3 things have happened in the space of 7 days that have made me livid, so I had no option but to complain about BS:
1) Last week, a man came to my house to demo a wheelchair adapted vehicle for my son. He was from a very successful firm who specialise in vehicle conversions for physically disabled people (my son is a wheelchair user). Long story short I had to report him to the police because he accidentally showed what I thought was a naked disabled girl on his computer instead of a rear telescopic ramp system. The police have assured me it wasn’t a disabled girl, but the beginning of a porn film involving an ‘oriental’ young woman. The police are confident his taste in porn is adults only, and I’m still waiting for an apology from the company, and details of how the guy has been disciplined. Apparently he needs to watch porn because his job takes him away from home a lot. My heart bleeds.
I’d like the man to be sacked. Bit harsh you might think, but if he needs porn to get through his days, he’s not the kind of person I trust to visit potentially vulnerable people. Also, he compromised me and my family. The lack of any apology from the company suggests they are hoping I will just forget about it, but why should I? The way I felt, thinking he had photos of children (disabled and naked) just made me sick, and it made me want to go and collect both my children from school and lock ourselves away for the rest of our lives. When I found out it was an adult, those feelings didn’t leave me, because it was a stark moment of reality – my son and children like him are not safe.
2) When I saw Baker Small’s first couple of tweets I was livid. A couple of years ago I had a brief Twitter convo with him and he was comparing a child’s provision to cars. Enough said. Probably a Jeremy Clarkson fan. Anyway, admittedly I was a bit childish in one of my tweets to him on Saturday night, when I asked him if he was still breastfed, but I was gobsmacked at how little he seemed to care about the impact his comments were having, like a young child who can only but speak the truth because they have no filter. And although I knew to be wary of him, it clicked on Saturday night that he thought he was completely untouchable. Just like LA staff I have dealt with do. Somehow they know they can do or say whatever they want, and there is no comeback because the only option for parents is to go to the tribunal. The maladministration dished out daily by LAs goes unchallenged because a body such as the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) won’t touch it because there is another means of action i.e the tribunal, and the tribunal are not interested in the shenanigans of LAs, just the decision. They’ve got us all ways, so when BS started shooting his mouth off, I had to report him. Just like the fella who thinks its ok to expose me and my family to his ‘medicinal’ porn. I’ve had enough.
3) This happened today, but has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks: 5 parents and I (all from Wigan) met with the Chief Executive, Director of Childrens Services, and two Assistant Directors from Social care and Education, at the Town Hall. Almost 2 years to the day, after we appeared on BBC Regional news telling our stories of how our disabled children had been abused, mistreated & neglected in school. The Chief Executive was given the right to reply, and she sat in the BBC studio and told viewers we were wrong, that judges had cleared the council of any fault. Utter BS. So, 2 years on, we met with them to present this report:
I think the findings are scathing. I think we have been treated like dirt, and when the Chief Executive was asked today if she’d go on TV and publicly apologise to us, she declined. You see it’s still about the reputation of the council. It doesn’t matter that 6 families were portrayed as troublemakers and difficult just because Wigan Council didn’t know their arses from their elbows, just as long as the public don’t know the truth.
Well this is the truth:
• SEND law is not adhered to in LAs
• No one is ever accountable
• Parents who challenge are labelled ‘difficult’ or ‘never satisfied’
• LA staff show their dislike of parents
• It’s personal
• The child ‘disappears’
• The gloves come off
• It’s about ‘winning’ the tribunal
• LAs use tax-payers money to fund external solicitors and barristers (why the hell can’t their in house solicitors do it? More to the point why can’t a LA officer present the case at tribunal?)
• The tribunal becomes focussed on legal rules and legal point scoring so god help an unrepresented parent. Provision for the child is less important.
• The child loses out
• The family breaks down
• Years of children’s lives are being lost whilst this goes on; time they’ll never get back.
• What could the money LAs use to fund legal representation be better spent on? It’s not rocket science.
I guess that’s it. I’ve had enough of being treated like an unreasonable consumer with faulty goods that no one wants. I’ve had enough of people making a shed load of money at the expense of some little kid who deserves and is entitled to the same opportunities as his/her peers. I’ve had enough of the way parents’ battles have become the norm, something to be expected, par for the course. Parents of children with no SEND do not have to fight for basic provision to ensure their child is in a position ready to learn, but our kids have to feel grateful for someone to take them to the toilet, or let them go on a school trip. Enough’s enough.
I hope Baker Small can tell some more truths now, about the real conversations he and LAs are having about parents, and how they prepare for their ‘win at all costs’ tribunal. It’s time for change and I’m sad that it’s taken the stupidity of a solicitor to get the issues faced by parents of children with SEND being discussed seriously. But they are being talked about now so let’s hope we get some action!