Looking Back on 2016 – June

June brought us two scandals, one for the country – Brexit and for SEN, -the busting open of the SEN scandal of LEA solicitors Baker Small.

A set of gloating late night tweets allowed the company to display their true colours with their attitude towards parents of children with special needs, the outcry from parents across the country was phenomenal and made the mainstream press for the best part of a fortnight, the company soon dissolved.

‘The system is awful’ -Mark Small.

In the last few days I’ve felt insulted. Bitter. Angered by the weekends tweets by Baker Small who appeared to enjoy the difficult and heart-rending process of sen support and tribunal.

Then relieved and reaffirmed by the thousands of parents who agree they and their children have like us been bullied by their education authority into shutting up and putting up while watching their children fail. I am glad the sen battle which is often kept behind closed doors is now exposed and the general distaste from local authorities for families with disabled children is out there for the public to see.

Today, I feel sad, sad for our loss.
Sad for Dylans lack of support. His isolation that we as parents have caused by removing him from a substandard school place.
Sad for my loss. I’ve worked in excess of 45 hours a week, every week, for the last 5 years to fund Dylans education because the local authority -advised by Baker Small- reckon that the shoddy placement provided by them was sufficient for Dylans needs and so refuse to fund Dylans ABA. We paid over £5000 in tribunal costs to try and fight this and have since paid over £2000 a year to fund and maintain Dylans home programme.
I feel sad for Josh and Grace who always seem to play second fiddle to Dylans schooling which seems to have dominated our home life for half a decade. For more than half of Grace’s life we have been juggling patental/teacher/advocate roles when we should’ve been dedicating this time to her and her brother.
I feel sad for Dad who has the absolutely wonderful job of teaching Dylan at home full time but has sacrificed so much in the process.

We didn’t cause this. We’ve been let down by what Mark Small acknowleged is an awful system and this breaks my heart. While fat cats like him are making money out of this failing system there are thousands like us who are paying the price. With our time, with our money and with our children’s lives. Gutted.

Facebook post June 2016

Brexit divided the country mid June, sadly not close enough and the majority of the great British public appeared to vote to leave the EU.

For those with disabilities, the European Court of Human Rights is vital and the European Union has been overall positive for disabled people: Packaging of medicines must now include labelling in Braille; disabled drivers are reassured that their parking badges are recognised across the EU; disabled people have the right to free assistance on board aircraft and within airports when flying from or within the EU to name a few examples. These are all adaptations due to the EU not the UK.

In austerity obsessed Tory UK these will diminish and with victory for the right-wing Brexit campaign it is feared that it will exile the Human Rights Act leaving us all at risk. Already we are seeing that the most vulnerable in society are being squashed.

In years to come Dylan will be an adult who will need constant support, if family are not around to do this for him where will this support come from? If you don’t go to the benefits centre you don’t get any money – no one checks on you, how would anyone know if Dylan has any money? He would starve and probably die. And under austerity and a Conservative government this is okay – sounds harsh but its already happening.

We were at the airport when we found out that the UK had voted to leave – We were on our way to Corfu for our annual holiday. We nearly chose not to come back!

The holiday was a great break away, we go to the same hotel every year, the owners are considerate of Dylan and his needs and its a real break for us all. Dylan swam, took his Ipad and we even tried some social sorties which worked really well! The Proloquo2go package on his iPad talks for him and having 10 days away really gave us time to get it set up and model using it all day every day. Dylan had a great time, he really enjoyed being understood and even tried making friends with the other children in the hotel who played with him Josh and Grace beautifully, We were very lucky to be away with such a nice bunch of people.

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