Tag Archives: learning disability

A Bright Star No Longer Hidden

22 Jun

The annual review, a time for meeting with your child’s teachers and discussing progress, struggles and ideas. A meeting centred around your child’s special educational needs and the statement they hold.

Last week it was that time, the time for the Little man’s second annual review since attending his special independent school specifically for children on the autism spectrum. Lately, Little man’s attendance has been a little off the wall! Despite his love for his new school he continues to struggle to sleep of a night, often getting just a few hours sleep or none whatsoever. As one can imagine, mornings are becoming one huge battle us! For this reason alone I expected to hear how my son was falling dangerously behind that of his peers, what with his last school (mainstream primary school) insisting he had a reading age of 7, reception age writing skills, poor understanding of science and history, plus 2 levels below in maths and more besides. He was 10 at the time and I protested that my son wasn’t this far behind, especially in maths. His bedroom wall looked like some kind of number puzzle where he would cover it in mathematical problem solving and coding to a complex level (one even I struggled to understand)!

You see it was my conclusion that he was much brighter than he let on, but wasn’t showing this due to his unhappiness while attending a school who seriously struggled to meet any of his needs, both educational and developmental. It was during this particular annual review meeting that I realised just how right I was back then.

Here it comes… A seriously proud mummy moment…

Little man is two levels above his expect national curriculum level in maths. He is in year 7 and currently has a level of a child in year 9 on his way to year 10.

His also above in PE, Reading and more besides. He science levels were that of his expected age. English as a whole is also what is expected which just goes to show that my boy and any other child on the spectrum has the ability to shine given they are in the right environment to do so.

He has a great new system in which he can remove himself from the classroom to shake of any problems and excess energy with a run around the playground. He only has the ability to use his “Get Out Of Glass Card” twice for each lesson and teachers have reported that sometimes he finishes class having not used one. This may seem like such a minor thing but to a mum like me its pure music to my ears.

He also has a great reward system and school are working hard to try and discourage his swearing. Despite episodes still happening on a daily basis the improvements are slowly taking place and little man’s learning a little self control.

Proud… Oh yes, seriously proud! When your so used to being told the negative when it comes to your child’s education, you forget what its like to hear anything positive. This was a great example of this, it was the proudest I’d felt for a long time. I just wanted to shout about it from the roof tops.

Was I tempted to take a little walk through them office doors of his once mainstream school, the one in which his younger sister attends? Did I feel to wave his report in the air while shouting “Yer… Get a load of that! Thats my boy they are writing about!” Um maybe I did, just a little…I can’t lie. However, I don’t care what was once said! All that matters is that I have always believed in him even if those others who should have, instead made it their mission to write him off as a lost cause!

Well… Eat My Shorts!

My boys a star, a star that shines bright because his no longer hidden.

So, if you have a bright star that is currently struggling to be seen through the clouds then don’t give up on them! Believing is the key to your child’s educational success and as long as you believe others will follow. Never give up, fight for them to be seen as the star you know them to be.

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Peek A Boo

23 Nov

A beautiful blonde two year old toddled around the house, she giggle excitedly as I removed my hands from my face to shout the words “peek a boo” Her laughter electrifying, my love for her magnified and displayed on my face in the shape of a smile, so big it left little room on my face for anything else.

But then she feel ill and my smile melted, replaced with a thousand tears of heartache… Tears too heavy for a 10 year olds cheek to carry.

Cancer robbed her of many years of childhood, in its place was chemo, Radiotherapy and missed birthdays at home. Her bed not slept in, her duvet untouched. Her home a side room on a children’s ward, that despite the balloons and teddies galore, it wasn’t home… It was just a room for a child to poorly to be home with me, her big sister, playing peek a boo.

Yes… The diagnosis of cancer was nothing but bad, bad luck! It couldn’t be avoided! There was no one to blame!

My mother, devastated, told the doctors they must do all that they can! If that meant medicines that saw her thick beautiful golden locks fade away, then so be it!

If radiotherapy meant she may just have a mild learning disability in the future… Then so be it!

If it meant she may never have children of her own… Then again, so be it!

At least she would still be with us, breathing the air that I breathe! She would still be there to play peek a boo, to hold hands as we grow up! To stand beside me on my wedding day… to drink tea & grow old with me . She is my little sister and there was no questions need answering! She just needed to stay here with me…. And she did!

She did just that, she fraught the cancer that was attacking her little body and even though she was left with a mild learning Disaibilty… Every other possible scenario evaporated, and I mean every one of them!

You see, almost 3 years ago, she gave birth to the daughter we had always suspected she would never have because of the treatment she underwent. Suddenly it felt like god could not be more giving when he gave her the beautiful gift of a daughter, one that she adores.

Finally bad luck had been banished or at least I thought it had… We all did.

That sister of mine who had already been through so much now found herself in the hands of evil, as she became the victim of domestic violence. Love was blind, she struggled to break free because of love, control and power stood in her way.

She was under his spell but eventually broke free for her child’s sake.

Needing help as a new mother and a single one at that, with the council not offering her a home and the prospect of homelessness and possible conflict from her partner she reached out for help in a direction that would only later turn out to be the direction she should have avoided at all cost.

The Social Services!

Only now has her true nightmare bargain… this evil is worse than any cancer! It is one we are powerless to stop it!

From a cry for help to a cry of pain as the Social Services (SS) announce after a year or so of involvement, that they want to take her daughter away… Assess the family as alternative carers if she doesn’t agree, or those carers fail the assessment, an interim order will be shougt and that little girl would be so wrongly snatched away from a loving family home!

Now… I can imagine what you are reading this thinking! SS don’t take kids for nothing. I used to think the same! I honestly never needed to think about it much! I’d read in the paper about targets and bonus, that of forced adoption and secret family courts… But it wasn’t part of my life and I guess my ignorance didn’t want me to think such evil was possible.

I assure you they do take children away from loving parents who have committed no crimes, and this is how…

RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE!

Only now will you understand why I talked about my little sisters cancer! Not because I was crying out for your sympathy vote but because its a huge contributing factor!

Because my sister has a mild learning disability the SS used this to their advantage. She isn’t slow… Hell no, but sometimes she is too compliant for her own good, especially when those doing the pushing are those she thinks she should trust… An authority figure!

Then something happened… something that had my sister flee to them for help and protection but instead she got blackmail. Alone, confused and emotional having just been the victim of abuse! Getting her to agree to conditions on a child protection agreement with that of a signature was like scavenges swarming its prey it was Profoundly immoral and malevolent.

To then set her up in a flat, just so they could monitor her every move while pretending to be there to support her is unthinkable but true. All the time notes were made, notes containing events and points that didn’t even ever happen! With unannounced visits who was there to witness this, who was their to be my sisters witness. With my sister unaware their was even an issue till recently, she failed to tell me…. I only wished I knew these things sooner.

Now they state that my sister, (who I can say with my hand on the bible, is a great mum) May not be able to meet her daughters needs in the future… Because her daughter is advanced at almost 3 years old! They therefore state she may became too cleaver for my sister to parent!

As if it could get any worse… Another reason given for their actions was that of my sisters past abusive relationship which she was sadly the ‘Victim’ off. It seems that falling in love with a scum bag and falling victim to domestic violence now makes you a concern worthy by the SS! Apparently if you have been in this type of relationship the SS can state with confidence that there “Maybe” a risk of emotional abuse in the future! And in the UK “Maybe” and “Future” is good enough!

My sisters cancer and abusive relationship means they won’t be giving her the chance to be her daughters mother, despite this enormous love she has for her that is so powerful only a parent can ever understand it.

She was set up to fail! Parenting class and support were a parenting assessment conducted by those from SS! As a result 60 pages of lies can be found filed under her name.

If she goes to court and she loses, she will be silenced! Her freedom of speech removed by the secret family courts. If she tries to speak she will be jailed! The gag will be forced in her mouth.

How is this still happening in Britain in the year of 2012? How can somebody take a child based on a report of maybes?

How will my little sister who has already been dealt so many heartaches and battles take on one of this scale… She is constantly in tears and cannot eat or sleep… Just how can she fight this.

Her little girl should be beside her, breathing the air she breathes, holding her hand…

My sister should be the one she plays peek a boo with!

This video will open your eyes to a system built on money and targets… One that removes human rights, data protection, freedom of speech and worse children.

Lastly if their is anyone who can help please do contact me please.

Learning disabilities & Past Relationships May Result In Forced Adoption Of Your Children

10 Nov

This week I’ve learnt so much… I’ve learnt that the system is more twisted than I ever thought possible… I’ve learnt that within that system there are big fat stinking rats that only feed off money.

Personally, I’ve never really needed to deal with social services (SS). Yes, I’ve dealt with the child sen team and the education welfare officers, but social workers… No!

You see, I did once request their help. When your child has a disability and you have no respite… you request it… Of course I was turned down.

Then I discovered a friend of mine who is suspected to have a very mild learning disability, was being made out to be a bad parent. Why? Because she escaped a bully of a partner and requested help from SS as a single parent.

She did all that they asked of her. Parenting assessments, meetings, counselling. She was now in her own flat, her daughter (a toddler under 4) was in a great routine. She loves her child so devotes herself to making her happy.

SS come to the door regularly, she always lets them in. Why not? She has nothing to hide.

Then at a child protection conference they tell her that her child is too advanced and therefore at risk of emotional abuse in the future.

They also tell her that despite her being happy and away from the abusive father, its another reason her child may be at risk of emotional abuse in the future.

My friend feels that the parenting assessment she agreed to will save her. But it doesn’t! Instead it is 60 pages of hideous lies and over exaggerations.

They tell her to be prepared for the worse! They ask her family to prepare and consider whether they may want to care for her child. Yet there is no guarantees they will even be allowed too.

The child has never been hurt, abused, ill treated or emotionally abused! Further more my friend does not smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs… But this countries twisted child protection laws mean that she may well still lose her.

I, convinced this couldn’t be right, searched online for something to ease her mind. But I couldn’t find anything. All I see is report after report about SS targeting single mothers, especially those who have been in past abusive relationships or have a learning disability.

These are mainly mothers of children under 3 years…. Mothers who’s children tick the adoptions most wanted boxes and therefore find themselves at risk of forced Adoption .

Now, I’d heard bits about the family courts when it came to secrecy. But I was at the most part extremely naive and found myself shocked to discover how 200+ mothers are jailed every year when they try to speak out about their case. They are gagged, the human rights act suddenly doesn’t apply. Mothers, fathers, families…suddenly Lose their freedom of speech something we are meant to be entitled to as living human beings.

Did you know that we are the only country who operate in such a horrifying way. Families are not given a fair trail, children are removed without crime and us parents can’t speak a word of it!

How is this happening… How is this allowed to happen?

Some may ask themselves why women stay with violent partners (or vis-visa)? Why don’t they call the police? For fear the children will be removed from their care… That’s why!

Some may wonder why so many parents fear the SS… Because cases like that of my friend… That’s why.

If you have ever been abused, have a learning disability or even a past mental health problem, then the SS can state your child is at risk of emotional abuse, and apparently risk is all it takes for them to take a child away from its loving parents forever!

You may think there has to be more to it! SS don’t take away children from loving mothers/parents without good cause. I used to think the same!

The only reason we think this is because we know no different! Why? Because every parent who leaves the family court is gagged… And that’s why the gag needs removing!

Instead of finding something to ease my friends mind, I’m now scared for her… I’m scared that SS will rip apart a loving family that have done nothing wrong but ask for help!

I’m also scared that not enough people know what’s happening behind closed doors and because of this they are in danger of it happening to them too.

Be careful… They are everywhere

Guest Post: Children with autism have significantly different gut bacteria

24 Jan

Today, I’m passing my blogging pass over to the lovely ‘Soraya Janmohamed’ from OptiBac Probiotics (my sponsor for last years Mad blog awards)

 A study published earlier this month has found that autistic children have significantly different gut bacteria to children without autism.

A novel method of analysis called ‘PCR’ (Polymerase chain reaction – a technique where scientists copy and examine DNA) allowed researchers to detect high levels of members of the bacteria ‘Sutterrella’in many of the children with autism, and in none

of the children without. Sutterrella was found in 12 of 23 of the autistic children but in none of the 9 participants without autism who took part in the study as a control.

This is not the first study to demonstrate a link between autism and gut bacteria (or microbiota) and children with autism are often thought to anecdotally suffer with gastrointestinal problems such as food intolerances, diarrhoea or constipation.  The fact that this study shows a little-recognised bacterium to be present in more than half  the autism children with autism is a significant finding, and calls for further research in the area to be done.

For an in-depth look at previous findings in gut bacteria, autism, and the potential of probiotics (good bacteria), take a look at this article on probiotics and autism.
Isolated bacteria - Micrococcus luteus

Interestingly, a large survey released in the last few days has found autism to often go

hand in hand with other mental & behavioural conditions in children, such as anxiety, attention deficit disorder, or learning disabilities.  Anxiety and similar conditions were more common in the slightly older children with autism. 92, 000 parents of children under 17 years old with autism took part in the phone survey in the USA.  This could again be of significance, partly as  anxiety has been linked to gut bacteria in the past.

Reference:

http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/1/e00261-11

OptiBac Probiotic Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/optibacprobiotics

Section one, Part (1) Introduction to special educational needs

13 Sep

  Introduction to Special educational needs

 So, what exactly is the definition of Special educational needs?

A child is only considered to have special educational needs, (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty that requires a greater level of support than his or her peers. This would therefore require educational provision to be made for the child.

 A child who has a disability that prevents them from fully accessing the same educational facilities as his or her peers, would also be considered to have SEN. This also counts for children who have social and emotional difficulties, or conditions that affect a child’s mental state, though this child would only be seen as having SEN providing such a condition hinders them from fully accessing educational facilities, therefore requiring provision that is either extra or different from what the school gives through its usual differentiated teaching.

 Children that are younger than the compulsory school age, can also be considered as having SEN, if it is determined early on, that such child could not fully access the same educational facilities as his or her peers, or they have a learning diffculty that will certainly require special educational provision that is extra or different to the provision given to his or her peers, as and when the child was to start full-time education.

Section 312 of the education act 1996, stats, Special educational provision means:

“a) For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different form, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area.

b) For children under two, educational provision of any kind.”

Definitions in the 1998 Children Act (section 17 [11], Children Act 1989) defines a disability to be…

“A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dump or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be described.”

 Autism and misconceptions

 It is often the case that parents of children whom have been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum condition assume that their child’s educational setting will naturally make adjustments and accommodations for the child! Most assume that a child with autism is automatically considered to have special educational needs, therefore requiring additional provision to be made. Again isn’t actually the case at all. A formal diagnosis of autism is just that, “A diagnosis of autism” nothing more, nothing less! Such a diagnosis does not entitle a child to receive additional educational provision (through the school must make reasonable adjustment for any child with a disability, this is a different thing all together).

 Although a child with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is classified as having a, ‘disability’ this is not a ‘learning difficulty’. Whether the child has a learning difficulty is usually determined by the school or local authority (LEA) dependent of the child’s age.

 Common confusion

 It should be noted that despite a child’s autism, they may well succeed academically, requiring little if any extra provision at all. This is more commonly the case for children diagnosed with High functioning autism or Aspergers syndromeHowever it is extremely important to remember that regardless of a child with autism high academic progress, who may have even received the top grades in their class, can still be considered and seen as having special educational needs. As mentioned before, if such a condition as autism affects areas of the child’s social and emotional functioning while at school, hindering the way they access education could result in a child being placed on the special educational needs register. Behavioural difficulties, exclusions, misunderstandings, due to poor social interaction and communication, increased anxiety and school refusal are all factors that should be taken into account when considering if a child has SEN. Sadly it is often the case that LEAs refusal to carry our a statutory assessment or even issue a statement as they claim the child does well academically therefore not requiring additional provision to be made. This is not true and certainly isn’t a good enough reason not to make educational provision for such a child.

 Lastly it is important to remember that just because a child doesn’t speak English as a first language doesn’t  mean they have SEN.

 Coming up next time… Section one understanding special educational needs, part two, ‘The stages of SEN and is my child receiving the right type/amount of support?’

All information has been created to help others for their own personal use, this advice is independent and is given by myself a lone (No 3rd party participated was used throughout). Please do not use article for anything other than personal use, nor edit the information in any way. All published articles, throughout this site remain property of the author and this blog. Alway seek permission before using any post for anything other than described above. 

Thank you 

Creator

Claire-Louise

To download or see the rest of the fact-sheets via Google Doc’s Click HERE

Behind closed doors

3 Jun

It’s been a long day & night, I finally rest my head on my pillow a little after 4 am, you would think sleep was imminent. How wrong this was, in-fact little if not any sleep was had at all!

I closed my eyes and there she was, a child trapped in a young woman’s body, doused in water, shaking and screaming out for her mother!

It was an image that many would now find trapped at the front of their mind, unable to find its way out.

Some hours before I had sat sobbing as I watched the broadcast of BBC ones Panorama! It was deeply shocking, horrifying  & incredible heartbreaking TV.

If this was the case, then why did I watch it, why not turn it off? As hard as it was to witness the horrors unfolding at Winterbourne View… It was something that needed to be seen!

Now warm & safe in my bed I was hunted by the realisation of the situation. How many more were there… How many more care homes are operating in such a horrendous manner? We already know that Winterbourne are part of the Castlebeck chain of independently ran care homes with an estimated turnover of ninety-million pounds! Then there are the undiscovered, the thought chills me to the bone!

Within my head there are so many thoughts, questions that turn my stomach with fear.

How many more unqualified, under-trained monsters are being given the title support worker or carer?

How many whistle blowers have raised concerns and seen them swept under the carpet?

How many past complaints to the ‘Care Quality Commission‘ (CQC) have been ignored, emails deleted without a second thought for those that may be in danger? I wonder how many complaints will continue to be ignored?

How many cases of abuse have been missed at the hands of the CQC due to poor inspections of care homes?

How Many victims young & old, who are laid in their beds , will wake to the hands of evil as it grabs ahold of them and drags them from their feet?

MY GUESS IS… TO MANY!

As a mother, a human being my arms longed to hold them young victims, to keep them safe from harm. With every act of torture my heart sank a little more, the anger within me tore at my gut as I felt powerless, so bloody powerless!

Some may say that to have anger within yourself is a bad thing but I’m sure those that like me sat and watched that report, feel exactly the same way I do. The only good that can come from such anger is to channel it into something positive such as change!

Its well documented that social care has been worse hit by the government cuts, leaving the most vulnerable in frightening situations. This is anything from children with special educational needs not getting the support needed; individuals with mental heath problems facing the stress of reassessments leading to the loss of incapacity benefit; the closure of support groups & day centres and those in care homes. Yet the government  fail to address such issues despite the compiling evidence that keeps on growing. Things shouldn’t have to get this far before action is taken, yet somehow it always does.

The media has brought about some pretty disturbing headlines off late. Although I am In the uttermost agreement that those seen abusing the young  residents residing at Winterbourne view are total scum that in my opinion should not have been released on bail, we have to look at the bigger picture.

The CQC, local authority and management of Castlebeck have a lot of explaining to do. As mentioned the CQC had not only inspected Winterbourne view more than once, but also failed to respond to the whistle-blower who is reported to have contacted them on three occasions.

The Local Authority use the tax payers money to fund placements at ‘Winterbourne View’ for  young adults with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. With a weekly fee of up to £3,500 (that and the fact they have a duty of care), you would have thought the Local Authority would carry out all the appropriate checks before splashing the cash.

Last but not least you have the management of the establishment. Are you telling me that this was unknown to them? Does this included the upstairs locked corridor with bedrooms either side, no CCTV but a security system at each end! Does this not ring alarm bells? This is an area that holds the rule, “NO GUEST ALLOWED” Yet In a statement Castlebeck said, “We are deeply distressed by the completely unacceptable and appalling behaviour of a small number of our employees at one of our facilities…” (Full response) Castlebeck itself is owned by a Jersey-based investment vehicle called Lydian Capital. It is said that Lydian Capital is backed by a group of Irish tycoons led by JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond.

The guardian reported,“Castlebeck is not the only care home business owned by the group. A Jersey investment vehicle called Grove Limited – chaired by fellow Irishman, Denis Brosnan – also counts Desmond, McManus and Magnier among its investors. It controls the Barchester Healthcare empire of more than 200 homes, making it the second largest in the UK behind Bupa and Four Seasons Healthcare.” For me this is terrifying news.

The latest report given by the guardian tells how this isn’t the first time the quality of care at Castlebeck facilities have come under scrutiny. With the mention of a death that may have been party caused by restraint (an open verdict was given) There was also an alleged sexual assault that was not reported by staff to management nor the  police. This alongside smelly dirty accommodation that had poor infection control was discovered during an unannounced inspection (which clearly shows the need for such measures) The guardian have named the semi-secure hospital/care home for men with learning disabilities & autism as, ‘Cedar Vale’ .

 Was the place closed down? It would seem not! Castlebeck claim the problem has now been addressed…

As a mother to a child on the autism spectrum I found the report extremely upsetting, yet it’s my opinion that any half decent human being would feel this way following a programme so direful it shocked the UK and beyond!

Yes, we need a more effective inspection regime and no we should not employ those who are under-qualified or have not undergone the appropriate training needed to care for those with complex needs. 

WHY IN GODS NAME IS THIS PLACE STILL OPEN?

Correct me if I’m wrong, When health and safety inspections are carried out in food courts, restaurants and take away outlets, given they are not up to scratch they are closed down! Why isn’t it the same for a place that has a duty of care to those with complex needs and autism? I struggle to find any explanation as to why the place wasn’t and still isn’t closed down! There is no need for talk or pending investigations, Panorama provide unquestionable evidence! What more is needed

The only answer I can come up with is that the NHS/Local authority have nowhere to place the residents from the home if they are forced to move them. At the end of the day it all comes down to money and its likely no-one wants to foot the bill, they never do!

Winterbourne View is a place that needs closing down for the sake of the residents and their families.

So come people are we going to stand back & allow any more shame on our country, or are we going to do something about it? Remember two voices are better than one so, lets start talking! 

Did you watch the Panorama report on Tuesday 31st May or see it in the news? 

Do you want to try to help change the system?

Do you think the care home in question should remain open?

Maybe you just want to have your voice heard by speaking up for the vulnerable  

There are a number of things you can do to help prompt change!

  • Sign the online petition, created by the National Autistic Society (NAS);
  • Contact your local MP (Find your MP with this twitter list);
  • Leave me a comment;
  • Join the discussions on Twitter using the #Panorama;
  • Blog  about it and Link up to other blogs;
  • Join in with today’s (Friday 3rd June) tweet storm Friday. Just log on to twitter & tweet your comments using the tag: #aaukcampagin;
  • Join one of the many facebook groups.

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Watch the BBC Panorama Report: Here

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