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About Cynical

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    Salisbury Hill
  1. I would recommend that your get onto the Equality and Human Rights Commission about this one. There are very strict definitions and conditions under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 specifying how services are made accessible to people with disabilities, and the reasons you say were given for denying you access to the Disabled Person's Railcard fail to comply with them. The conditions for the Disabled Person's Railcard are here and they clearly do not comply with the "Words Used to Define Disability" on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. According to the law, "they (service providers) must make reasonable adjustments if you find a service unreasonably difficult to use." The demonstration of this is clearly not limited to the criteria that they have specified on their website.
  2. Thread at the TES SEN forum.
  3. I'm sorry, but pointing out that Asperger's Syndrome is milder "in comparison" than "severe cases of "classic" autism" is neither dangerous reporting nor denigrating anyone's diagnosis. If someone correctly points out that a severe example of a disability is at the opposite end of the scale to a mild example of the same disability, I fail to see what is dangerous about it or how it is an example of a misunderstanding. Asperger's Syndrome presents unique challenges that carers of severely autistic people don't face - but saying that it is a milder form of ASD is neither dismissing these challenges nor implying that parents and carers of Aspies have it easy.
  4. It is a worthy cause - but I have to ask, can it be achieved? A course does not exist to give "teacher training in Autism." Yes, teachers can take post-grad diplomas and certificates specialising in it (I teach modules in them) and there are also courses for teachers and classroom assistants in using AAC or other things to help - but they all assume a minimum level of experience and knowledge as a pre-requisite. They also require dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of study. I'm not knocking the suggestion: I would love it if all teachers knew something about the ASD children in their classrooms. But if this forum was asked to specify what would be delivered in the very short time available in an Initial Teacher Training course (no more than a handful of hours at most,) I've got a large bar of Green & Black's that says 100 different answers would be given. And I have seen first hand what happens when a teacher is given the usual INSET day session: they think that it makes them expert, and the attempt results in more harm than good. The most cruel but most reliable thing I can say about my profession is that when we teachers think we are right about something, it would take nothing less than an axe to remove the certainty from our minds. I believe, quite strongly, that rather than trying to give all teachers an inadequate, insufficient taste of the knowledge and skills that they need, every school should have one proper expert.
  5. As part of the training for this, the legal situation regarding restraint in schools is explained. Under Section 550A of the Education Act 1996, schools must have avoidance and de-escalation strategies in place to minimise the need for restraining children with a history of this sort of challenging behaviour. If it becomes necessary to restrain a child to prevent injury to self or others, or to prevent damage to property (and teachers have a legal duty to do this, not a right) then the most important questions are whether or not the avoidance and de-escalation strategies were in place, and whether or not they were followed. The most important thing to do now, then, is work with the school to ensure that their behaviour management strategies are in place.
  6. Have to disagree. If MW's recommendations had been accepted without alteration, then we would have five times as many special school places we do now, and not one child in mainstream school with a Statement. It was only the distortion of her report by political activists with an agenda and an ability to sound plausible while misrepresenting her recommendations that led to the ridiculous situation we have now - where the idiotic and meaningless doctrine of inclusion (which has no legal, political or philosophical definition) is reckoned by LEAs to outweight the individual needs of any child with SEN.
  7. There are six teenagers in my special school class (I am the teacher in charge - I have three Special Needs Assistants or SNAs as they are known.) Four of those children have Autism. Not one member of my class can speak. I also have a child with Autism, and his condition is far more severe than my students. And it's about personality and outlook. Most of my friends just cannot comprehend how I can get up at 5am and spend two and a half hours dealing with high-impact Autism, and then go to work and face it with another four students. And then come home and deal with my son for another 8 hours before sleeping. Meanwhile, my classroom assistants cannot comprehend how anyone can spend the number of hours I do with my child without assistance or regular breaks. And you know what? Home life motivates work; work nourishes home life. Yes, I know that is nonsense, but who cares? It ###### works! If your job fulfills you, if it is a vocation that feeds you, then you will feel guilty taking a salary (unless, like me, you have a daughter...)
  8. Don't undermine your own input in this. Too many parents of AS and ASD children treat their children as unresponsive aliens - but even though your child does not show it, he does look to you for advice and assistance. AS and ASD children do not respond; that does not mean that they do not absorb. If you approve of this other child as a playmate and even role model, then show your approval. Your own child may not react, but he will notice.
  9. Cynical


    I think that a lot of the assumptions on this thread are missing the point - why would you be asked to sit on or even chair a tribunal hearing if you knew nothing about SEN? It's laughable! Even tribunals would never get away with that - and you're wrong to imagine that those chairing it know nothing about the needs of the children at the centre of the appeal. However, as Mary Warnock discovered when she investigated the problems at the centre of the SEN system in 2005, the people sitting on (and even chairing) tribunals are local authority employees. They may not get paid by the specific LEAs at the centre of the appeals they are adjudicating, but they know how to please their own paymasters... They know damn well what they are doing.
  10. As with any controversial issue, a discussion about Autism and compounds of mercury really needs to pay proper regard to the facts. First, this is where it really started to gain momentum: Toxic Metal Clue to Autism, New Scientist "Breaking News" 18th June 2003 This research could equally signify either of two things: either children with Autism cannot "take up" metals essential for brain development, or they cannot get rid of it. And that article finishes with: . The most significant thing about this is that the study was not conclusive, but indicated numerous possible conclusions all of which needed further study to verify/eliminate. However, as with most emotive issues, people didn't accept that - they treated the possibilities as a menu, chose the answer that they liked the best, and treated it as the truth. Second, the quantities of mercury found in the children in these studies are were later found to be several orders of magnitude greater than the trace quantities found in vaccines that do still use thimerasol as a wash (it has been 'phased out' over recent years, and by 2003 less than 50% of all UK vaccines still used it.) It is important to remember that thimerasol (aka thiomersal) was never an additive to vaccines, but a wash, and removed - leaving a barely measurable trace behind. If mercury is the cause of Autism (and the New Scientist article quoted above really doesn't lead to that conclusion) then the source of the mercury cannot possibly be vaccinations. It's like saying that someone had a paracetamol overdose afer they used a glass previously used for disprol, and didn't wash it first. There have also been studies comparing incidences of ASD in countries that do use mercury (the USA) and those that don't (such as in Scandinavia) and there is no difference. There are still issues with the MMR - including, most importantly, the question that many scientists refuse to allow to be asked: why has MMR Vaccine strain virus been found in the spinal tissue of children with Autism? Then there is the effect known as "Gulf War Syndrome" - where it wasn't mercury levels or any other single compound that caused illness, but the cumulative effect of so many injections compressed into such a short length of time. Kind of like having food poisoning, a hangover, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis and an ingrown toenail at the same time. Only worse. The conclusion is simple: there are a lot of questions about the safety of the MMR, and many of them have been answered. Included in those answers is whether there is a causal link between the MMR, or any compounds of mercury used in its manufacture, and Autism. It is not a simple answer, but then it isn't a simple question either. But the answers are available. Whether or not people accept those answers is something else entirely.
  11. An exceeding good point, well put.
  12. The mixing - and subsequent extraction - of the compounds of mercury is subject to very stringent conditions. These conditions are laid down in the guidelines agreed between the drug manufacturers and the drug licencing authorities and enforced with the full authority of the law: the oscillation, pitch and length of "shaking" is not a random or variable factor. And after the extraction of the compound, the vaccine was always tested for compound of mercury content. (And I say "was" because, according to the director of pharmaceutical research I asked, compounds of mercury haven't been used in vaccines manufactured in the UK for over a decade.)
  13. Whether or not the mercury in injections can be metabolised is quite a difference question to whether or not there is mercury in injections. And whether that mercury causes Autism is another question entirely. Compounds of mercury have been used in the manufacturing processes of some vaccinations, and subsequently extracted leaving traces so small that they are literally immeasurable. But the important point is that where and when this has happened has been documented exhaustively - alongside cultures, areas and individuals who have been exposed to higher levels of mercury. From this data, demonstrating a link with Autism is a matter of a simple statistical analysis of populations and published data on Autism and mercury poisoning rates, which is perhaps the simplest form of medical research there is. It is so simple, I could do it with my own laptop - and my academic specialism is ancient Greek and Medieval Arab philosophy. All of the data and all of the research have failed to indicate a link with Autism. If there is a link between vaccinations and Autism (and Andrew Wakefield and a few subsequent studies suggest very strongly that there is) then that link is not causal.
  14. There are occasions when "Autism" is simply a wrong diagnosis: Quentin Wilson (that bloke off of the telly with the silly smirk) thought his son had Autism, but it turned out to be a misaligned vertebra putting pressure on nerves in his neck, exponentially increasing the sensitivity of his nervous system... resulting in some very autism-like reactions to extreme sensory inputs. (There's a brief description of that case here.) That case was almost unique; the thing is, part of medical training is the understanding of differential levels of diagnostic probability. A doctor will understand that for every case of mercury poisoning or misaligned vertebra, there are about 300,000 genuine cases of Autism. A snake oil salesman will only see 300,000 potential "customers." *Edited to fix broken link*
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