Tag Archives: government cuts

Would You Give Him A Chance?

23 Aug

Firstly, thank you to all my lovely readers, twitter followers and Facebook friends, who took the time to read my Little mans inspiring post that he has published over on his very own blog.

The re-tweets on twitter, shares on Facebook, 100 + page views and that of a comment left on his post has put a huge smile on his face and a spring in his step. My Little man is now beaming with confidence.

It’s a big thing getting your voice heard, especially for my son who has real difficulties when it comes to expressing himself. Having seen his finished post, I think that writing may just be the answer for him.

Those who read the post have sent me some lovely tweets and messages, all congratulating me for raising such a well focused and inspiring child. Thank you to you all, I am extremely proud!

When Little man had finished writing his post, he asked for my opinions before sharing it with the world. He told me in no uncertain terms, that he didn’t wish to receive any feedback from myself as his mother but from that of a blogger (smarty pants). I really don’t know what it was I expected to read, maybe something about his special interests, WWE and transport (maybe a little Lego thrown in for good measure). But what I did read was actually something very different! I sat trying to hide my tears, one’s built upon happiness (little man doesn’t get the whole “I’m crying because I’m happy scenario”). Reading his thoughts, that of his emotions was insightful. It demonstrated the progress his made both mentally and emotionally! I felt immensely proud and as he hit the publish button my stomach did summersaults with excitement.

Now, as great as the content was, it did raise a number of questions within my own mind! The first being “Will my sons determination to succeed be enough to actually make it happen?” Now, please don’t get me wrong, I believe in my child, I believe that Aspergers Syndrome will not make him any less able to achieve his dreams, at 11-years-old he has already made it very clear that he wants to be the next Richard Branson, owning a string of businesses. Honestly, I don’t doubt his ability to make this more than just a dream. What I do doubt is that of our society and it’s ability to overcome the ignorance of today!

No, he doesn’t want to become an employee for an employer, he wants an investor to hear his ideas and label them as a good investment. Only, looking at today’s statistics even when it comes to basic employment, the odds are highly stacked against those on the Autism Spectrum in the same way they are stacked against those who experience mental health problems. Yes, Little man is quite clearly intelligent, but intelligence isn’t always the key needed to open every new door.

I’m not being negative, I believe my son has the capability to achieve anything he puts his hand to. However, as a parent I need to be realistic, exploring every possible hurdle that might come our way. You see, it’s not like we’re not used to a fight, we’ve fought our fair share of battles and come out on top . Preparation is the key to to enabling change for all!

So, let’s just look at the statistics here.

Only 15% of adults on the autism spectrum (ASD) in the UK are in full-time paid employment.

51% of adults with ASD in the UK have spent time with neither a job, nor access to benefits, 10% of those having been in this position for a decade or more.

61% of those out of work say they want to work.

79% of those on Incapacity Benefit say they want to work.
full statistical report concentrating on issues of education, employment and autism can be found by Clicking Here

This doesn’t look good does it?

Last year I wrote about a first meeting I had with a friend of mine. This friend was someone I met through Facebook, an adult diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. At that current time he was unemployed due to no fault of his own. We are not talking someone just out the gates of secondary school but a full grown man with an impressive background in education. His interest in working with computers is a real passion of his, that when combined with his IT degree, makes him highly employable. Nonetheless, this friend of mine has actually worked before and done so on more than a few occasions. Sadly he always finds himself jobless again.The fact he isn’t great in social situations doesn’t help and he is normally dismissed for something beyond his control, like the time his employer failed to give him direct instructions meaning that he was left looking like he was failing to produce enough work. He won’t ask for directions, he doesn’t feel that he can approach and ask, it’s not in his nature and the employer knew this! While in this particular position, he was sat at a desk in a corner, a corner that was a good distance from his colleagues! He was not encouraged to interact so he kept himself to himself till home time when he would then unload all the days stress that he had kept suppressed throughout the working day.The Treatment was clearly that of discrimination in the workplace.

My friends most recent position was not given on a permeant basis, though it was made clear from the offset that such positions would become available once the term of “employees contract” had ended. There was at least 10 others taking the same position meaning all contracts would come to an end together at the same time. However, when this did happened, no one mentioned to my friend the prospect of maybe continuing on the job in a more permanent fashion. My friend asked and was told that he was not needed. It turns out that the other nine or so employees who started work for the company at the same time on the same day with the exact same contract, all ended up being offered full-time placements. What had my friend done wrong? He did nothing wrong! He had just been open and honest with his former employee when he told them he had a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome.

The treatment above, isn’t something unusual and unheard-of! It’s something that many experience and do so on a daily basis… Yes, as if things were not hard enough during them school years!

My sons idea to make his own business is quite honestly one of brilliance! It removes the employer completely from the equation therefore allowing Little man to be himself without fear of judgement. However, to do this he needs someone to invest in his proposal (the one his had since age 9)! Now I ask you high flying business men & women out there… Regardless of how sensational my sons proposal may or may not be, if he then told you he had Aspergers Syndrome would you continue to take him seriously?

A recent documentary that I’m guessing many of you saw or at least heard about, documented how discriminating employers can be when they see an applicant has stated within their application form, that they have a diagnosis of a neurological condition such as Aspergers or that of a condition that falls under the mental health umbrella. Undercover reporters captured the shocking footage that clearly showed how discriminating such employers really are. The shocking truth revealed that actually society haven’t actually moved on as much as some first thought they had!

We need less prejudice and more faith in a persons ability regardless of any attached labels. The results would be a decrease in the unemployment rate and more efficient services provided to society by those joining the workplace! There would also be a noticeable decrease in the number of people diagnosed and treated with depression as well as a reduction in the number of services and benefits affected by government cuts.

It’s a big ask… The removal of societies ignorance! Realism takes hold off me and with it, I prepare for the future and whatever it may bring.

What I do know for sure is… Little man will make it, because his a fighter and I’ll be there supporting him all the way!

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I wonder how many people who have declared a diagnosis of ASD or mental health problems, actually have a job here?

As Britain has its education system affected by government cuts, Cameron invest £650m in Pakistani schools

6 Apr
David Cameron is a British politician, Leader ...

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Its my 29th Birthday today and instead of starting my day on a high, I instead woke up to an unwanted kick in the guts from the one and only David Cameron.

IS CAMERON DELIBERATELY TRYING TO TURN THE BRITISH PUBLIC AGAINST HIM?

Well, that is what supporters he has left! I for one would absolutely love to give him a piece of my mind (amongst other things)

So, what’s the man who runs the country (very badly) gone and done now? Well, brace yourselves folks as this is a tad disturbing! Mr Cameron has only gone and promised Pakistan a nice big fat check of…. WAIT FOR IT£650 Million to invest in….. WAIT FOR IT.….. Pakistani schools!

And why is he doing this? To make amends for the diplomatic rift caused by no other than that of himself. Last year Mr Cameron accused the country of, ‘Looking both ways on terrorism’ and this is the PMs way of an apology. “CAMERON, GET THEM A BUNCH OF FLOWERS MATE” I’m personally fuming with this man! Our education system is facing huge cuts, my son doesn’t have a school place and only yesterday I heard that primary school’s are so full that the possibility of primary school units being attached to secondary school’s looks more likely by the minute.

The A boy with Asperger’s support page I created on Facebook is fit to burst when it comes to parents with children on the spectrum that are not getting their special education needs met both in and out of school. What does it all boil down to? Money!!! We are totally sick of having to go to tribunal to fight for hours to be placed in part 3 of our children’s statements, “That’s those who are lucky enough to have a statement.” Many parents are still right at the starting pointing, battling for the statutory assessment their children require the LEA to perform, a process that takes forever.

We are short on school’s and there were many that were promised re-builds that have now been told to dream on! Special school’s are far and few between and if your lucky enough to get your child into your preferred special school or any school for that matter, they still may not receive the full support they need due to the schools being so overcrowded that the staff are teaching in makeshift classrooms, e.g… shipping carts, school hallways, cleaning cupboard, etc.

I’m sorry forks if you think I’m out of line here, but I’m only speaking up for what I believe to be an injustice to our country. I am all for giving to other needy countries the world pulling together and all that, however I have a child who has been dragged through the mill as a result of a system that is meant to provide him with an adequate education (Yep, the Ed Act 96 states that the child must be provided with an adequate education not the best, which makes it harder for a parent to battle against LAs when not naming the parents preferred school in a child’s statement) It’s shameful that the UK government even fail to ensure that an education of even this level is provide.

My point is, ” PAKISTAN SPEND ONLY 1.55 PER CENT OF ITS NATIONAL INCOME ON SCHOOLS BUT IS PLACING BILLION-POUND ORDERS FOR SIX CHINESE SUBMARINES AND 36 FIGHTER AIRCRAFT” As reported by the daily mail this morning.

The Daily Mail also reports that, “BRITAIN IS ALSO TO GIVE HIGHLY SENSITIVE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY TO COMBAT ROADSIDE BOMBS TO THE PAKISTANI SECURITY SERVICES, WHICH ARE WIDELY BLAMED FOR FUNDING AND ARMING THE TALIBAN.”

“Oh my God” If this is correct then I can’t see how this man is still allowed to run our country! Not only is he providing £650 million pounds to invest in Pakistani schools when our own schools are struggling to provide a good enough education it’s been made even worse since the new government come into power and decided to implement cuts to a service that is already failing due to funding, but they are also risking the lives of our own troops in Afghanistan when going as far as offering to spend further millions on a centre of excellence for for the countries soldiers and spies in an area of militancy. What worries me is that Cameron was unable to answer the question of whether he was able to guarantee that the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) will not hand such technology to the Taliban!

HOLLY BLOODY COW! This guy is playing with the life’s of our brave troops and our children’s future. I’ve always hated politics, I try avoiding it completely but sadly as you grow up and have children you realise things that you can’t ignore and it’s all based upon money and status, which really makes me sick!

Cameron defends his actions by claiming it’s in our best interest to invest and help Pakistan, if they are a success we’ll have a good friend to trade and invest with! He then went on to state that if Pakistan fail we will face problems of migration of extremism, So, its therefore in Britain’s interest that they succeed!

Here’s my thoughts on such a statement,

Oi Cloth ears, I don’t want a bloody friend (I HAVE ENOUGH OF THOSE ALREADY THANK YOU!), What I want is for you to do what is right by my child and billions more like him here in the UK. I want you to stick outrageous amounts of cash into our education system, build more schools, put a stop to this silly delegated funding that is happening. I like many parents don’t want to go to the SEN tribunal to fight for my child’s right to be awarded a place in a school that can meet his needs when there is no others that can (BELIEF ME I’VE LOOKED) I want hours clearly stated in part 3 of Little mans statement (That’s my son by the way!) I want an individualised speech and language programme with a specific amount of hours dedicated to such a programme and specified in again part 3 of his statement. This is just some of what my child needs! You are handing out ridiculous sums of money to a country who doesn’t even need it! (SUBMARINES AND AIRCRAFT’S DON’T COME CHEAP) Don’t get me wrong, in no way do I blame the Pakistani people for this, It’s not their fault that those above them choose to spend just 1.55 per cent of its budget on education, However it’s not our fault either! Furthermore Sir Cameron… I want British troops who risk their lives for our country to receive a water tight guarantee that they will not be at risk anymore then they already are! By this I am not accusing the ISI of any wrong doing that’s not my job, I’m merely stating that if you cannot guarantee that the ISI will not share your gift with the Taliban then you are a bad man to take such a gamble. These man have family who do not wish to greet them home in a box! If you wish to apologise for remarks that you made which offended the Muslim nation… then do it the normal way with a shake of the hand and a gift of a smaller nature. That way you can come home and start making something of our schools (OR LACK OF THEM) If you do fancy being charitable then how about helping out Japan? Given that this is a place where schools are being re-built from scratch due to the recent disaster!”

LASTLY, I HAVE ONE QUESTION TO ASK OF MR DAVID CAMERON, “ARE THE GOVRENMENT TELLING BIG FAT PORKIES, IS THIS COUNTRY REALLY IN DEBT AS A RESULT OF THE LABOUR PARTY?” Please feel free to comment as to let myself and my readers know your answer.

Well, that feel’s a little better having got that of my chest! For all of you that work, when you get your next pay packet and feel a little sick at the large amount of money missing due to the amount of tax taken from you by the government then remember what the government is using it for. I’m not going to sit here and moan on and on about tax payers money as I pay so little right now, given that I’m a full-time carer for my children, one of which has Aspergers possible ADHD and special educational needs and currently has no school place. But before anyone decides to get on their high horse, I should mention that all my spare time is used to help the wider community as I’m a volunteer. Basically yes I do work! I just don’t get paid for it. My work is done around the children and little mans schooling, which means that not only I am getting the experience of doing what I love but the comfort of knowing I’m helping others. At the end of the day this huge sum of money Cameron plans to put into Pakistani’s schools is british tax payers money, yet many of these taxpayers are in the same boat as me when it comes to their child’s floundering education. Even more families are being forced out the workplace or can’t get a foot in it due to the latest cuts which has hit many of the services offered by the DWP, childcare being one of them.

To end a very long rant before I go off to enjoy what is left of my birthday, I want to share with you the “WHAT £650M COULD BUY” list produced by the Daily Mail in today’s paper.

  • 60 years of free school meals for every primary & secondary pupil in England
  • 21 new state-of-the art academy schools
  • 1 years salary for 250,000 newly qualified teachers
  • 24,074 full university student fees at the new rate of £27,000 for three years
  • 30 grammar schools could be completely rebuilt 4,333 under privileged pupils could be sent to Eton College for full secondary school

There are things I would personally remove from the list to replace with other things that in my opinion are much more needed, for eg… new special, primary and secondary schools, home to school transport and specialised services, professionals and teachers but sadly I don’t have the statistics 🙂 However the list sums it up, Cameron is taking the biscuit! BIG TIME!!!

Aspirations Or Clever Financial Alterations! You Decide

12 Mar

We waited and waited and on the 9th, March 2011 we finally got to see  what the Coalition had in store for us in way of the ‘Green Paper’ titled ‘Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability’


Talking as a parent i’m pleased to see that the  proposed education, health and social care plans (EHSCP) that are planed to replace statements of special educational needs will still give parents the same legal protection that a statement brings. The proposed plan would be aimed at 0-25 year olds not just school aged children. The plans will also involve support in the areas of health and social care as well as education, something that has been missing for too long! However I do wonder how this will affect those already with statements especially in terms of funding and the talk of allocated key-workers. Surely the statements will be reviewed in the same way as the EHSCP and so forth! The statements will therefore need to be maintained in-till the child reaches 25 and be amended to include the health and social care aspect.

Another proposal I welcome is the prospect of being given more choice on where our children are educated. I know many will accuse the coalition of  creating barriers to inclusive education in mainstream schools, but I am a firm believer that mainstream is not always the right way. People must remember that all children are different regardless of their special educational needs or disability, Just because society thinks that every child with sen/disability should learn beside their peers, In reality this isn’t easy for some (My son included) I believe that mainstream was seriously affecting his mental health which is the case for many children. I’m also very interested to hear more on the proposal of individualised budgets with greater parental control giving us a voice that allows us to express views on what services and provision such funding should provide. This is proposed to come into action by the year 2014. In till such date I will remain completely open mind. My mother used to tell me, “If something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.” For that reason I dare to get my hopes up.

Some maybe shaking there heads branding me a pessimist! Well, they would be correct, I’m just that!  Sadly it’s true but myself like many others have been made to feel this way when it comes to SEN & education. It’s my opinion that things will never be easy and we are used to battling for every thing our children need. I for one would be a little shocked to discover that I actually had some time on my hands to do other things instead of battling the system by way of phone calls, meetings, emailing, letter writing, campaigning and so on…  I really struggle to get my head around the idea that parents will be able to have an active part in the decision process surrounding their child’s provision & funding. We have to drag the local authority by the arse all the way to the tribunal just to get a little TA time or use of a laptop! So if this does plan out I for one will fill a little strange being suddenly heard and valued (Well, valued maybe pushing it a tad to far!).

Though some of the proposals look good on paper, I’ve been asking myself , “Are these just words being sugar-coated to look sweeter then they really are?” I mean, let’s not forget that the government are in the process of making huge cuts which will affect many of the services that have a role to play within this very paper. How will they be able to provide what is expected of them? Another important question to ask is, “How much are the Coalition planing to save through the implementation of the green paper?”

I’ve also been thinking about the legal side of things. Given the position I’m currently in (Advising parents on their appeal rights on LEAs sen decisions) I see a lot of re-training heading my way if the green paper is fully implemented. The law would need to under go a radical overview, with large areas, especially section 26 and 27 of the Ed act 96,  needing to be rewritten from scratch and the publication of a new code of practice.

But one of the biggest concerns for me is the proposal of a “single, multi-agency assessment” on the same day, rather than separate assessments on separate days. As much as I welcome a speeder assessment process then that of the current statutory assessment (10 week assessment, with the overall process from start to finish taking 26 weeks) but to propose just ‘one single assessment’ with the involvement of all professionals (and possibly even voluntary agencies) is quite honestly barbaric!

The paper has empathised that those children considered to have the most complex needs, will be the children assessed and issued with an education, health and social care plan, therefore how do they propose to assess a child with such complex needs in one single assessment? Children on the autism spectrum will be just one group of  many children who’s needs may be completely missed due to the child’s particular mood, environment, behaviour, anxiety , etc., on the chosen day of the assessment. I know that my own child would not cope with such an assessment, what with all them eyes on him and questions fired at him! What would it even involve? Are we talking about sending an autistic child (or any child for that matter) into a room with a large number of professionals sat with inquisitive prying eyes, clip boards, and a list of questions as long as their arm? If yes, I guess they can expect a shock at the response they get! It just isn’t going to happen… Surely complex means ‘COMPLEX!’ my definition of  such a word would be, “A complex issue or range of problems that take time to fully resolve” The government is forever banging on about children being placed on the sen register at the drop of a hat, well, I can see a situation being created leading to children dropping of it just as quick!  My son can just about cope with an assessment with one or two professional, any more then this rather than being chucked off the register, he will likely be labelled as a child who is dangerous because he will likely hit out as an attempt to escape the highly stressful situation that he has been placed in. Although I agree it’s not ideal him or any other child with sen having to undergo a range of assessments over a course of time, the one day method wont make things any better but a great deal worse!

Let’s be honest would you or I enjoy being sat in a room with a range of people staring at you like some caged animal reporting your every-more?

26 weeks is way too long but one day! Seriously there is no in-between with this government. I mean do the they really have the child’s best interest at heart?

We have to ask ourselves, has the green paper been created with the  ambition of improving the life chances open to children with sen, and  to offer better support for family members, or is it really their ambition to do away with essential services and provisions with little uproar, while at the same time attempting to reduce the number of  children that are placed on the SEN register?

It’s those children considered to have less complex needs that I’m  seriously worried for!  What defines less complex needs? I’ve spoken to many parents hundreds in-fact that have battled in the past  and present with both schools & local authorities to prove just how complex their child’s needs actually are! I know from past experience that schools won’t except this in-till your child is pushed to the point of self-destruction or has become a complete failure at everything due to the stress they have been placed under. Parents of children with Aspergers or high functioning autism find this to be the case a huge proportion of the time. School’s and LEAs say the same thing over and over again, “Your child isn’t an underachiever, therefore warrants no provision to be made for him/her!” Yet there they are whacking their heads against Walls with the frustration of the work load or noise levels in the classroom, they are always running into social difficulties, becoming isolated from their peers and even excluded on a daily/weekly  basis. It’s ludicrous!

By doing away with school action and school action plus I fear these children will suffer a great deal more than they are currently made too already! What with schools being able to commission the services and put the provision in place that these children are said to need, in this current financial climate is like playing with fire. Much more detail and reassurance is needed and although I know that we are once more welcome to give our views on the paper, I just feel given the length of delay in publishing the paper, including some finer details within in it as to make things a little clearer would have been most welcome!

Ministers have to give the public more information in regard to the finer details that make up the aspirations of the green paper. Including the legal aspects, cost (including how much this new system will put back in to the governments pocket in way of savings) and very importantly the statutory duties of those involve

To some parents this paper means nothing! To others it’s the prospect of a better further for their child in both the early years and that of early adult life. Making provision for children aged 0-25 in all areas of education, health and social care is long awaited. Will this be the start of something promising or just another unfulfilled promise by another Government?…. Only time will tell!

 
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