Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sweet news...but a sour aftertaste

We had great news this week about "Bob"s outreach unit (the artist formerly known as My Son will now be renamed Bob due to his intense, and often useful, attachment to the animated Know-It-All workaholic who has difficulty expressing his true feelings for the passive aggressive Wendy...hey, could the Real Bob be on the spectrum???)


Our little unit has been allocated 450,000 yoyos to develop the service!!! Up until now, the boys have been shifted about to whatever room wasn't being used that year...not exactly banishing them to the broom cupboard, but not exactly meeting their needs either.

The principal has been very vocal in his intent to get the boys included fully within the infrastructure of the actual school...many attempts were made to fob him off with prefabs which he was assured would only be "temporary" (like the "temporary" prefabs that were built 30 years ago in my old primary school and were only replaced 2 years ago).
Thankfully he stood his ground, and when he was met with refusal he just went to that person's cut a long story short he was a complete pain to the DofE and they probably gave him the money just to make him go away. The plan is to give the boys a purpose built unit within the school which will facilitate integration with their mainstream peers.

So far so fantastic.

We are thrilled for Bob and his pals (I'll refrain from calling them Scoop or Muck, but I am so tempted).
In the great scheme of things, accessing services and education has been remarkably easy for us, which gives us great cause for celebration...but I have an awareness of the many kids for whom Outreach is just not suitable, whose parents fret and fund-raise, and sometimes divorce, from September to September, terrified that their ABA school will not exist next year.
It seems that the kids who need ABA are deemed by the DofE as some shadowy sub-culture who refuse to fit their "one-size-fits-all" model of education.
The DofE punishes those naughty, uncooperative kids by drip feeding funding, torturing their parents with cliff-hanger insecurities...and sometimes by closing schools. Bad autistic children! That'll show you!

So my son's Outreach Unit has been rubber stamped as The Model by the DofE, and I am eternally (and selfishly) grateful that Bob will benefit from their ideals...but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth that while the ink is drying on the 450,000 euro cheque, that many other autie kids are relegated to limbo, and are being punished for having needs greater than Bob's.


  1. Another great post missus!

    It is a bittersweet pill to take Jeanie but Bob and his pals will benefit greatly from this funding and better it went to his school than to no school at all. It is hard that our government seems to be more concerned at throwing life rafts to "bankers" (insert w if you prefer) and leaves our children to suffer. I have every admiration to the hoards of long suffering parents who have to battle and fight for what little the dept will drip feed them.

    Petunia xx

  2. Bob and the guys are as deserving as any other unit, however if you could bottle that Principal ....;)

    I was blessed with thick skin and a hard neck and I needed both to get the youngest cramp ABA at 3, he is now 10 and mainstreamed for the past 2 years, coping well, learning and socialising somewhat.

    Why they cannot understand the importance of early intervention is beyond me, it will save them millions .....if they would only listen to the parents once in a while.

    Happy Days to Bob, scoop etc. :))

    Great post ;)

  3. That's great news Jean. And about time too!

    If the D of E are ok with Autistic kids being traipsed around from room to room to receive an education (that the D of E deem appropriate)then they really are out of touch with the very basics of Autism. Fear of change. Bad D of E!

    I'm glad Bob & co finally got sorted out. I fit wasn't for their Principal ( and no doubt you parents in the fighting corner!) they'd probably be left traipsing around.

    Shame on you D of E. xx Jazzy