Still not that Special


I’ve had a lot to report since my last post ;

Claudia has turned 18 and we enjoyed an amazing train ride and pub dinner with family and friends to celebrate. So much to say about that.

I have fractured my ankle in inglorious circumstances and am suddenly – and shockingly in plaster for six weeks – which has turned our life upside down, tested our stress levels and patience and thrown into sharp light how ill-prepared we have been for a primary care giver to be out of action.

So much to say here but I’m still in shock at navigating the quagmire of ACC and panic at trying to secure help.

And now suddenly the Ministry of Education has announced a shake up to the funding of the children previously known as those with “special needs” who will henceforth to be known as those requiring “learning support”.

Which now bundles all children who benefit from some extra learning support resources inextricably in with those who do have some underlying medical condition which prompts that need. That’s a bit bonkers.

And don’t even get me started on the ignorant and woefully optimistic declaration that from now on “special education” is to be called “inclusive education”. Because anyone who knows anything about both terms and both ideologies knows they are SO not the same. Just so, so not.

I’m so tired of it

Changing the words to describe our children won’t change our children and changing the words to describe the system wont change the problems inherent in it. I wouldn’t normally object to a better direction for labels but this is all such a smokescreen. Calling something inclusive without doing anything to make it more so is such cynical bullshit. 

It’s great they intend to “invest” more into preschool settings.

But they also state there will be no increase in overall funding.

And they’re going to be “reviewing” the current funding for people aged 18-21.

That’s Claudia and her peers.

Her needs are not reducing as she gets older but the indications are her access to support will.

I’m so tired of it.

Support translates as money. What we need is money.

Enough for enough teachers aids to support classroom teachers to teach all learners and to help all students to achieve more than we expect.

In every school.

We need access to specialists in speech and behavior therapy to ensure all students of all ages can express themselves and socialize.

We need schools to be welcoming. To be rewarded for being magnet schools and accountable if they’re not.

We need Principals who embrace a culture of inclusion, model it from the top and expect it form all their staff.

We need the barriers to inclusion to be identified and removed. And to admit the first barrier is a shitty attitude.

It hasn’t changed in the 18 years since my daughter was born.

Changing the names of the services and the faces of the bureaucrats and the titles of the research papers has done nothing to change the need and the solution.

But they will bend themselves inside out rather than admit the real need here – more money.

I’m so tired of it.