Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Larry Botter and the Parchment of Special Educational Need

Larry lived in a normal house with normal parents, but as he approached secondary school he became increasingly aware of his special powers.
In the womb eleven years ago, Larry's number one X chromosome had developed differently from the others, leaving him with magical powers of memory and a raised X scar on his forehead which he hid under his thick mop of unruly hair.

Unfortunately for Larry, the other children began to notice that he was different, and hiding his special powers was becoming more and more difficult.

Professor Mumblemore had invited Larry to join Vogwarts from September, (a special school hidden away from the authorities beneath the South Downs that could only be reached by a flying taxi). However, He who must not be named at the Ministry for Education thought that Larry and his parents were absolute Muggles. Conspiring with Larry's current school they hatched a secret plan to shut Larry in the PE cupboard until he was 16 so that Professor Mumblemore and his team of Magicians would be unable to bring out the best him.

It may sound like bad fiction, but this is just another true story of an ordinary family who are discovering Autism and the need for Autistic children to be able to access their learning in a different way from the mainstream. As the Muggle Parents in the story, we are still finding out about our Larry and realising that he will flourish in the right learning environment.

Sadly, we are also learning that the school system and Local Education Authority are set up to thwart anyone who doesn't fit into the 'one size fits all box' of learning. Thankfully there are individual teachers and support staff who are working undercover to undermine the Ministry master plan. There are also excellent Medical Experts within the system who will not be cowed by pressure. No one from the Ministry will tell you about it, but there is even financial help in the form of the Disability living allowance and even Carers allowance if you qualify, all of which will be invaluable in your fight.

Having finally obtained our parchment of Special Educational Needs, we are just about to start writing on book two, Larry's continued fight to get into Vogwarts.

We understand the pressure of funding, and the difficulty Education departments face in handling these cases. However, a system which is fundamentally unfair and adversarial is unhelpful to all parties, but especially loaded against the family, and ultimately the child. There ought to be a fairer, quicker and cheaper way when medical evidence clearly shows overwhelming special need.

One day the system will change, and the needs of autistic children will be recognised within Education budgets and planning. In the meantime, Muggle parents everywhere remain locked in unequal battles with the heavy powers and financial resources of the State trained upon them. Only deep love for the nurture and future of the child compels them to press on.

To be continued........

No comments:

Post a Comment