Stone also provides support in group settings or a one to one basis for parents of children with Selective Mutism and other disabilities, this includes SEN law advice.
Sara Hirst-Watson - Managing Director
There is a saying that children are here to teach their parents. This has certainly been the case in our family.
Our children have faced the challenges of autism, Selective Mutism, severe anxiety and speech and language difficulties. Watching their heartbreaking struggles and desperately wanting to help them has sent me on a journey of research and discovery.
Trying to get the right help for our children has cost our family financially and emotionally. With all the knowledge I have learned I feel a new passion to share what I know and help children with neurological difficulties. It feels like going back to my previous career in engineering would be a waste of all this knowledge.
There are many families that are not able to do the research or pay financially for the right support, what happens to their future? By providing training to parents and professionals it is my hope that we can gradually begin to build a community of people who can help each other. That support will help our children to overcome their difficulties and have a brighter future.
Michelle Hirst-Watson - Director
As a parent of children with autism, Selective Mutism, speech and language difficulties and high anxiety I know the stresses and heartbreak of watching your children struggle to integrate into society. Watching them want to do activities but not be able to. I've a learned a lot on my journey that has helped and we have come a long way as a family. I have learned not only from professionals but also through our own research. Unfortunately there is a lack information and understanding in the world and at times it can feel like we are fighting a lonely battle. This is why I wanted to help set up Shiny Stone to help and educate people, to help children achieve their potential. The earlier you can help children the better the outcome will be. The better we educate and support our community the more collectively knowledgeable we become in the battle with mental health.
Margaret Price - Director
I was born in London shortly after the 2nd World War and moved to Wallasey in 1951. I attended St. George’s Road Primary School and then Wallasey High School. After leaving school I went to Edge Hill Teacher Training College where I trained as a Primary School teacher with special interest in Social Work.
In 1968 I started teaching at Egremont Primary School and then transferred to Moreton Special School which is now known as Stanley School. Soon after this my husband and I became Deputy Head and Deputy Matron of Wimbrick Hey which was a residential home for children from all over Cheshire with a variety of social problems. While in this job my husband and I fostered a fourteen year old boy in order to help him through his final years of school. Although I loved this role I missed teaching so I became Head of an Assessment Progress unit in Leasowe. This was a new initiative by Wirral Borough Council to help early identification of young children with special needs. One of my pupils needed a foster home so again we fostered him for fourteen years until he was old enough to go his own way.
In 1976 I retired from teaching to raise my family and run my own nursery from our house. After ten years I returned to teaching and remained at Grove Street Primary School for twenty-eight years until I retired in 2011. Now I am a full time volunteer manager of New Ferry Village Hall which I love.
My hobbies include gardening and baking.
Alex Bryant- Director
I’ve watched my friends become amazing parents of two amazing children, both of whom struggle daily with autism, Selective Mutism, speech and language difficulties and anxiety. I’ve watched both parents and children struggle to deal with day to day life, but more to the point I am amazed at how difficult it is for them to receive the help they want and need. How they have had to educate themselves in not only the needs of the children but also in SEN Law, simply because that help is not freely available. Every step to get help is a battle for them, which draws away strength and energy that could and should be focused directly on the children and themselves. For that reason, I was honoured to be asked to become a Director for Shiny Stone.
I was born in Stevenage, Hertforshire, and moved to the North West with my parents at the age of 10. I have a degree in Zoology and love Wolves and big cats. I have worked in retail for 17 years, 10 of which has been in the charity sector. I hope that my experience will be of some benefit to Shiny Stone and achieving its goals. My hobbies include baking, cross-stitch, gaming and taking care of my Labradoodle Copper.