Tag Archives: disabled

The UK Governments Definition of Happiness

27 Feb

Just when you think the UK government couldn’t get any dirtier, they go that one step further to strike up anger, in their mission to cut the number of claimants claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) amongst a string of other benefits, Job Seekers being top of their list!

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have drawn up a plan which consists of blackmail, good old fashion blackmail!

The long-term sick and disabled will be told…

Engage in unpaid work for an unlimited amount of time or have your benefits cut!

Now, I’m fully aware that there are a huge amount of people claiming these benefits, when in reality a good dose of work is what the doctor ordered, however, lets not paint everyone with the same brush!

Now, I hear the government calling this voluntary work, but I can’t see how threatening to cut somebody’s benefits is voluntary?

But hang on… there will be a medical assessment first, right? Oh, yes, a controversial assessment conducted by those already considered incapable of giving anything other than a dishonest, flawed service! Lets be honest, we’ve heard how fair these assessments are, haven’t we?

There are some people with certain conditions that couldn’t possibly be assessed over one afternoon or a few even. Those on the autism spectrum will be particularly disadvantaged! Autism, a condition that takes so long to diagnosis, as a result of a string of complex assessments, interviews and observations (but, yes, this does require both time and money, something our government are usually reluctant to give)!

Nonetheless, I didn’t want to blog about the whole mess that is the governments medical assessment process, regardless of its relevance to the topic at hand, I want to talk rant about these proposed plans of blackmail inflicted on our societies most vulnerably.

Firstly, few important points need making…

Now, if there really isn’t enough work for today’s unemployed then surely there isn’t enough voluntary positions! I guess that those involved, those happy to be part of the governments plans, will suddenly find work for those forced to undertake it, am I in anyway right?

What happened to the requirement of a least a C pass rate in English and Math’s GCSE results when applying to work in the majority of UK establishments including that of McDonalds? This is one of the reasons why the unemployment rate was reported to have rapidly risen! So, my point being, what about those claiming, not only DLA, but any other benefit, who are being forced into unpaid work, will they require the same GCSE results as those applying for paid positions… I’m, guessing NOT, how disgraceful is that!

What about those on medication receiving DLA will this automatically make them qualify as fit for work?

Why would those high street retailers and public bodies bother employing those seeking paid positions if the
Government is handing them workers on a plate, one’s being forced to work in-order to get by and live? Surly this will only make things more impossible for those seeking paid work opportunities!

Do the government not realise how conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome consist of certain traits all with varying degrees of difficulties with social communication and interaction, as well as a whole host of others? It’s not just a case of being able to bend over and touch your bloody toes.

Nonetheless, what a great idea, for those who are actively trying to get their foot back in the workplace, those happy to participate in such a programme… it’s our basic human right to choose… isn’t it? To actually make such a big proposal a compulsory one is nothing other than immoral! Who, will make all these important work placement decisions for those with complex mental health needs, how can someone from the DWP, be qualified to have this degree of health expertise, the degree needed to make such huge discussions. Where is the safeguarding for those with these long term mental health problems?

The DWP made a statement claiming that what they are doing is a supportive measure and claimants will only be asked to do things suitable to their personal circumstances! Yet, as we know, the DWPs idea of suitable isn’t one many of us share, how can it be, what with what they’re proposing, seriously!

The Wrag (work related activity group) already consists of sanctions, such as a benefit cut for missed appointments. I myself have been told recently that my benefit will face a small cut, for an interview I wasn’t even aware of. Now what annoys me is the fact I’m a career who actually already volunteers giving time to a UK charity each week. I didn’t just get such a position, I trained hard for a year to do so, without any encouragement from the DWP, purely of my own accord! Isn’t this considered work then? As both a career and an existing volunteer, is nether considered to be actual work then? If they are sanctioning me, then what hope does anyone else have, those currently not careering or volunteering in unpaid positions. That’s not all though, I was also informed that the rescheduled interview will now take place as part of a group… Well, that’s great isn’t it!

You, hear murders and rapist claiming they have been breached of human rights and as a result of such claims they are left laughing in the face of the Government and British Justice System! Yet, here’s our government, one rumoured to have spent over 90 million on the 2012 Olympic Games, exploiting the human rights of those with an illness or disability, forcing them into unpaid work that could potently lead them down a messy road. Who’s going to pick up the pieces when those with serious mental health conditions and developmental disorders hit worrying depressive lows, self harm or worse!

The DWP may be saving their pennies, yet the bill to the NHS will undoubtedly rise.

Maybe one of the most disturbing things is the possible truth to the rumour that those with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of over 6 months with be expected to participate in the DWPs demands or face the sanction at an advisors discretion… can our UK Government be this bloody cold hearted to the dying?

Not so long ago, I reported on the blog, how a certain MP had publicly stated that those with disabilities should work for less then the minimum wage, many were appalled by such a discriminating, ignorant comment, and it would seem that the Government was too. Yet not so long down the line, here we are… was this a plan that always lay in the pipeline?

English: David Cameron's picture on the 10 Dow...

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It saddens me that , most of the British public put their faith and hope in the new formed coalition government with its promises of a better ran country (myself not included)! David Cameron was even said to have urged politicians to concentrate more on improving peoples’ happiness and general well-being as opposed to solely focusing on financial wealth, yet it’s been nothing but misery for a large percentage of the UK population, especially for those registered disabled or those who are careers to the disabled. We have watched as some of the most relied upon services have been closed down before our eyes, respite crawly removed, leaving careers on the blink of insanity, while parents to children with special educational needs are fighting harder than ever to obtain an efficient education for their children!

Take the London riots as an example, the man who runs the country was tanning himself in Italy whist families, in their mission to remain alive, jumped out of windows , leaving behind a burning inferno they used to call home.

Another example of the crap that has been thrown upon us since this coalition got their boot in the door, would be that of the Prime Minister’s trip to Pakistan where he handed over a huge sum of money to improve the countries education standards, as way of making amends for his past comments.

However, not only was this a kick in the teeth for those british citizens like myself, struggling to get an efficient education (if one at all) for their children, what with the local authorities continued claim that there was little or not enough funding within its budget, at a time where we struggled on during the height of a recession, the PM handed the massive amount of money to a government harbouring one of the worlds most wanted terrorist! Given the fact the PM had already made suggestions indicating that he actually believed such could be happening, but still to wave the cash about, is actually the ultimate example of disrespect to one’s own people!

Concentrating on societies happiness as opposed to its wealth! Oh… now I understand what he meant! Soon enough we would all be penniless… but never mind, we always have happiness to cloth and feed the kids! As for the disabled and mentally ill, well, they will have the happiness of waking up every morning, getting dressed and heading to that unpaid job they loath love so much!

And the Government?

Well, they lived happily ever after, didn’t they!

Are you unintentionally taking from a child with additional/complex needs or a serious illness

28 Jan

As a parent to a child with Aspergers Syndrome who writes about the condition and runs a support group, I’ve come to hear about a number of charitable organisations designed to assist the child with additional/complex needs or serious illness along with their families! One of these organisations is the ‘Family Fund’ an organisation that’s aim is to assist those families described above in way of providing them with grants to assist in a number of areas. This can be in a way of providing families with a means to purchase essentials, such as a washing machine to replace one that has broken, a contribution to a parents driving lessons to make getting about far easier, family fund even provide families with vouchers to enable them to enjoy a family break together in UK resorts such as Haven and Butlin’s holiday camps. Some families are even offered assistance to enable them to enjoy a trip aboard and this is done in way of providing the family with ‘Thomas Cook Holiday Vouchers’ known as the “Happy Holiday Vouchers” 

 However, lately it would seem that a certain number of families are accruing such assistance on false pretences. This is being achieved as it has come to light that a certain number of applicants are falsely obtaining Thomas Cook vouchers, only to sell them on for their own financial gain.

 Family fund has recently highlighted how huge a problem this is becoming as more and more reports are being given by the public, all stating that they have either been offered these vouchers to buy at a reduce price, of that of their overall value, or they have come across advertisements/ads on Facebook groups from members trying to sell this vouchers. 

 Family fund regrettably cannot help everybody that applies and due to the growing numbers of applications made on a yearly basis, its pretty common for the fund to offer an award much smaller than they would have liked to give. The families who are obtaining these vouchers for they own greedy need, are actually depriving families who could really benefit from such help. 

 Despite the difficult funding environment of today, the Family Fund continue to assist as many families as they possibly can with the added help of donations and fundraisers stepping in to offer their help. The Funds last annual review of 2010/2011 shows how the fund was able to help support some 56,700 families across the UK. Yet, we now have to ask ourselves, just how many applications were in fact genuine? 

 What is somewhat harder for me and many others, to understand, is the fact that those selling tickets online are actually families of a child with a serious illness or disability! These parents should know more than anyone how much these grants make a difference to those families applying. They are not only depriving their own child, but hundreds more, by gaining tickets given in good will, only to sell them to gain 100% profit. 

 Have you recently brought any of these tickets? Have you seen any “Thomas Cook Holiday Vouchers” known as the “Happy Holiday Vouchers” which clearly display the family fund logo, being sold on facebook groups or pages? Maybe you have seem them on local parenting pages or free ads like gum tree or even Ebay as displayed here

 I decided to blog about this today as I have many parenting bloggers on my reading list as well as twitter and facebook list. Like me many of these readers/followers use such forums and I am asking for you all to keep a watchful eye out for these vouchers.

 If you do see any, or have accidently obtained some, please contact the Family Fund on their Facebook Page and help stop the unlawful selling of these tickets and also the reissuing of these tickets to the families involved! Remember, members of the Family Fund can apply on a yearly basis, we need to stop the scum in their tracks!

 Thanks for reading 

Claire Louise

The end of a chapter

28 Feb

We’ve come to the end of the chapter

I feel allevated, somewhat calm and strangely satisfied!

I feel we’ve been given the green light, and we can finally proceed with life.

Its all over and I couldn’t be anymore pleased that it’s finally come to an end!

Four days before the SENDIST hearing which was due to take place today, the settlement agreement went through.Yes, sometime during the beginning of this month I finally agreed to a settlement offered on behalf of Little man’s Governing body at his old mainstream primary school (the one I finally pulled him from during December 2010)

A formal apology signed by the head-teacher on behalf of the school and governing body addressed to myself and Little man. Within the letter is a list of incidents they particularly wished to apologise for. This included: being video interviewed on a school trip without parental consent, any distress caused to little man by way of isolation & exclusion, communication could have been better, more reasonable adjustments should have been made, visual timetable not always up to date.

There was a number more, but I think you get the point.

They agreed to training before July 2011 and to review there policies by the same date.

I requested that the letter be signed by the head-teacher, “what would a letter of apology mean to a child with aspergers (or any child for that matter), given by a person they do not even know (governing body)” This was agreed, to which I signed the agreement and withdrew my appeal for Disability Discrimination.

Of course this won’t be an end to little mans school battles, we have yet to face his transition back into a school enviroment (special school) from the one-to-one home tuition he is currently receiving at the library for a total of 5 hours a day, 25 hours per week. As stated in my post before last, Little man has stamped his feet and let it be known that “I’m never ever, ever, going back to school.”

The letter of apology doesn’t make all his fears disappear his still extermely affected by the treatment he incurred why at this school, the countless exclusions, the misunderstandings, not allowed on trips, refusal to allow his participation in school activities, the hurt, confusion and pain it caused.

However now he knows it wasn’t his ‘fault’ he wasn’t to blame (well, 99% of the time) You see there were of course times when he was a ‘typical’ 10 year old child, after all his no angel! It’s not like I would challenge every sanction they imposed (no matter what they may say)

I have watched him over these past few months slowly become less angry at the world and himself. He seems more excepting of the person he is! It’s not as if everything is suddenly perfect, of course not, we have some way to get there yet. There are days he sits and ponders on the things that happened, referring to himself as “not normal, different and misplaced,” other days his smiling huge happy smiles.
They are the days you cling to.

For me the letter means closure. The thankful end to a messy, tiring, soul destroying experience. His just 10 years old so undoubedly we have many more battles to come, I’m not walking around with my head in the clouds thinking, “from this day on, our life is all rosy”. We are still awaiting the final statement of special educational needs being issued from the LEA. The chances that my suggested amendents if any are copied into the statement is looking somewhat grim, and let’s face it, the chances that my preferred school will be named in part 4 is “atrociously” low with the prospect of me having to make an application for yet another appeal being practically set in stone! Some may call me a pessimist I prefer the term “realist”. Let’s face it parents who made us think this way?

Communicating, helping, sharing and just speaking to thousands of other parents and carers through this blog, my facebook page and the extending on/off line community only opens my eyes that bit wider, reminding me that I’m not the only one, little man’s not the only one! There is such an outstandingly huge number of us fighting the same daily stressful battles (normally education based) that technically we as parents, carers, children, human bloodly beings should not need to face.

I hope that Little man’s school did “really” learn something from little man and somewhere down the line, somehow, something good comes from this mess. I hope that if one day near or far, Little man’s school are expected to educate a child like him again, they do so with much care and support enabling that child to succeed in all areas possible. Most of all I hope that child is 100% happy with the person he is and is never made to feel he isn’t valued and worthy of respect, that his existence is worth nothing!

So now I turn over the page and start a new chapter.

With this new chapter I wonder what life will bring?

I’m no psychic, but you can bet your life on it, it won’t be dull! As much as I’d like it to be, we don’t do dull and ordinary in our house!

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