>hearings - LOU McGILL
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>hearings

>hearings

>an apt title indeed…

cried alot today

we had our appeal hearing against the exclusion today. I had written a very articulate report but we did not present well verbally due to feeling so emotional. in retrospect I should have paid for a lawyer…

They began by attacking our son so visciously that I was left practically unable to speak. He was presented as an attention seeking boy with serious emotional troubles who deliberately behaved badly and endagered the whole school so that he could be sent home!!! At one point the lawyer did a sneaky little (false laugh) when the headteacher was talking about the noise sentitvity issue saying that sometimes it was a problem and sometimes not. I am so knotted up about this laugh – how dare he laugh at the pain my son feels. I can’t help reacting even though I know to him it’s a game and he wants to win. but its not a game to us.

They said that the asd issue was irrelevant as we did not have a diagnosis which pretty much chucked our case out of the window!

The panel was made up of one councillor who describes asd as a disease and said he was only interested in the facts on the day of the exclusion (such an enlightened soul). One of the panel was totally inscrutable but made eye contact with both tim and I several times during the tirade. The chair was amazing and had significant experience (it felt close) of asd and aspergers in particular.

He raised several interesting querstions about the support (or lack of it offered to Laurie). The education service lawyer said that was irrelevant to this appeal!

We suspect that we will not win the appeal. The wanky councillor said that it didn’t matter if we win the appeal or not because if we get a diagnosis it will wipe the slate clean….

tim and I have spent all day thinking of all the damn things we should have said.

tim is all for getting a lawyer and really going for it – typical for him really but he is also very upset and angry.

in many ways it really doesn’t matter if they overturn the exclusion but at the very least we have made the headteacher have to account for her actions. The chair asked her if they had set up any special arrangements for laurie, in particular a quiet corner. She said their classrooms were all full of stimulating things – for god’s sake and they wonder why we are not going back.

The chair and the lawyer implied that we were at the wrong type of appeal and perhaps should be considering a different approach if we get a diagnosis.

I am now so scared we won’t get one… but I am being paranoid. If we don’t then the education authority don’t have to do anything to help us.

Later I took Laurie to the after school club for his assessment. He was fine about going and knew that he was going to be observed. i told him to be himself. the minute we got there he refused to go in because a certain boy was there who regularly calls him names and picks on him.

30 minutes later the staff made the boy go into a separate area and he agreed to go in. He went and sat next to a table and got his gameboy out – fairly typical. I left and returned later. I was told that he had joined in to some extent and that the psychologist had had the chance to see him interact.

Apparently she said something along the lines of – he was very different than when he was in her office. what the **** does that mean. we wont know till 2nd June.

I am going completely mad.

For someone who has a serious issue about labels (as my friend Sarah) knows very well – here am I needing one.

And yet the label is so not the important thing. I am perfectly happy with my son as he is. In fact I am very proud of his courage and resiliance. I am amazed by his wonderful brain. tim is developing a theory about so called disorders such as dyslexia (which he himself has) and autism as being related to something we needed to to in the past (in an evolutionary sense). An interesting theory as I do feel that there is some genetic thing going on with Laurie. those superior senses would have made us very good hunters. i remember when I was pregnant and noticing my sense of smell increasing dramatically. I’m convinced that this is due to the natural need to protect my young. In fact come to think of it there was a kind of strange and dangerous smell going on today; )

I’ve made a set on flickr called ‘autistic spectrum – a world of black and white’ which aims to educate and enlighten people about it. The title refers to both the b&w high contrast photos and also the extreme literal interpretation that Laurie takes. Each photo has a little sentence about some aspect of being on the spectrum. Several people have called it educational so i am very pleased about that – I do believe educating the world is crucial in this battle.

I put some of the photos into scoring groups to make people engage with them. To be honest they often don’t pay any attention to the words and totally misread the photo. most assume because of the long hair and pretty face that it’s a girl… however alot see the powerful messages.

an important outcome is that these ones sometimes get enough attention to end up in explore. This is the top 500 photos (based on varying and changing criteria auch as number of views, comments and favourites) for each day. this can give a photo more exposure and so also I hope, the message.

I’m turning into an evangelist…

here is another photo from the set. a favourite of mine because it has serious attitude and that is what I need.

It’s called searching for diamonds in the sulpher mine after an old favourite track by Van der Graff Generator (showing my age). It has been blogged here http://flickrfavesfromtheex.blogspot.com/

it looks better very large but the format is unusual.

searching for diamonds in the sulphur mine

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5 Comments
  • Kym
    Posted at 19:38h, 09 May Reply

    >Where has empathy gone? The lawyer with his “game” to win, and the “witchmistress”, Sweet Jesus I don’t know how they sleep at night. I really don’t.
    Aspergers a disease???? Does he know the word syndrome/disorder
    The chair at least sounds somewhat decent and sticking up for you and Laurie and Tim. I can’t believe that “witchmistress” saying how stimulating the classroom is , DUH???
    You my dear soul are a loving and wonderful mother fighting for her beautiful son I soooooooo admire your strength and determination! Really!!!

  • PhotoPath
    Posted at 22:18h, 09 May Reply

    >Hi L (and Laurie)

    I’ve just been having a look at L’s stuff on flickr – Laurie could support himself, and you, with his art already – whatever happens at school, whatever they throw at you – it’s up to you to laugh in their face because you know what Laurie can do and what he is capable of doing.

    My wife is a LS teacher in lothian and is, at the moment, setting up an inclusion unit for kids autistic kids, trying to smooth their way back into mainstream. If I show her your report of the meeting with Lauries head teacher you’ll hear the explosion in Glasgow!!
    I didn’t realise Laurie was so young, this is the kind of hassle which I’d expect a 16 / 17 year old to be getting – not a wee boy in primary school!!
    You need some help here – you need to get someone on Lauries side to fight this for you – you’re too close and it’ll take too much out of you but someone has to do it for all the different Lauries out there.
    Let someone see what he creates from his photography – they say a picture is worth a thousand words….

  • Sarah
    Posted at 21:17h, 10 May Reply

    >Hi babe, just a note to say “yup, still listening, still checking in every day to your blog”.. horrible, horrible people.. I think I agree with photopath- if you can afford it get a lawyer or some kind of outside help (or maybe it’s just my fantasy from watching too many American lawyer tv shows 🙂 they always save the day, and wouldn’t it also be nice if doctors were all like the ones on ER and police always know who’s guilty so it doesn’t matter if they plant evidence to get the bad guy and Martin Sheen really is the liberal leader of the free world).. I love this image I have now of Tim’s raging Aries ram coming out snorting and pawing the ground… Anyway, whatever you do, do what you need to for yourself to stay strong for Laurie.. you’re doing all the right things, they are abusing you and your family, that’s not your fault. (BTW I wasted a terrible day in Birmingham today at the JISCo Disco – you’re not missing anything out here in work-land) Big hugs to all, phone if you need anything xxxx

  • Joker The Lurcher
    Posted at 10:43h, 11 May Reply

    >hi lou

    don’t know where to start! well i suppose to say get a lawyer but i would say that wouldn’t i? if you want me to research the good ones up there let me know.

    its funny about the exclusion panel thing because we spent ages trying to get our son formally excluded because it would help towards proving mainstream was wrong for him. the school used to phone us to come and get him because they couldn’t cope but they wouldn’t formally exclude him because of their statistics. if we had managed to get him excluded we would probably have had a party rather than appealled!

    i think you need to choose your battles carefully (which is advice we were given about dealing with owen but it makes as much sense in the legal sense too). don’t waste energy fighting people who are irrelevant but put all your energies into fighting for what you think is right in terms of provision for laurie. the people at his old school are no longer important now you have moved on so keep their letters and reports to laugh at when things improve.

    if you don’t get a diagnosis from the LEA (which i think is unlikely from what you say) it is worth paying a private ed psych – we did this and it was money well spent.

    what i always say is whatever doesn’t break you makes you strong – and wise. my best bit of advice would be never to lose your sense of humour about it all – its what has kept us going!

    hell i sound like an agony aunt again – sorry!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 11:39h, 19 May Reply

    >This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.
    »

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