Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fuck The System, It Sucks

I am so, so effing fed up with East Sussex County Council and the whole Special Needs Statementing procedure.

As per bloody usual the paperwork has turned up just at the edge of a school holiday. I don't know how they do it, but they always do - every time over two sodding years. I now have fifteen days to approve or challenge what the County has to say, nine of which involve weekends and a half term holiday. I'm too late to make appointments with any of the specialists to clarify what they feel my son needs (and whether that differs from the County's interpretation of what they are saying), if I manage to make appointments for the split second school reopens, that still gives me four days in which to meet, query, discuss, formulate a response and get it to the County via snail mail. My fifteen days instantly equate to one, maybe two.

I am so tired with being fucked over like this.

The County have listed every provision that the educational psychologist says he needs. The trouble is she did not list any of the provisions he already receives. She named them, said how essential they were, but when it came to filling boxes she used the fields to add extra assistance on top of what already is.

Trouble now is, that if I let this proposed Statement lie, he will have access to all of the frills but none of the basic stuff, like a teaching assistant to help him focus, remind him what was said, redirect him back to what he's supposed to be doing, stop him making the kind of social bloopers that make NT kids so vicious. All he is to get is equipment, and access to stuff that takes him out of the classroom and away from the curriculum, which would make a vicious circle - the more behind he feels compared to his peers, the less willing he is to make an effort.

He's the type that if he saw his bus at the stop, sooner than run for it and risk looking a fool to everyone already seated, he would pretend he was really meaning to walk, the whole time. Except then he'd swear, and berate himself, and get depressed and on and on.

I could give up and take him out of mainstream; ask for a special school to be listed, but I refuse. Aspergers is too broad a term, most of the schools cover the whole Autistic spectrum, so he would be in with a class of kids that phase out and stare at corners, and it would drive him nuts. On top of that, he'd be lucky to leave at 16 with certificates of achievement when we already know there's a 98% probability that he's a gifted child and ought, with the right support, to swan through the basic, average, mainstream curriculum in double time.

I hope that any SENCO with half a brain is going to compare the well documented reality of dealing with my Son to the viciously stark and inappropriate and non-specific list of things he should 'have access to', and scream. I certainly imagine his teachers will be screaming, but without an interpreter there, most of them will be doing that for other reasons.

He can't read faces - he reads voices, but badly. If you have a naturally authoritarian tone, if you 'tell' instead of asking, he will challenge you for being a bully, or shout his reply. If you are new to him he physically cannot absorb what you are saying whilst looking at you - its too much information. How many school teachers do you know who live by the tenet that if you do nothing else, you make sure the difficult kids are facing front and watching you?

I can see him going totally apeshit in his first week. I can see his reputation, his aspirations, his self esteem and his chance of finding a single person willing to understand him, going right down the pan.

'Access' to something, for an Aspergers sufferer, isn't just about the object being there to use. Its about being able to value it, relate to it and absorb what it has to offer. That's entirely down to presentation, to whether there is an adult there that the child already relates to, respects and trusts. Hell, being able to remember the adult's name after two terms would be an achievement.

WHY is ESCC all about the money? Why are they so rigid, so unable to interpret anything but what's in the bloody boxes? Why, after the reams of information they demand, can't they be bothered to fucking read or interpret it? What is the point of a caring system, with all the angles covered, if its staff and/or committees are peopled by jobsworths who have their eye on the piggy bank? Why is the statementing system not about showing what is needed but about politics, about forcing those in power to admit it?

Pardon all the effing. I am trying to work up enough steam to be aggressive, because the alternative is to collapse into some sort of exhausted, tearful puddle, and I'm buggered if I'm going to do that; it would be the same as letting the bastards win twice.

My God, but I've earned my grey hairs now.

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