19/10/2012

Fighting despondency

Sometimes it would be easy to slip into the pit of despair, as a parent of children with SpLDs.

Well, maybe not a pit, but at least a recurring muddy puddle formed in one of the many potholes on the road to AppropriateEducationVille.

Last night we had Parents' Evening at my son's school.
He is studying A Levels and he has Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

The school seems excellent, as do the teachers.

But the system is still as clunky, resistant and slow as it was when we took our children out of the state school system in 2005.

We were told that our son just had to face the fact that learning was going to be harder for him because of his learning difficulties.

That he might get extra time in his exams, but only if we provide proof of his Dyspraxia from his personal medical files.

He "might" get a laptop to use in class once the tutors get theirs replaced in a few months, as he "might" be able to use one of their cast-offs.

There had been talk of a dictaphone arriving for his use, but none has appeared so far.

It's not down to the teachers, they truly seem to be doing their best.
It's down to the system and the reams of rules and regulations.
And money. Or dire lack thereof.

Not only do those with learning issues have to fight for support, they have to continually prove their need at every turn.

So, the money we were saving for our first family holiday in four years will now be used to buy a laptop to enable our child to access his education effectively, so that he doesn't get penalised for poor handwriting, which is a symptom of his hand tremor, which is a symptom of his Dyspraxia, which is classed as a medical condition, which is classed as a disability in the 'HANDBOOK OF SCHOOLY LAWS N STUFF'.

But the school don't have an SEN budget, so .......

Then today I have spent time emailing a young lady who has recently been diagnosed with Dyspraxia, and who has been given a laptop to use by her college, but who has been made to feel too embarrassed to use it in class because some fellow pupils tease her about it.

And then I read reports about how funding is being given to software developers who want to change how Dyslexic children think.

Well, bugger off, quite frankly!

I don't want anyone to change the way my children think.

My children, and all the other children and adults with SpLDs, are not the ones who need to alter their way of thinking.

That task should be given to the policy-makers, the politicians, the Education system.

Now if someone could stump up research funding for software that could achieve that, or even develop some sort of Empathy Chip, I'd retweet their research papers on a hourly basis for a good long while.

To fail to support people effectively, either in their workplace or educational setting, and then tell them it's their own fault (their way of thinking, no less!) that is causing them to have difficulties, is yet another example of victim-blaming - and it's destructive and cruel and we need to fight against it.

So I'll wallow in my pity puddle for a little while longer, then get back to spending time offering support and advice to anyone who contacts me.

Because each person with SpLDs who knows their rights, and therefore demands their rights, is one more advocate who can empower others.

And we need to make links, support each other, demand educational reforms that enrich the lives of children with SpLDs - and be vocal about it,  because Michael Gove doesn't care, Stephen Twigg is nowhere to be seen, and Boris is lurking in the shadows.



This year we shall be holidaying in Costa Del Laptop. Just south of Dictaphonia.

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