Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I STILL Think D's Idea is Possibly (POSSIBLY, please note) a Good One!

OK, folks, please bear with me. I haven't actually had a moment to properly process the thread below, but what few seconds I have had, the following thoughts have occurred to me:

I am thinking that right now - without any changes in the law and without any further recommendations from the Mr Badman's review team, many home educators who refuse a home visit are then automatically referred to social services for some fairly undetermined reason, but nominally because refusal of a visit is deemed a possible reason for supposing that abuse is taking place. This is already the reality for many home educators.

Wouldn't it be better, rather than having to deal with a social worker pitching up at your door with a nasty agenda, if we could all find a way that suits the child, to attend a meeting, public or private, where the child can be informed of their rights?


Anonymous said...

what about the children whose special needs, officially diagnosed or not, make ANY contact with state officials highly distressing?

We can argue to and fro about whether it's tactically a good idea for children to have meetings/ lectures with state officials but a blanket answer isn't going to work for children who don't have, or don't yet have, purposive language.

Please don't assume that we can all enter comfortably into the neurotypical world of mainstream society in order to prove our innocence. And yes, ours are the children wearing innappropriate clothing and refusing to make eye contact with or speak to strange adults.

Anonymous said...

I don't know a huge amount about the whole spectrum of special needs, so please forgive the question. But does this make even, say, a visit to the GP too difficult for them? How do you manage things like this or the dentist or any classes they decide to attend themselves to further specialist knowledge? I know quite a lot of asperger's syndrome children and they seem, or at least the ones I know, to be entirely unphased by such things; but of course other conditions might be problematic.


Elaine said...

You are really distressing me. I would love to be able to say I find this annoying and patronising but the simple truth is that with a child with a chronic medical condition requiring regular hospital visits and also on the autistic spectrum I can only tell you that you have absolutely no concept of the real world!!

Anonymous said...

doctors, dentists etc - portable dvd player, booking in for a double appointment so there is enough time to build confidence. Preparation with stories, songs, pictures and DVDs for the script of going to such a place. It's worth it to put in days of effort in preparation because actually it's a clear script in a calm, quiet and sympathetic environment with adults with whom the child has built up a relationship over time.

But a large group of children in an enclosed space? For sure, I could force my child to be there (not terribly respectful though, is it, to force a child to be somewhere they don't want to be?) with ear defenders and maybe a blanket to hide under. They'd probably be screaming to get out of there all the same. They certainly wouldn't be taking in anything the nice social worker was saying (you might want to google receptive language disorder)

Really, Carlotta, I think you should be floating all of these ideas on the HE-special email list. I predict that you will be told that our lives are hard enough already without this sort of bright idea.

Anonymous said...

You might also want to google

sensory integration disorder

auditory processing disorder

Please try to imagine a person who simply does not understand abstract language. Who does not understand the concept of past, present and future. Who does not spend any time outside the company of trusted adults, simply because that is too distressing for them.

The neurotypical world should not be making cheerful assumptions about what those of us living in the special needs world are contending with. When we say that safe-and-well contact with state officials would be abusive to our children, we are not just being hysterical.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining. I shall look into it.

Elaine, I am sorry that this is a distressing subject for you. Whilst it doesn't feature in the 'real world' for the majority of people, you must admit, which must make things very frustrating for those who are affected. I do appreciate that it might be the whole world for some, and as such should be taken into account.

Personally I am less keen on a lecture scenario anyway, and it would seem that this might be too distressing for too many.

It is terrible that minorities often get left out of consideration when it comes to things that might work for the majority.


Carlotta said...

"what about the children whose special needs, officially diagnosed or not, make ANY contact with state officials highly distressing?"

Yes, this is SOOOOOO difficult. I don't know much about many special needs, but I have at least some understanding of sensory intergration disorders, ASDs, dyslexia and ADHDs and I do know at least to some extent how difficult this can make so many things.

But what I am also saying is that despite all our best arguments about how state intervention when there is no obvious reason for it is wrong - eg: how it would mean that the state is the primary parent and that biological parents are relegated to the role of doing the bidding of the state, and also that we are perfectly prepared to follow up on these constitutional implications, eg: with suing them when they botch up, I suspect that we may be on a losing wicket, that we will have to concede sight of the child. ie: whether we like it all not, all children will be seen one way or the other, whether or not they have SENs.

So what I am also thinking that I would rather we did this in a less terrifying way than automatic safe-and-well home visits.

Even in this case, I would still argue the point that Allie made previously - that this alters the relationship between citizen and state, and that we therefore have more comeback on the state when they botch up, but in the process we would have conceded much less.

emma said...

I'm not seeing why we should concede any of this state-as-primary-parent stuff, myself.

*jumps back into her trench and dons hard hat*

emma said...

PS to say:

It's all statute law isn't it?

And statute law relies on the consent of the governed.

So we say loud and clear "we do not consent to devolve primary parental responsibility to the state."

Time we all became freemen on the land, maybe, and lived outside the statute?

Carlotta said...

Actually, Emma, I agree and still, despite all the preceeding debate, think that LAs should just get on with it, learn to make better use of current legislation, and learn to make better educated guesses on the basis of the evidence that they can proportionately gather.

My feeling is that D's proposal would only be a better option than compulsory home visits.

Anonymous said...

We cannot concede anything at all to them. We cannot surrender Sudatenland and then Poland to appease them. They are wrong. They are not parents and they do not own our children (neither do we, as it happens, we are caretakers). Where are the busybody services when children are knocked down by a gang of bullies at school, or pushed onto a main road outside of school? Where are they when children ignore your child in school, walking into them deliberately or walking away en masse when your child approaches them?
Until NO CHILD IS EVER HURT, ABUSED OR BULLIED, SPAT AT, STABBED WITH A PEN, HIT, TRIPPED... or any number of billions of events seen at school, then can keep their lectures and their safe/well visits to themselves. No Tasmanian system, no Dutch uncles, no Russian spies, nothing. We are innocent. We are not guilty. We are doing the best we can for our children. Let them go bother people who shuck their youngsters off into institutions. They must leave us alone.

cosmic seed said...

absolutely totally and utterly agree with the comment from three degrees

Anonymous said...

Can we not adopt the nice freindly euphamism of 'safe and well visits' please (I cringe every time I read that term) and call them what they would be ... 'child abuse checks'

Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't it be better, rather than having to deal with a social worker pitching up at your door with a nasty agenda, if we could all find a way that suits the child, to attend a meeting, public or private, where the child can be informed of their rights?"

Wouldn't it be better if we campaigned to make sure that social workers and LAs alike knew their jobs and education law, and there were stiff penalties for those who clearly do not know their jobs or education law, or who abused their position in order to forward their own agenda?

I'm sorry but I'm flabbergasted that anybody could seriously think what you are proposing is a good idea - and I am another one in total agreement with three degrees.

You must realise, from previous discussions with Stephen Heppell, and ones that have been reported about with Badman that this is what they want? They are saying to us "We will oppress you - now how would you like us to do it?" and any suggestion like this, just as with the proposed Home Education Committee from EO, plays straight into their hands.

Anonymous said...

I also have to say I am astounded that we are being asked to consider the suggestions of someone who persists in remaining anonymous. I'm sure you, Carlotta, have your reasons for liking "D"s ideas, but why on earth should any of the rest of us give the time of day to some one who hasn't even got the courtesy to tell the people whose lives will be affected by what they are proposing who they are?

Carlotta said...

Hi Debs,
You may have missed it, but I have vouched for D in a previous comment thread. I do know her to be of honest intent and a home educator.

Also, I suppose that if someone really wanted to hide their ID, they so easily could do so, whether or not they .

So unless someone really is infiltrating a list to put about ideas deceitfully, which I don't believe is happening in this case, I think we just have to stop worrying about this question, and actually address the argument as if it were genuine.

Ultimately, I do believe that our arguments must stack up whereever the counter arguments come from, iyswim!

Carlotta said...

that should be...whether or not they leave a name/title etc.

Firebird said...

Good point from Anon about 'child abuse checks', we should call them what they are and not let the government get away with hiding behind words.

Raquel said...

A random idea;
Why don't we set up a home ed. child protection information website, which could be used to advise people (children and adults) of their rights and could send out newsletters both snailmail/email and tell people how they could get help if things in the family are breaking down. And maybe hold workshops (e.g concensual living, etc) if thats what people want, but of course not compulsary just like a pottery workshop isn't.
Then if the concerned public asks about us home educators, we can say we have a support system in place where home educators can get help if they need it..
It would not be compulsary nor would it have any govt involvement. It would just be a source of information. And it would not be run by any home ed. group.

(not sure if this is a really crap idea...but thought I would throw it out there...feel free to criticize :D)

Anonymous said...

I like your idea, I would love to see a site like that for home educators with info and organised events around consensual living, non violent communication and so on....

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just thought I'd have one last look - even though my idea has been very unpopular!! - and I have to say I think your suggestion, Raquel, is very interesting.

I look forward to hearing what others think.

I'm certainly all for more information about this sort of thing anyway (my ulterior motive, if there is one, is to do anything to help eradicate abuse in society generally. I do feel that the younger we know about it the more chance we have of stopping history from repeating itself).

I would like to point out that my name actually is, to some of my friends, D. So I'm not that anonymous and fyi I live on the border of Wales. And, quite honestly, a name and place is as much as I know about most of the rest of you, if that!


Barbara said...

A website with child protection information especially for home educated children? Does that mean home educated children are a category of children who especially need this information? Looks like that to me.

Lectures/literature/talks for home educated children and their families re child protection and rights of children re child protection issues - same objection.

I am sure my children would feel offended by these. One may be somewhere around the autistic spectrum about strangers sticking their oar into his life with this sort of advice. He is happy and secure and does not need this sort of personal destabilisation.

But you don't have to be special needs to understand an ulterior motive in practice and the children are not so stupid as to not see. This sort of thing aimed at them is insulting and undermines their sense of happiness and security. DD2 says it would be an invasion of her privacy and would make her feel abused.

It is absolutely offensive, imv, and it gives respect to the idea that there is a child abuse issue particular to home educating families that is not sufficiently covered by existing provisions.

I just do not understand why people want to play about with these ideas.

Anonymous said...

I think I get why you are suggesting this; but I am afraid I too think it wont work.
Teaching children their rights so they can avoid abuse is a very very sensitive subject and would need to be handled differently for different children and of different ages and stages of maturity. What rights would they learn and how?
The LAs so far seem incapable of knowing basic law let alone the sensitive area of rights against abuse.

One thing that would make this idea sadly a non starter is that abused children sinmply don't tell. You saw that ANON wrote in a previous thread about being told not to tell anyone about the abuse going on there?
That is common practice in abusive homes. It is why those of us who worked with such children could rarely prosecute.

My other problem with the idea is that I don't believe it is up to children to protect themselves. My 4 yr old couldn't, nor my 2 yr old and even my 6 yr old would find it hard.
I think it is asking too much to place the responsibility on staying safe on the children-which these lessons might do.

The literature idea could have some merit if it laid out the rights of parents and children and the responsibilties of LAs maybe-so that the LAs could learn the limits of their powers.

One major problem we face when it comes to dealing with abuse imo is that people wont report it because of how stupidly it is dealt with.
Believe me I have had an up close and nasty experience in this.

Raquel said...

Barbara, I agree with your objections to my suggestion. I also think i would be given no credence by tptb because the govt had no hand in it. I threw it out there as an alternative to the lecture idea which would have govt involvment. of which we would have no control over.

Personally, I think they just leave us alone and sort their own house out...(literally)..maybe starting with their expenses accounts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mum6kids,

I really appreciate your considered comment. You are making very important points.

It seems that the government would do well to overhaul the entire system, starting with social services, before they zoom in on little details (like invisible HEed children)! It isn't a question of more of the same, but better than before.

I think you have hit on the best idea yet, which is that such literature should be aimed at LAs and others dealing with these issues so that they understand the rights of parents and children far better than they do today.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I also would like to add to that, that the literature could be available for all adults too, so that they are clear about their rights and their children's rights when and if they have to deal with the services?


Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't it be better, rather than having to deal with a social worker pitching up at your door with a nasty agenda, if we could all find a way that suits the child, to attend a meeting, public or private, where the child can be informed of their rights?"
The home ed guidelines make it clear that they are about finding ways that suit the individual family of providing information about their home education. sounds reasonable on paper. In practice only one method is considered valid (The Home Visit) and the way such visits are handled varies dramatically particularly in the appropriateness of the behaviour of LA staff.
This idea just sees to give misplaced credence to their apparent abuse concerns along with giving them something else to misunderstand and badly implement.
The not only will they have the opportunity to ruin our childrens' belief in their own learning they will also be likely to undermine their feelings of safety and security within their family.
My children are individuals and very different.
My son could watch children gutting fish on gastronuts, eating offal and woodlice but was absolutely freaked out by them filtering water through their socks. No professional knows my children well enough to know how to present this sort of info in a way that they can know it will not traumatise them.
I can see no benefits for abused children that would make me think this is worth it