Saturday, 25 April 2009
Moving from the land of the unwell
Some eminent academic once described living with long term illness as 'migrating to the land of the unwell'. Very apt indeed. As a family, we've been residents of the land of the unwell for nearly 6 years now. It's a funny place, the land of the unwell, very isolated and with a very strange social order. Like any land, there are some amazing residents there, but there are also some who are not really what you would call good neighbours.
Making the transition from the land of the unwell is not that simple. For a start one has to be, in short, well. We're not totally well yet but we're not unwell either. We don't have a disability as such, but we do have some catching up to do. So that places us in limbo, somewhere between the land of the unwell and the land of the well. When you live in this limbo, bureaucracies don't quite know how to deal with you.
Take boy wonder for example, he's getting ready for mainstream school in September. This will not be possible without a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) and some intensive resource teaching hours. The SNA will not be an issue as he is incontinent and still doesn't eat, so it's a fairly straight forward medical requirement. The resource hours, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky. To qualify, he must have a permanent physical disability. We could say that as a result of a congenital defect, in his case, the absence of kidneys, he has a disability that is profound but hopefully not permanent.
However, I must supply proof. But there's a glitch. Due to a fundamental disagreement,I can't supply the very nice people in the NCSE (National Council For Special Education) with any of his reports from his Needs Assessment. The first problem is that his psychology report maintains that he has an IQ of less than 70. The reason, our learned friend, the Enable Ireland psychologist, came to this rather bizarre conclusion, is that most of the tests he carried out on Rory, related to food and eating. Having never eaten in his life, Rory simply refused to engage, ergo less than normal IQ. Brilliant.
So, I asked for a second opinion, almost a year ago now, as is my legal right under that bad joke that passes for legislation, the Disability Act 2005. In the meantime, as you may recall, I became involved in a battle with Enable Ireland over their lack of a child protection policy when screening staff.
Mysteriously my second opinion never materialises.
So now, in order to get my child the support he needs in school, I am dealing with a report that says mainstream school could never be an option for a boy with such a low IQ. Meanwhile my son is thriving in an Irish language preschool handling bilingualism with the kind of panache that only kids can display.
He doesn't have a diagnosis, just a suspicion by a muppet with a psychology degree but no common sense. He can't be assessed for ASD or any other form of intellectual disability because he is in Enable Ireland, they only do physical disability. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) won't touch him because of his psychology report. I can't access summer tuition for him because he doesn't have a diagnosis. I can't get a diagnosis because according to his psychology report, he is a human vegetable. Are you still with me?
I got thick last week and threatened legal action. I have just been informed that, I will have a second opinion within 10 weeks.
Should I call the removal van? Are we on our way?