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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Laser Beak Man

I've mentioned Laser Beak Man on this blog before. I know online etiquette says you should link to previous said blog pots, but stuff it, if you didn't see it the first time then you were probably doing something more interesting than read this blog. Good for you. Anyway,  I really do love LBM, and more so Tim Sharp, his creator, and even more so again, his mum, Judy. Today Harri and I met them after having occasional contact via Facebook over the years. Here's superstar Tim,

And here we all are, the artwork behind us is Tim's "Always Look On The Bright Side',

And here's Laser Beak Man,

Lastly, Harri and Tim. This picture means so much to me,

Tim and Judy's story offered a real boost back when Harri's diagnosis was new, and also since that time when we've hit some tough patches. Judy has been incredibly generous with offers of support over the years, so to finally meet and have a real life hug and chin-wag was quite awesome.

If you don't know who Tim and Judy are you can start by watching this,

Friday, August 29, 2014

School Part 2.

I wrote some time back about the challenges Harri is facing at school. It's a common enough lament among parents of spectrumites, school is a special kind of hell, the sensory challenges, the social difficulties, the processing problems. As Harri's paediatrician says "it is a torture chamber for kids like him".  So the best a parent can do if they feel the school is able to offer a decent level of support is to advocate consistently on behalf of your child, to educate and get the best shot at consistency from those who interact with them daily. Hoping to hell all those people have your child's best interests at heart, or at least are well intentioned, open minded and prepared to learn what your child's best interests actually are. Holding in mind it may look very different to what they initially perceive that to be.

Eventually though it's highly likely you are going to encounter someone whose opinions clash with your own in regards to what level of accommodation your child needs. They may balk at differential interventions and other processes that scaffold your child's learning, making accusations of molly coddling a child who is capable of more. They may think the sensory breaks your child is given are pandering to his manipulative and defiant behaviours in class. That his oppositional acts are the direct result of the accommodations being made and therefore he needs clear and consistent consequences, such as punishment to force compliance. And thus it is now for him.

After a tough year Harri's teacher, aide and I developed a clear strategy for dealing with his more challenging and intractable behaviours, and spent considerable time passing on those skills to others who also came into the class with good results. But a senior staff member didn't understand the complex challenges we'd navigated, and the effective outcomes we'd achieved. They made decisions, poor decisions, that pulled the rug out from under all of us, primarily Harri. And we've been dealing with the consequences ever since.

The only response I was left with was to withdraw Harri from school on the days he was at risk from a staff member who clearly believed she had the answers to 'sort him out'.  And so for now he is attending school part time because those who know him least have the power to do the most damage. Parental advocacy can only take your child so far, the rest is up to the good will or otherwise of others. Sadly for so many of our kids ignorance is the antithesis to good outcomes and ignorance abounds still within the education sector.