What I hate about the SEND Minefield

Arriving into the SEND Minefield, without realising this was your destination, can be a shock to say the least.

After almost 12 years of living in this Minefield, I’ve had many unexpected experiences – some of which have been fun and enjoyable (I know, who would have guessed the SEND Minefield could be fun) but other experiences have left me sat seething with anger, crying in pain or shaking with frustration.  Today, I want to share some things which I genuinely hate and would happily see disappear from my life.  In my next post, I will be sharing the things I absolutely adore about life in the SEND Minefield.

What I hate about the SEND Minefield:

hate about SEND Minefied The System:

A system which is not fit for purpose.  A system apparently designed to make life as difficult as possible for our families.  A system where the options available are limited and often totally inadequate or unnecessary.  A system where gatekeepers hold onto the relevant information or use jargon because information is seen as power.  A system where you don’t know what you don’t know and no one actually gives a shit.  The system is bloody useless.

Lack of Accountability:

If you think the law says something must happen and therefore it will, well I’m sorry, that is the same as believing in the tooth fairy.  It just doesn’t.  It should, I know, but it doesn’t.  The only people who actually seem to care if the law is complied with are the parents – or as we like to call them the Ministers for Accountability.

This week, Ed Timpson said “We still have a long way to go before reforms bed in properly“.  By “bed in”, I presume he means “comply with legislation”.  Sorry Mr T, having met you a few times, I do believe you genuinely care about the world of SEND but caring about it isn’t enough. It’s time you left the land of Utopia and actually started kicking butts!  It shouldn’t be down to families.

Negative Sterotypes

A really big issue for us at the moment.  So many people presume it is okay to mock disability,  whether by the use of offensive words or by comments made without thinking.

Negative stereotyping contributes to hate crime.  Just don’t do it.  Ever.  There is no time it is acceptable, there is no time it is appropriate and although I know it says more about you than us, it still makes my blood boil because it is wrong – no matter how you try to justify it.

White Wash

I believe many organisations, LAs and Government departments have a budget for it.  White Wash.  It’s needed to cover up poor practice, bad practice, unacceptable practice, dangerous practice and practice which ends in the worse possible manner.  It is used to protect the reputation of organisations, departments or individuals rather than to protect our children.  Maybe our concept of the most vulnerable in our society is different, maybe our children are not perceived as the most vulnerable when it comes to the risk to reputations and damage limitation.

Inclusion – in name only

We all know of stories from families where their child attends a Mainstream school which in theory offers inclusion but in practice offers anything but!  This weekend, I read a really heartbreaking post from Diana about her son’s end of Year 6 – have a read.  Tell me is inclusion is alive and kicking in that school?

Sadly, when she posted it, so many families had similar versions of the same story.  Even sadder, she was more angry at herself for expecting more.  

Pause for a moment and imagine how you would feel if this happened to your child.  Imagine if you were angry with yourself for expecting your child to have the same experiences and opportunities as their peers. 

Other parents of children with SEND

Did I really say that?  Yes I did.

However, just to clarify I don’t mean the majority, in fact the majority come under my list of things I love.

I mean the ones who act like gatekeepers; the ones who have information but don’t share it; the ones who think it is fine to attack another parent because their methods of dealing with something are different; the ones who claim publicly to be team players but only want to be in a team if they are the captain; the ones who want you to follow the party line – even when you don’t agree;  the ones who compete with you as to who has it the hardest; the ones who don’t inform so you can make an informed choice but so you will agree with them; the ones who are angry with the system but take it out on other parents; the ones who think they bloody know it all and take great delight in making you feel stupid; and the list goes on but you know the ones I mean.

These are the parents who ensure nothing ever changes because you end up either wasting your time arguing or battling with them, or you feel so drained after the battle that you have no energy to do anything, or even worse, you feel so inadequate you stop even trying because you think you have nothing to contribute.

Limiting Beliefs & Excuses:

The whole “he can’t do that because he has…..” usually because it would mean more time and effort would be spent to teach them how to and who has time for that?

The whole “we did a risk assessment and she can’t…..” excuse when your child is not allowed to go on a field trip or take part in an activity.

The whole “he will never…..” line used to tell you not to have any expectations, or we call it here, when you are told to shut up and move on.

Limiting beliefs are so dangerous.  My children often surprise me with what they can do and we almost always find a way to do it, even if it is a challenge.

Excuses are just that.  Excuses.  They aren’t acceptable from anyone.

Other things….

  • People & organisations who make big fat ugly profits from the world of SEND
  • Being identified as a challenging parent and not as a parent who challenges bad practice – in other words I become the problem
  • People saying “oh my ‘mainstream’ son/daughter does that”
  • People who believe their opinion is the only opinion allowed

As the school holidays are almost upon us, this is a type of therapy.  A chance to rant about the things which really p*** me off about the SEND life.   I will write about the positives and things I love in my next post – again, therapy to focus on the good stuff as we venture into 6 weeks of no routines.

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1 Response

  1. July 25, 2016

    […] What I hate about the SEND Minefield by Debs Asplands beautifully describes the issues parents of children with SEND face, and if you add these stresses on to the feelings parents have when their child is completely ignored at the end of their primary school years, the reality is pretty grim. […]

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