Pauline Hansen

Hello there! Sorry it’s been a while but I’ve been so busy since I went back to work and we’ve had lots and lots on. Beth is home sick again this week, when she’s not well it seems to last for ages. Which of course has made life difficult with work etc, having to have poor Bridie home for a couple of hours on Tuesday until I could get somebody to fill in for me at work for half of my shift. Unfortunately it’s a necessity at the moment, I know I’m not the only one to deal with these things, in fact I’ve been lucky to have been able to be at home for so long, but it does make it so much harder when your child has a disability. Nobody should have to ask their 12 year old to stay home to look after their 18 year old sister but sometimes life isn’t fair and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Beth is going along pretty well. Still doing 2 days a week at school, one day a week at media school, 2 days a week home with me. Still loving the gym which is amazing and wonderful. In fact when she wasn’t well a few weeks ago I checked that she would be ok to go and she said she still wanted to! Unfortunately this time she’s just not ok and we haven’t been not only this week but last week too. Luckily her trainer is fabulous and is ok with it all.

I got a lovely comment on my blog this week, reminding me that I have to check in once in a while! It’s by far the most commented post that I’ve done, right back when I was trying to decide whether to send Beth to mainstream or special school. Before we even knew we qualified. It’s a hard one. As I said to the lovely reader (who said she’d read from start to finish!), it’s such a personal choice. My regular readers know that we opted for special. In the end it didn’t really seem to work for us sending Beth to special school though. She’s one of those particular kids (adults) who knows she has autism but doesn’t really want much to do with others on the spectrum, or any kids with disabilities at all really. I don’t think she’s (what’s the word like racist but for disabilities? Is there even one?) against them per say, I think she loved her friends so much at primary school that she doesn’t get kids who aren’t like them. It’s probably because they don’t pander to what she wants and she can’t boss them around. One thing with special needs kids, there’s no bullshit, they say what they want to say, including Beth! This brings us to the problem of what to do with our Bethie. She’s pretty high functioning as far as mental capacity goes, but she’s very dependant maturity wise. Basically she couldn’t be in independent employment, she just wouldn’t do the work unless supervised. But being with all special needs kids seems to throw her into depression and she just functions without any enjoyment. Luckily we have a business plan in mind (more info about that later) so hopefully she can work with us. We’re accessing the NDIS this year, it’s actually not as complicated as it seems though we haven’t gone through anything yet! It’s seems pretty straight forward, a bit like aide funding, tell the worst case scenario, say we need all the help we can get and see how we go! Once again we have to go through the depressing thing of making our kids out to be total basket cases, disability isn’t kind to parents at all. Our natural instinct is to talk our kids up, all our kids. In this instance we have to talk them down. It’s shit but it’s the game.

There’s been a lot over facebook lately about that silly twit (twat) Pauline Hansen and her views of removing all autistic kids from the classroom to give the bright kids a chance to shine. What a load of crap! Let’s go back 50 years shall we? Perhaps we could put them back in mental institutions so that they don’t infect any part of the precious kids lives who find ‘those children’ so offensive. It’s almost laughable that it’s actually been said out loud. The scary thing though is that it reminds me of when Donald Trump got elected. He revved up all the racist, sexist, bigoted people and they voted him in! While those of us with compassion and brains can see what she said and say how ridiculous, there will be many more who will be saying ‘Yeah, good on her, we’ve been saying that for ages!’ I know because I’ve met one of them! While as a parent of a child with autism, a bright child without, and a sort of in between child with high anxiety, I can usually see both sides of a story. We had lots of kids with special needs at our primary school. Some were disruptive, absolutely. The problem wasn’t with the kids, or the teachers. The problem was with the lack of funding for said kids. To keep these kids (some of them runners) in the classroom the teacher often had to spend extra time with them, otherwise they would run out and that would be a dilemma, leaving other kids in the classroom alone or going after the wayward child. The answer isn’t to remove the child though but to give more resources to the schools to keep all happy. The positives of the children being in the classroom by far outweighs the negatives in my opinion. My kids were tolerant of Beth so were pretty good with other kids anyway. Others hadn’t had much to do with kids with special needs and often they developed friendships that they never would have had the opportunity to do before. Most kids in classrooms with special needs children develop compassion and understanding that their parents never had the chance to learn though having these kids share their classroom space. I’ve always been very open when parents have asked me about Beth and I loved it when she surprised the other kids with her cleverness and quirkiness.  As a friend said on facebook, the real problem is that Pauline Hansen is actually suggesting taking away any choice. We as parents have the right to choose what sort of education our child needs. Whether it be special school or mainstream school, why shouldn’t we be able to choose, just like any other parents? It’s limiting enough as it is with strict criteria for aide funding. Luckily most parents that I’ve encountered don’t think like that silly woman. Luckily most kids I know are kind and accepting.  Gone are the segregated ‘blue bus’ days when the weird kids were jeered at by the ‘normal kids’. For the most part. As my niece told me when I was worried about high school for Beth, ‘It’s not cool to pick on the special needs kids anymore.’ Thank Goodness!

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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