Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About LancsLad

  • Rank
    Mt Blanc
  • Birthday 07/03/1965

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Design, Environment, Politics, Computer Games, Triathlon

Recent Profile Visitors

1,121 profile views
  1. Firstly I would like to say that these boards are not 'dead' rather I feel they are now dead in respect to certain sections of the ASD community and that is what happens when the opinions and beliefs of one particular section tend to overpower those of other sections. I am not an expert on the ATOS process Psychotic Big Brother but I have been through it and come out of the other side and so I have one experience of it. It may be the case that people who currently contribute to these boards don't have that experience. I also feel more people will come to this post through general searches i.e. ATOS & ASD and so something should be here, so here goes. There are a few things I would like to start with because I feel these are important in respect to others understanding my own experiences. The reality for me going into the process is that I received 10p per week of Incapacity Benefit and coming out of this process I would either receive 10p per week regardless of which group I was to be placed in JSA, the Activity Group or the Support Group. I say this because I didn't have anything to lose regarding the decision at a financial level and I was also open to any of the outcomes and wasn't aiming for one particular position. I think this is important because at no point in the process was I playing games though I can start to understand why people might feel that game playing is something they should or have to do. My advice is don't play games be open and honest and have some self respect. Another factor in respect to myself is that there are two sides to my case a mental health side and a physical side due to spinal issues. The reality is that I would have reached my final position if I had present just one half of things but so people are aware there are other aspects to my case besides mental health and autistic elements. Whilst you will have already filled in your form Psychotic Big Brother for other people who might not be that far into the process I will talk about this stage to give a complete picture. I made the decision firstly not to put a great deal of information onto the form which I was asked to fill in. I gave an indication of my conditions using the medical terms and indicated the level of the individual who diagnosed me. When it came to providing evidence I wrote a short sentence in the boxes provided but made the conscious decision not to include anything else when I sent the form in. I likewise researched into things and looked at evidence related to the ATOS process. From what I found out the levels at which you have been diagnosed are critical to this process. To explain this I am going to take another aspect of my own case my 'bad back'. Now one aspect of this is I suffer from Sciatica as do many other individuals who will have gone through these assessment processes. From what I understand if someone is diagnosed with Sciatica by their GP and only diagnosed at that level then their Sciatic condition is not taken into consideration. In a way I suspect ATOS are saying it can't be that serious if the individual is only that far into the system. In my own case I didn't use the word Sciatica at any point in my form what I said was this; Disc and endplate degeneration present at L5 - S1 Disc dehydration moderately large broad based herniation impacting on S1 nerve roots. L4 - L5 dehydration and degenerative bulging L3 vertebra sizeable simple haemangioma Main symptoms low back pain radiating into legs I gave the name and contact details of the consultant surgeon who made the diagnosis and left it at that. I know from my own research that the key in this sort of area is that any diagnosis has to have been made off the back of an MRI scan. Now I don't want to go into the mental health aspects of my own case not because I have anything to hide rather I feel people reading this would simply start to compare themselves and I do not feel that is very constructive for themselves. I have however used this back example to bring out a point. When you go to the medical assessment you will be seen as far as I understand at one of two levels. ATOS receives funding and pays its assessors at these two levels. It is very evident if you sit in an ATOS centre that one set of individuals are going in and out every 10 minutes or so because they are being seen at the first level normally by individuals drawn from the nursing sector. When I was sitting in the centre, I was half an hour early, I was quite concerned by this if I am honest. My point is if my 'bad back' and sciatica was diagnosed 'only' at a GP level then I suspect I would have found myself in this group to be seen by a nurse, to have a quick medical examination and that would have been that. I am not sure but if for example I had a GP letter to say they suspected a diagnosis of Asperger's and only that then I might well have experienced a quick in and out type of thing. There is however a second level where the fees are higher and it is for ATOS to make a decision as to who to feed in at that level based on what they see on the form. Now in my experience my assessment lasted around 55 minutes. I was seen by an individual who had worked at a high level within the NHS who would have had good specialist knowledge of some of my conditions. After a while it was also obvious that ATOS had contacted the relative consultants as she was feeding things back to me which I hadn't given to them in the form. So my advice is don't worry about sending in loads of information because ATOS will collect it and if GP's and consultants want to charge a fee for writing a report for ATOS then I think they should. Throughout the assessment my assessor was friendly and very professional, she was also understanding. We talked for about 10 minutes regarding the state of mental health services in my area. A concern of mine was that I don't get much in terms of mental health support, I don't have a care plan let alone a care co-ordinator on paper let alone someone to go and see. She was fully understanding of this and understood that was a reflection on the local mental health services and not a reflection on myself. She asked me about medication and why I have come to the decision not to take anything such as anti-depressants and was also understanding about my position. My point here is in my experience there isn't a need to back everything up with stuff such as professional support and medication regimes rather in my experience the assessor was open minded. When it comes to how I presented at the beginning of the interview I said "I will try my best but if I get a bit knackered along the way I hope you understand". The assessors response was take your time and have a break if you need it. I have to say at no point in the assessment did I feel under any pressure. We got towards the end of the interview and she asked me did I want her to do a physical assessment or not which really surprised me. I questioned her about her statement and she told me I was through the 15 point mark in both the mental health and physical aspects of the process so the examination was not relevant if I didn't want it. For fullness of process I went ahead with things and the examination focused on my back and that day some things were good and some things were poor but that is normal. As I got dressed and things wound down I chatted to the assessor as to how she felt about doing the job and she was very open. Her opinion was things are getting better and 'they' are learning from the process. She said no two people are alike and that they were trying to give a balanced and fair report. She told me there and then that she would be recommending me to the Support Group and that I would hear from the DWP in the within 4 to 6 weeks in reality it was about 4. As I said at the beginning I am no expert rather these are the experiences of one individual. Since being placed in the support group I have contacted the local job centre had an interview and exploited my options and as such being in the support group or the activity group doesn't make any real difference. If I was in the activity group I would have to go for six interviews but what is on offer which isn't much is on offer to me anyway rather I can choose to access it. So what are my own conclusions having been through the process. Firstly I would say the process is a lot tighter than some of the old ATOS process surrounding things like Incapacity Benefit. Now I am not saying it is fair rather it is tighter. Because of that I think trying to be manipulative even when the motives are genuine is a bit pointless and can only be harmful to the individual concerned in the long run. So regardless of an individual's approach to the process I think the outcome would pretty much be the same. A big determining factor in the outcome is the level at which you are seen. In my experience the assessor was highly respectful of any decision made by a consultant in her field. When it came to mental health issues her default position was one of respecting her colleagues in those fields who were at similar or a higher level. And that is the critical point. For example she knew my diagnosis for AS was from the Sheffield service and she said to me "that is a centre of excellence isn't it" and I had to say "yes I guess so". Throughout the process I got a feeling of I am a 'consultant' level case. At one point she commented that I was about to see a consultant psychotherapist as I had given the date of the first meeting, which in reality was three meetings which led to nothing, however I suspect her rationale was not everyone gets to see a consultant psychotherapist and therefore that was good enough for her. Now at a personal level I don't know what it is like to go in with a collection of letters from a GP or an old educational psychologist report or the fact I am taking lots of medication. What I can also say I didn't set about embellishing things along the line of "oh you don't know how bad my bad days are", if anything I did the opposite. And at the end of the day I was put in the support group based on acquiring at least 30 points with 15 being the threshold. So has that made any difference to me, no not really it was just a case of the government said I had to go through a tick box process and the outcome is the outcome, at the end of the day the thing that I can effect is how I feel about myself and nothing has changed there. Likewise I went and looked at forums and stuff like that and it is hard not to have your concerns Psychotic Big Brother and that will be true of others entering into this process. What I would say is I didn't and don't know the issues these forum contributors have and importantly what their mindset is regarding those issues. My own feelings about the system is there has to be a line somewhere and that will mean people on either side of that line may not be happy about being labelled with something but at the end of the day it is just a label. I don't like the label of being in the 'support group' but for others that may be a target though an unrealistic one. I was surprised to find out that I was the first person in my area to contact the Job Centre asking for a voluntary interview from the support group. And the guy who interviewed me said a lot of people from the 'activity' group sit in front of him moaning that ATOS have got it wrong and they should be in the support group and not there, so is the line in the wrong place? At the end of the day it is a process based on ticking boxes against fixed criteria. Personally I don't think it is a case of whether ATOS are fair or not, rather they are doing a job and as my assessor told me it is not pleasant at times and she is doing it short term for her own reasons related to family, at the end of the day these assessors are human and not robots. The real issue of fairness is about who has been able to acquire diagnosis throughout their lives at certain levels and who is not. The position I guess the government makes is believing that the most needy will have been seen at the right levels and that is a big mistake to make in many ways. I suspect one of the difficult things for many individuals is they might have been seen lots and lots of times, but the professionals who have seen them may have felt no need to get them seen higher up the system, and they may well be right in that decision. I think the issue is if people are seen a lot at lower to mid levels then they start to feel their conditions must be significant . For example I have seen my GP about 16 months ago regarding my 'bad back' and I have not seen him since after he referred me on. Now I have gone through a system where a consultant specialist surgeon is happy to do pretty extensive remodelling surgery when I am ready, and as I am 48 years of age I am going to try and push it out a bit longer because they can't do it a second and third time and we want to see how the tumour develops. That is the level of my back and there is a note which sits on the system related to the surgery. Now I guess some people see their own GP's once a month about their bad back's and go to classes and see a physiotherapist all things I don't do so are their bad backs significant because of their 'bad back activity'? The problem for ATOS is that they then come along and draws a line and individuals feel they are on the wrong side of it because in their minds they see their conditions as highly significant possibly based on the 'activity' they have with services. And that is what this process is really all about cultural change and people are entitled to have their own views on that as do I as to where I think I fit. But I understand the government pays my 10p per week and so it is their prerogative to put me somewhere isn't it? In response to the issues in your initial post Psychotic Big Brother, I would say just go to the interview and be yourself because there is little if anything you can say or do which will influence things. My assessor told me she had done the majority of her work on my case even before meeting me and that could only have been about the evidence ATOS had acquired. So I would say try not to view this as a personal thing on the day of the assessment. I would also say that post this process what difference does it make in reality and for a lot of people that difference is five quid a week which will only exist until the activity group catches up to the support group in about five years time. So do you sell your soul for five quid a week I wouldn't. If you are placed into the activity group and feel you are not capable of much as my supervisor said there is little they can do besides sit there month after month and try and explain why trying something might actually be a better option, as he said if people reject that what can he do? It might be the case that you are placed in the JSA group and if you have any evidence at any sort of 'reasonable' level that is unlikely. As I said these are my experiences and conclusions people may have experienced different things and they are free to express them. I am not an expert so feel free to take or leave these comments, if someone finds this useful then it will have been worth the effort in writing it. At the end of the day I feel it is more important how we look at ourselves than how the world decides to look at us because they will have very mixed opinions anyway. Mike.
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOyDTy9DtHQ
  3. I felt it might be appropriate to explain why I am leaving the forum something I have thought about for some time. At times people talk on here about RL or 'real life' and for a year the forum has been part of my real life and I have made no distinctions there. At times my real life can be messy and complex and because of this I have experienced a lot and consequently learnt a lot of lessons along the way often painfully, but that is how life is. It throws things at us and we have to deal with them. The forum is no different it isn't virtual, and it certainly isn't a Disney cartoon. I have been living my life in my current location for around twelve years now, a three bed roomed home on the bend in a reasonably quiet cul-de-sac on a new housing development. I am part of the community I live in and they are part of me. In that time I have partied and thrown a Caribbean barbecue on New Year's Day and I have shared lifestyle interests with other members running and cycling that type of stuff, the things you do. I believe today I will be saying goodbye to my neighbour who I have known for ten years and hopefully saying hello to a new couple who have bought the house next door. So why am I saying these things. I am painting one side of the picture first because the other side can be as I said can be messy. For a period of this time myself and my partner were registered short term and emergency foster carers. At times I would be called out in the middle of the night to find a child or older teenager in a police station often because of very real emotional trauma in their lives. I would bring these individuals home and it would be true to say at times they were not placid, why would they be. They were frightened and confused and at times their language and behaviour could be aggressive but I expected that, I looked past it in the short term and did what I knew best, I cared. We had children placed with us who were not stable at first and at times they ran away and our little cul-de-sac would be lit with blue flashing lights illuminated by the police cars. And every now and again I am not sure why I would look to my partner and say "what must the neighbours think". I say I don't know why because we both knew we were doing the right thing and a lot of good to boot. But life was not just messy for us because life is life after all. I guess the worst thing that has happened in this little corner of the country was summed up well when I heard a terrible scream one morning at about 5:30 am. I got myself organised to walk out into a cold frost morning to see an ambulance and two paramedics trying to revive a sixteen year old girl, a neighbour, a part of our community who had been brought down from a tree. It was obvious that they were not going to win this battle there was no body heat there at all in her, the frost told me that, she had been dead for some time. I hate going out on my runs that way because the tree is still there and I remember her face, but sometimes it is right that we remember, some things we should never forget. I can remember the estate at the time coming out with the cliché 'you never would have expected it in that family'. Sometimes it is hard to find the right words. I had been in this position before having to tell a group of twelve year olds one of their number had decided to take his own life the previous night, they didn't know the police officer stood behind me, they did know me I had been their form tutor. Sometimes we need different words with adults my experiences have taught me that and it is difficult but we have to find the words, we have to show others we care. Most days you look at my little cul-de-sac and it is nothing special. I like it in the summer when the kids animate it with their play. Very often they run across lawns to fetch a ball or whilst playing tick, I guess some people don't like this but try explaining a boundary to a five year old simply having a good time, the place would be too quiet without them. But this little corner does have its moments we had an ambulance in it last week, it's not the first heart attack it has seen and that individual is now safely back at home so the paramedics win some days. This cul-de-sac has over the twelve years seen its fair share of life, relationship break ups, kids growing up and leaving home, celebrations over exam results and a new job, commiserations as jobs are lost. It has seen 'L' plates being ripped up it has seen cars limping home damaged to be towed away, I guess its fair share really. And a lot of it must go unnoticed behind closed doors. I have a neighbour with AS, someone like me, he is fourteen now and I have offered my support but his parents prefare the behind closed door thing, but it seems he is doing well starting to come out of himself a bit. But I guess I had my breakdown behind closed doors in fact behind my bedroom door most days if I am honest. And I guess the time I have spent in secure units looks the same as the time I have spent away at university to the cul-de-sac. Some things we see some things we don't. So why have I decided to leave the forum after a year. Over the last week or so I have got a strong feeling that I am merely in a rented property. I have to be careful what I say and do otherwise I might not have a roof over my head. I get rules presented to me that the landlords say I have to follow. And I guess because of that this place can never be a home for me because real life doesn't work and feel like that in my experience. I know I can't pick and chose my neighbours who might arrive today, we might get on well who knows, I will simply try my best. I cycle some days past a gated community in the beautiful Ribble Valley it has security gates and big walls around it and if full of city types who work I guess in Manchester and Liverpool, the views are amazing so why build a big wall to live behind the only danger up there is the odd sheep in an adjacent field. In a similar way the forum doesn't feel real to me it feels artificial and over constructed it doesn't sit in the natural landscape. It builds wall to lock things out and in doing so it denies the community inside insight into what is happening around them. I guess one persons castle is another person's prison. Our little cul-de-sac is built around a road and in many ways we can't predict what will come along that road because it is connected to a massive road network which is complex and diverse. In a similar way the forum is open for people to visit to come in form who knows where. I don't think it is appropriate to vet the vehicles coming into our estate and I don't think it is possible to vet the membership of this forum. People will come in with what they will come in with. I think all you can do is hope they see enough to respect and appreciate the values of the community which is here. And not all issues come from outside in fact most develop within and in a similar way the community will be tested. Will they come out in times of need or will they say that one or two individuals are spoiling the neighbourhood and tell them to get back indoors and keep their issues to themselves. I thought I had found a home here for life this time last year, but I have found the landlords agreement so restrictive that real life doesn't really happen here. It tries to at times but there is too much suppression taking place. As a result this community is not healthy, it is not growing rather it is getting bitter and twisted and being forced back into their own little boxes. Interaction isn't happening in the main road rather it is made up of exchanges over back fences and at times bitter exchanges. So I have decided to vacate my property in this particular cul-de-sac and will look for a home elsewhere. I will visit one or two neighbours in PM for a while. Take care and I wish you all well, Mike.
  4. Ben nothing has changed except I have been open in saying what i feel it is you which is saying in your opinion I am teading a line that would be banned on other forums.
  5. I think it really needs to be understood that ASD is a banner under which a massively diverse range of individuals sit. ASD is not a cliché far from it and as such that diversity needs to be recognised. Within the mix of the membership there are some incredibly talented individuals who have done an awful lot in life, and a lot of that is because of having high levels of autistic energy couple with their other existing personality traits and attributes. Now personally I do not see having a rich and diverse mix in the membership as a problem rather I see it as an issue. I know when it comes to myself I have not interest to come to the forum and impose my ideas and thoughts onto others, rather I try to simply be myself and if people can get something from that then I am happy for that to happen. Likewise I am here to learn more about myself through the experiences of others, rules teach me nothing, other peoples experiences an awful lot more. I believe trying to find a centre ground in the community and constructing rules around that position is not in the best interests for everyone who is member. In fact what it does is it isolates people on the extremes of the spectrum. I can honestly say as an individual I have learnt more about my own autistic traits by spending time in special school environments with wonderful individuals who would be classed as having for a better term 'classic autism'. So I am not saying only people like myself have something to offer far from it. If people feel there needs to be rules to protect individuals from the views and experiences of other members such as myself then I find that very disturbing and somewhat hurtful. I can personally as an individual draw on my experiences in the care system and what professional views were of myself. I can find strength that others trusted me with some of the most vulnerable cases you could come across and invited me to help train others. Personally I come to the forum as a member in trying to help others. I don't make a big song and dance about stuff which is going on in my own life. I have juggled posting today with going for a training run in a lot of discomfort and having a discussion with the DWP today who are intending to cut my benefits down to 10p per week starting in a fortnight. I am dealing with those things in my own way and that is possibly because I don't feel the support is here on the forum for me though I try and contribute a lot. And at times I think what is the point. I do not feel experience is really valued. I do not find the forum to be very solution orientated rather it is all about recycling negative emotional exchanges and people generally feeling sorry for themselves. When I came to the forum just under a year or so ago I had worked through many of the issues associated with my own diagnosis and felt I was in a position to positively offer something back to the community which I am a part of. As I said a couple of weeks ago I have never felt as isolated as an individual than I do in this place. And that is very sad, as such it is possibly the time for me to walk away. The forum is large enough to lose an individual such as myself but I suspect there has been a steady stream of people with similar sorts of experiences and attributes who have been walking away over the years. It takes a lot for me to walk away from something and it is not about moderators in particular it is about the fact that whilst many of us simply are happy to be Indians and one of the tribe the fact we chose to do so doesn't mean we haven't got an awful lot to contribute. I guess at the end of the day I am not well adapted to an 'emotional sound bite face book culture' which the forum is transforming into. It is now at the point where I do not think the majority of people can be even bothered to read posts let alone think about what is being said.
  6. You make a very good point about strong moral and ethical compasses. I think it is also important to understand that it is not just the compass which is important it is the rough storms and seas which that device and the individual who has held it have been through. And there are a few such individuals on this forum who have seen their fair share of storms. Now are we getting to the state that we are completely disregarding the experience and knowledge of certain individulas in favour of a hypothetical 'guest' who might be looking in and take offence. Because I for one given what I have been through in life and the professional postions I have been in could find that highly offensive. Because you are using a rule not to defend an ethical position rather are using it to try and disregard and silence experience. And in response to members putting stuff up for effect and expecting others to mind read what their motives are is that not unfair, yet the defence seems to be for that individual and the target is the person who was possibly making a genuine response to try and help them from a well informed position.
  7. For information SaSkimrande a post was put up last night by a regular member and there were only myself the poster and two of the new moderating team on the forum. I was in the middle of constructing what I believed to be well thought out response based on my own experiences both personal and in working with individuals in the care system. To the moderators concerned it would have been easy to see I had been on the post for a good few minutes when it was locked out and later deleted by the moderators. I did not get the chance to make the post. Personaly I couldn't agree more with what you have said here. I am not a fan for moderation, this is nothing personal about individuals rather I believe in free speech nothing more, nothing less. Last night I was left feeling that there is little or no respect for some people on this forum, if it is not a place to express ourselves what is it?
  8. Happy Christmas to everyone. My son is playing away with his new Skylanders. As for myself just got back from a 45min training run which was really nice and quiet along the local tracks, chance for peace and quiet and getting my head together. Bit of a clean up and then it will be down to sorting out the dinner and settling back with a glass of red wine or two. Have a good day.
  9. Would agree The Week is worth a look or get one of the sunday papers and work through it bit by bit. I think newspaers are something you have a preference for I personally like the Guardian or the Independant but preference often relates to political leanings. I always find The Big Issue to be worth the money on a number of levels. Whilst I follow the internet and 24 news there is something to be said for getting on the sofa with a good magazine or newspaper and taking the time to read and reflect on things at your own pace.
  10. Schools and experienced teachers are good at creating environments which are well structured and organised. Kids associate with these regimes and respond by controling their behaviour. For example a couple of weeks back my partner a very experienced SENCO went around to a home to get a child into school and the parents said the second she walked through the door everything changed he ran upstairs, got ready and dressed and came down grabbed a bit of breakfast no problem whatsoever climbed into the car and was fine at school all day. My partner said as soon as she walked through the door of the house she was well aware of what was happeneing a few minutes earlier the state of the house and the parents face told her that. In this case the child simply through association falls into a way of behaving. What i will say and my partner will fully recognise this and that is this is not sustainable 24/7. For individuals with ASD there is massive pressure to maintain these levels of control for a few hours. I know because I am one of those people. At times we need the space to simply let go, we are a pressure cooker which has a lot of built up energy in it and it needs to be let out bit by bit. I agree violent behaviour is not the answer but it is a very quick solution for an individual. Personally I run or play intense computer games and just let it go that way. I would suggest you need to give him the space to let go in a 'constructive' way. He has just been through a very intensive experience, how he relates to it is not how the average kid would relate to or how you might. Simply think about having a very stressful day of your own and magnifying that by five or ten and how would you want people to behave towards you. If he is left alone running around screaming and shouting as long as he is not damaging stuff leave him to it until things come back into balance for him. Because that is what we are trying to achieve a level of 'balance' which feels right. When we are involved in that process and people are coming in with things and we are simply not ready to deal with them, things such as your tea is on the table it just makes things more complex. As I have got older i am 47 now i have learnt to develop better techniques and I can come down from a stressful experience in stages and with a lot of control. When I was five I was a handful. By the age of about 7 or 8 I was the kid who would climb onto the roof of our terraced house, I would sit there and calm down and let things settle, it was my place and my space. I would come in blasting through the front door through the kitchen into the yard, onto the coal bunker and onto the kitchen roof. If it wasn't working I would go up the drain pipe and up to the apex of the roof and sit next to the chimney stack which was often warm in winter. The only real issue was picking the pointing out of the brickwork at times. I would suggest the house might not always bee the best chill down environment. Often they are warm, full of bright lights and noise from TV's etc. Maybe the thing to do is go for a walk with him in a safe place away from traffic no contact no talking just respect his space and let him transition and get used to what is going to come next. See this not as school time and home time rather 'transition' time. I swim a fair bit as part of my training. If I just get into the pool and go into my session the first 20 lengths are difficult. So what i do is get into the pool and exhale all the air from my lungs and just lie on the bottom for a wile feeling the water, getting used to the sensations on my skin, get used to being hrizontal. I do this for a minute or two and then I am ready. The transition activity is over and I go into my training session. At the end of the session I do the same as preperation for exiting the pool and continuing with my day. Treat this as a transition issue and about getting him to change mindsets and I think you will make progress it will take time and experimentation but you will get there. Whe we were foster carers with some very emotionally challenging kids we had this sort of issue all the time, they all had their transitions processes and each was very different. Some involved dog walking, or going to a park to kick a football. Another was a cheap electronic drum pad another was sorting out the fish tank. When you find out what works you look at the child and can understand why it works, at the start when you are on the other side trying to figure things out it is difficult, ask him for his own ideas that might be a good starting point. Just a few thoughts.
  11. Have a good time and have a Guinness or two. I thought about a present, http://www.partydelights.co.uk/fancy-dress/woody-costume.asp to make you into a proper cowboy, but got myself a beer instead. As they say it is the thought which counts.
  12. I think it is important to appreciate is that any school or college has to balance its resources against the pupils and students it has responsibility for. That will mean they have to make decisions which are based on more than one individual. If they remove your son from PE who is going to supervise him. If you remove your son from parts of the school week how are they going to decide on staffing numbers at the start of the academic year? As a tax payer I want all pupils and students to have a good experience if at all possible but I do expect value for money. There is an option in this pay for a private personal tutor and then he can have what he wants. If you exercise your rights to provison from the state then you will have to accept compromise positions at times. If you decide to go to a private school they will still face similar issues, their other option would be to charge very high fees to allow one to one supervision. Just a thought.
  13. I find the main target of Adam Lanza to be very telling. The media is currently portraying 20 of the victims as innocent children who had little chance in life to do anything wrong, they committed no offence rather they were punished in the ultimate fashion simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. To a very large extent they are correct. In his mind Adam Lanza didn't make a mistake in respect to his targets, if there was any collateral damage it was the adults which got in his way. For my mind the story is not about guns and gun control rather it is about an individual who was possibly left feeling he had no place in the world because he didn't fit a stereotype and his target was the stereotype that is now being pushed by the media of the perfect child. I have an eight year old son and he is far from perfect, he is no angel and the set up school photographs don't really tell you much about. He has his strengths he has his weaknesses just like the rest of us, he is after all an individual and he should be respected as such. If there is a story here it is that individuals like Adam Lanza don't fit the stereotypical view of what a child should be all about in Middle America. People are not allowed to be individualistic if that is their personality rather they are labelled as 'loners' as if they are deficient in some way. A lot of the diagnostic criteria for AS only exists because of a cultural construct as to what is deemed 'normal'. If the culture around Adam Lanza had been more flexible and accepting of individuality possibly this young man could have found a place in the world and wouldn't have taken the awful and wrong decision to take that possibility away from others many as young as 6 and 7. To me his actions strike of an 'if I can't have it you can't mentality', it is selfishness of the highest order. As youngsters we learn behaviour so where did this level of selfishness come from possibly the attitudes of the people around him as he grew up, their selfish belief he had to be like themselves. America has reacted by looking at its gun laws, maybe on reflection it should look at the stereotypical culture which is promoted within large sections of its society typified by middle class suburbia. That phenomenon is not exclusive to the other side of the pond, it exists in our own country. Can we honestly say this type of incident wouldn't happen in the UK, I suspect it is happening in the minds of young people this minute the only difference is they don't have an automatic rifle close at hand, but if they did? I am grateful we do not have a gun culture in the UK but that doesn't mean we should not think about the social culture and stereotypes which are prevalent in this story because we have got plenty of that. I think there is something in this for us all to reflect upon. I just hope in time the media could do the same.
  14. In many ways the happenings in Connecticut will be difficult for many and there is a danger of reactionary responses rather than reflective ones. The full details have not emerged yet and it will be some time before they do. The immediate response is to profile the perpetrator of these crimes and the reaction was a media response to profile Adam Lanza as a 'loner' and pull the clichés out. As more details emerge the media have found it easier to refer to him now as 'the gunman' and dehumanise him which I believe is also a mistake. it will be interesting to contrast Americas response with that of Denmark and how they responded to Anders Brevik, I anticipate a different cultural reaction, because this latest incident challenges Middle American values. We are now seeing speculation about autism and the fact that his mother withdrew Adam from mainstream environments, but little is known about what followed. I suspect there are many lessons to be learnt but I am not sure if they will be. The reaction is these things shouldn't happen, but they do, that is the nature of the world we live in. The more we try and transpose set values throughout society the more we marginalise individuals and when people are on the fringes of a society constructed in that way they will not feel part of it. As a result I am not surprised unlike America as to the type of community this incident took place in. I suspect the response will be to construct more robust systems to defend values rather than to stand back and understand what is really going on here. We are often trying to develop a culture where families become more and more insular to the point they fracture. Many areas have lost any real notion of what community means and when things go wrong and people are isolated and confused they struggle to find reference points. Suicide rates are on the increase through many societies as individuals search for an exit point, the writing is one the wall but we don't read it. If Adam Lanza had simply taken his own life using his mothers gun no one would have been interested he would have simply been another statistic. I doubt many will see him as one of the victims but if anything he is the one person we should try and understand. We need to reflect what went wrong in his life, the fact he took the lives 26 other individuals is very regrettable and as a parent and a retired teacher and a partner of a teacher working with that age range I feel for those concerned. If we try to understand this through applying label such as 'loner' or 'the gunman' or 'shooter' we miss the point. We are talking about an individual here who struggled to find the right sort of answers in his own life, we need to reflect how do we enable such individual to arrive at a different position in their life where they do not consider this line of action to be their only option. Just a few thoughts.
  15. The internet is a tool which you simply need to understand to ge the best out of it. I love the fact that I can go on specialist forums and speak to people around the globe about my triathlon training for example. Without the internet I would not have been able to talk about possible surgical options for my back with people who have been through the procedure passing on to me their personal experiences. The fact they are on the other side of the globe doesn't matter.The internet is not all bad.
  • Create New...