Tag Archives: local authority

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.

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Time to find your voice.

17 Jun

This is a post of utter urgency! It’s a plea  for help from the wider community. Does your child have autism, special educational needs or problems in school? Maybe they don’t, but who knows what the future holds!

I was sat at my mothers yesterday checking my emails when I came across something most frightening… A life line for parents of school age children faces the big axe due to funding cuts,’ THE ADVISORY CENTRE FOR EDUCATION’ better known as ACE.

Ace is an invaluable DfE telephone support service who offer advice to parents of school age children on education issues, the main one’s being exclusions, admissions, special educational needs, bullying and discrimination. If your child has ever been exclude like mine, then you have properly used ACE at some point, to advise you on your next steps and whether the exclusion was carried out in away that is considered ‘legal’. The service offers free advice and is normally a parents first port of call. Exclusion letters will often contain the telephone number for ACE, one day I decided to use them. I was offered top notch information that was inline with the education act, I was provide with much needed assistance when I didn’t know where else to turn. The following day I received a free exclusion guide in the post, considering it was 4:00pm when I had called, I considered it an excellent service.

Ace, highlighted some real serious problems for me, including the fact Little man had been illegally excluded twice! If I had never made that call I would have been none the wiser and my guess is the unofficial exclusions would have continued. I rang ACE a significant amount of times over a two year period, with every call I was offered beneficial advice. I feel so strongly about this and was most upset that this service that has offered support to thousands of families for the last 50 years, would no longer be able to operate as they have been informed that funding will stop at the end of the month.

Now you maybe thinking to yourself as you read this, that its of no importance to you, but how would you feel if it was? This is a life line for many and is just one services that parents like me will lose! Unfortunately this isn’t all we have to worry about! Us parents to children with special educational needs as facing a host of possible changes, that in my opinion will only see our children in a more disadvantaged state then ever before. The pending changes thanks to the green paper already pose a huge degree of uncertainty, resulting in possible changes to the law, yet a huge reduction in services to support parents through this worrying time. If that wasn’t bad enough, we face the prospect of losing the right to gain legal aid which many families rely on when challenging schools and local authorities by taking them to the SEN tribunal.

So, lets take a long hard look at the facts. Big sources of parental support face closure due to funding cuts; the new health and social care plan is still very unclear; the removal of legal aid for education cases will be withdrawn at this critical time! Anyone would thing it was some kind of deliberate attempt to reduce the amount of claims being brought against LEAs and schools, not because the child’s needs are being meet… No, simply because parents will no longer be provide with sources of information on their current rights; will lose the right to have access to the legal advice needed or even instruct solicitors! What’s even more terrifying… Parents will lose the lifeline they once had to gain independent medical reports to ensure their child’s needs have been fully documented by those instructed by the local authority!

People need to remember these are children we are discussing! Many will claim that the parent should not relay on such handouts, yet it should be acknowledged that many of these parents are not in a position to engage in paid employment, what with many of these children needing home educating or solely being left out of education due to there being no suitable school placements… I cannot see what a parent is left to do?

I had to apply for legal aid to ensure Little Man’s old mainstream primary school received training in special educational needs. We settled a few days before the hearing as we were given a full apology, the promise of SEN training and a re-write of the schools sen policy. I then had the comfort of knowing I had at least tried to stop the treatment my child received being inflicted on others. I also needed the legal aid service for yet another appeal to the tribunal, for the contents of little mans statement of special educational needs lacked details of current difficulties and provisions to address such difficulties. This time my solicitor applied for funding to gain some essential independent reports, that without… my claim would have little success of winning. Little man received three appointments for three independent assessments that would gain us reports for legal purposes! I wasn’t prepared for some of the things I read in these reports and although I knew my sons difficulties were far grater then any documented by the local authority. I was sadden to see just the extent of how different these were. Although the reports highlighted such valuable information, they would show the disturbing differences between the two. Without such reports it is likely I would have never of known the extent of my child’s difficulties! Although little man can speak I now know certain degrees of his speech and language are considered severely delayed! Other important issues included the possibility of dyslexia and Little mans impaired motor skills. Its extremely possible that my child who will now attend an independent special day school designed for children with an autistic spectrum condition, would have been left to struggle trough a mainstream school, face permanent exclusion or as once suggested… be educated in a pupil referral unit.

Many of us are guilty of saying nothing myself included. We tend to complain once the affects have surfaced and we find ourselves and our child in a troubling situation. Its to late then, the damage is done. There are enough off us to get heard…

I ask everyone of you to consider the above and ask yourself if we are being provide with a service that will better meet our children’s needs or place us within a system that is far worse then the one we currently battle?

If you agree with me and my god, I hope you do! Please get yourself heard. Ace are asking for everyone’s support.

Here’s some suggestions on what you can do.

1. Contact urgently Sarah Teather MP and urge her to review the DfE’s recent decision not to fund ACE from the end of June this year.

2. Contact your networks of colleagues and urge them to write to their MPs.

3. Contact your own political colleagues, in the House of Lords or House of Commons, asking for their support for ACE.

4. Publicise our situation via your websites, asking for support and (if possible) donations to help us carry on our work.

5. Contact ACE to discuss how you can support us.

Please remember that without our help, ACE will lose there funding on the 30th June and will no longer be able to provide us with their expertise.

Other things you can do

You can also respond to the SEN green paper by the end of June

Join an online campaign to stop legal aid cuts, such as TREE HOUSE

Start a petition

Write the your MP

LEA make bogus excuses for not assessing child’s needs

9 Jun

At last I finally have time to update my blog. What seems like months has only been weeks. Nevertheless so much has happened in such a short space of time no wonder in losing my days.That’s right today I almost missed my Early bird course (Autism training for adults and professionals) as I could have swore it was Monday. Well I soon came to my senses and got my butt in motion I didn’t want to miss the course as it going so well and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about ASD and when you have a child on the spectrum you can never know enough.

Well I finally received the letter from the LEA sen unit. It was about time too. I was disgusted with the way they treated me and little man. I wasn’t kept informed on the decision process and considering they had not followed the timescale of six weeks an explanation would have been greatly appreciated. I mean what’s the use of the Sen code of practice if the authorities have no regard for it. I’m not stressing over a silly few weeks or something they delayed the decision if to assess for five going on six weeks. Is it just me or would some kind of a letter and a simple apology be too much to ask? Well it seems so as the refusal letter didn’t state anything in relation to the delay and lack of communication on their part. It did however state their reasons for not agreeing to an assessment of little mans educational needs. Ok I’m not joking when I say at first after reading the letter more than once I did consider that maybe the LEA had made some mistake. Is it possible my child’s case was some how accidentally  been mixed up with another childs evidence. reality hit me like a smack in the face. These people really don’t give a ****. I’m sorry but what the hell is happening here? The LEA state that since little mans school have identified his needs and put certain provisions and strategies into place he has started to make progress in terms of his behaviour. Woo outrageous, Given this excuse I’m now wondering if they even bothered to open the letter I sent requesting the assessment in the first place. Lets see would it be the five exclusions his had since the 1st March this year or maybe it’s the fact his had well over twenty serious incidents recorded against him in the same time frame. I’m guessing it would be something more specific that really swung their judgement like the fact he hit a teacher or managed to escape from the school where luckily I was stood outside. Let’s face it given this level of evidence, the extensive list of exclusions and serious incidents it’s fair to assume that in order to access the relevent resources that my son requires directly as a result of his condition he would need to completely fail first. Let’s be honest as sad as it is his not far off. Well as you can imagine I was gobsmacked (not often Claire is lost for words) but I was also deeply worried about what move I would have to take next. The letter also stated that once the outreach teams had been in and assessed and the school had put into practice the advice suggested by them If it was thought little man still required the Statutory assessment the school could then readmit the assess 1 form. I took legal advice and was told to contact the tribunal service without delay given that I only have two months to appeal then I should not risk waiting for forms to be readmitted and again refused as I wont be able to appeal again in till a much later date (six months or a year I think) Made sense to me and with this I searched for a solicitor to take my case. I really needed my sanity for the children and not only was I strapped for time with three children one with aspergers, one trying to cope with daily life as a sibling to an aspie and a six month old baby I also didn’t want to do it alone. I just wanna enjoy the children for a while and at the same time know that someone is working on my appeal. Lets face it without a statement little man will end up lost and with that I will have to make difficult decisions on what best to do for him in till I can readmit my request. Yes It’s unbearable thinking about but I have to be practical.

Well here’s some positive news I attended the follow up meeting from the 26th April 2010, This was basically to review little mans past month’s progress. I have to say the last meeting was incredibly strained. I felt nothing was achieved and it wasn’t constructive in any way. I became a little emotional and I cried which I regret but sadly couldn’t help. With this memory I wasnt looking forward to this meeting and would go as far to say I was feeling kinda sick knowing it was approaching. This time I took my Mother (Who better than to support and keep you strong) I was surprised to see that this time other professionals had attended and the meeting was looking a little more formal. I felt nervous and uneasy and just wanted to get thinks done. Well I have to say I needn’t of worried so much. The other professionals who had attended where from a specialist school who provide outreach to little man. They were made up from a group of three. There was the outreach worker who works directly with little man on a one to one basis once a week, the headteacher from the specialist school itself and another very nice lady but I was and still am a little unsure what role she played within the outreach team. However she was extremely nice and made it her mission to be fair and understanding. It was also helpful to meet the outreach teacher working with little man. Again she was extremely nice and not only shared her thoughts and opinions on little mans learning and behaviour but she also took the time to listen and encourage me to share my thoughts and opinions. The Headteacher of the specialist school was very organised and direct but not in a rude way. I really liked him and felt he was fair and made valid points and helpful recommendations on ways to best solve current problems experienced with little man. The headmaster and the Senco were also at the meeting and we spoke about the LEA refusal to assess, little mans growing complexed needs and the head made a point of saying that little man wasn’t really being included anymore as he was chosing to move himself away from classroom activities. This I could also understand and is a bit of a worry. The level of support he currently receives is high and integrating him slowly back into the class routine will be incredibly difficult. We all discussed little mans need for an assessment which will hopefully lead to a statement. It was reassuring to know that everyone at that meeting was in agreement with that. So on the whole it went well and I didn’t leave feeling miserable as I had perviously.

So before I get some much-needed sleep I just want to say that all though things have been a nightmare at school home life has been Ok. I say ok as that’s all it’s been but when you have had real trying weeks you fully appreciate the “Ok” days. Half term was good and little man spent a lot of time socializing with the boy next door. They share a love of transport and though little mans is more a obsession his little friend seems ok with it. Yes they had a few disagreements but nothing to explosive. It’s great he has a friend who is happy to be bossed by him 🙂 Honestly I say this in a joking manner but all parents to children with aspergers will completely get where I’m coming from. It’s also nice to have a non judgemental parent who don’t drag their child away from yours in the fear he may catch Aspergers or just be lead down the route of misbehaving. She is very sensitive to little man and his needs. She allows him over and puts up with his very loud tone and moody strop without ever judging him. I can see he has become more and more comfortable with their family and that is a great achievement because apart from his cousin and his partner in crime at school he didn’t really have a real friend till now. And to be able to hold onto this important friendship makes me so very proud. Like the teacher at my ASD workshop said today. All parents love to feel proud of their child and it’s the same for parents of children on the spectrum only they can be proud at what may seem the simplest thing to a “typical child” but to a child on the spectrum it’s a huge achievement.

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