Posted in Appointments, Brief updates

Wheelchair services

It’s been almost 2 years in the making but today, Williams new adaptive stroller finally arrived.

If I start from the beginning, we asked for a referral via our health visitor who put the request through our doctors. Who lost it after a year despite me chasing it repeatedly 🙄

A second referral was put through after weeks of chasing our doctor… apparently there is only 1 doctor for everyone in Hull or at least that’s how CHCP make me feel.

Let’s just point out that in this time he had fully outgrown a standard stroller and I had purchased a second hand adaptive Maclaren Major Elite stroller specifically designed for children from 6 months to approximately 8 years. It was expensive but worth it and William was comfortable and safe. It wasn’t going to last us forever but would do until we got sorted because let’s remember, covid fucked us in regard to appointments and referrals for the last 2 years.

The actual appointment with wheelchair service came much later, in fact it was October last year. Williams dad took him and he was assessed by a clinician, a clinician who decided that a Maclaren chair wasn’t suitable and he wouldn’t issue one for us but would look at a PWB which is a personal wheelchair budget and we could potentially gets a different stroller as long as its deemed suitable. Brilliant!

Fast forward 2 weeks and there is a fucking wheelchair sat in my hallway!

The delivery guy came and I turned him away. This wasn’t right for my son. We had discussed the issues with a wheelchair like this, in ridiculous depth with the PWB worker but she sent the chair back and I was forced to accept it. It just took up space in my already crowded office.

They all agreed it wasn’t suitable for Williams need so why was it sent? Why would they not collect it claiming it would leave William without suitable provision. That whole scenario was just mind numbing. How could a self propelled wheelchair be suitable for William? There was exposed velcro which would cause him sensory problems. Plus many many more issues including hygiene and safety with William being able to access the wheels.

The woman who dealt with us said she was referring it back to a clinician to get us a Tendercare Snazzi stroller but then she left NRS and it was handed over to someone different. The gent who took over ignored all calls and emails and only came back to me after I went on social media and Trustpilot publicly shaming them for failing to assist my son. Then he was suddenly able to reply to my multitude of emails.

Suddenly a Maclaren was suitable but they couldn’t provide one due to stocking issues but they can offer me the Tendercare Snazzi. I immediately accepted it and queried when delivery would take place and collection of the chair. I felt the Snazzi was suitable for his needs and that’s all that mattered.

But wait…

The Snazzi is out of stock 🤔 but they can offer me an off brand Maclaren knockoff or a Tendercare Snappi. The PWB guy told me to take the knockoff as similar to what we asked for… you know the one they were telling me wasn’t suitable for my 4 year old but designed for much younger 🙄 Needless to say I declined this option and went for the Snappi.

And based on his face… I made the right decision.

It’s been a long wait and it’s been worth it in the end but there shouldn’t have been a such a wait at all. There are so many failings in the NHS in regard to referrals themselves and again with services such as NRS. I hope they take my trustpilot review on board and look into what went wrong so that no one else goes through the heartache of chasing a service or even just replies that aren’t coming.

Apologies for spelling and grammar etc but I’ve wrote this one on my mobile 🤣

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Posted in EHCP Process, Emotions

Underfunded or poor use of funds?

I want to start this post by saying that for the first time in a very long time, I am writing this on my mobile so be prepared for more spelling mistakes than normal. Part of my process is to sit at my laptop and write… I don’t know why. It makes my thoughts feel more official and organised and when I’m on my phone it feels like I’m just ranting to my friends via message but maybe that isn’t a bad thing so here goes nothing.

I spoke to another parent today who’s child seems neutologically very similar to William. This family are having to take the local authority to court to ensure their child’s needs are met and it made me think about how many other parents are going through this right now. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to court but we are still schoolless. How many children of school age are without adequate education? How many children are stuck with inadequate education?

How can the local authority knowing do this? Spend funds that could help our children on fighting parents who just want the best or at least the bare minimum for their children? Or do we pay for that in our taxes? The money spent on fighting parents could get more children into the right schools, the right level of 1 to 1 support. I am a firm believer that the SEND departments are massively under funded and when my solicitor asked if I wanted to persue compensation, I firmly said no. Why would I want to take money from an already underfunded department? But what are they doing with the funds they have? Are they using it in the best way possible? I don’t think so! 💸

I’m worried about whats to come for us as it gets closer and closer to William’s loose start date of April/May. What If they name a school that isn’t suitable for William? I won’t send William to just any school. I have to be sure  it will meet his needs, I have one in mind but would happily accept a suitable substitute but what if they don’t offer one. William will be schoolless and too old to continue to attend nursery and thats a real fear I have. I could attempt to home school him and although I would give it a bloody good go, I don’t have the resources available to me nor any idea where to start. We try educational play with alphabet and numerical flashcards and use many sensory items but it’s not the same as school and I’m not cut out to be a teacher and these are pivotal years of his education. I chase our caseworker every month after the monthly allocation meeting to be met with the same replies. ‘No update yet, we will be in touch when there is’ I’m worried about the transition time and if there will even be any. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Both myself and Williams dad may need to take time off work but we can’t prepare until the local authority let us know more details and as someone who needs a list to organise her lists, the lack of being able to prepare weighs heavy on me and my mental health. Some days the panic takes over and all I can focus on is what I don’t know like how much school uniform is going to cost me, will William be able to scope wearing it? How will he get to school? No one will discuss transport with me until he has a named school but what time would it come? Will Williams dad need to be here whilst I work to hand him over? Do I need to provide a car sear? What if it doesn’t arrive? Will he be on a bus or with a PA? I should be happy because I’m in a much better situation than other parents but I’m not. I won’t be until William is settled in a school that can meet his needs

I re-read my post from February last year, school allocations. It broke my heart all over again… almost as if I was sat in the bath receiving that phone call from Elaine to tell me William wasn’t even on the list of allocations all over again. This was the day I genuinely didn’t think I could keep fighting. Couldn’t keep getting knocked down. The 15th February 2021 and I just wanted to stay down. I shouted and cried and broke things! Why wasn’t my kid important? Why didn’t we matter? It took me a while but I got up and I fought, with alot of help and advice 🥰 and we actually got somewhere. Not where we we want to be but almost there.

I almost let them bully me into sending William to a school I knew couldn’t meet his needs. I even met head teachers who were non committal about whether they could or couldb’t support him. They expected me to name them on his EHCP without a commitment and thankfully I just couldn’t do it. The local authority expected me to and pushed me to, making me believe it was the only option for us. That’s not right, that’s not ethical and it was most definitely not what was right for William but it was what the local authority deemed right for them. They should have been putting William first from the moment he was on their radar but they didn’t.

I received a SAR in regard to Williams education and when I looked through it, it broke my heart. Not once did it refer to Williams best interests and meeting his needs, only after the point I gained legal representation did they seem to change their agenda and that’s wrong! Some parents can’t afford legal help or aren’t entitled to legal aid, it shouldn’t come down to money in order to get our children the educational they deserve! The education they need and are entitled to!

I recently read the ofsted report on the Hull services from December 2019 and its a damning read. Here are a few highlights or more accurately lowlights…

There was too little involvement of families in decision making about the services and support they need and insufficient awareness of the resources and support available to them in the local area.

There was poor self-evaluation of service quality and insufficiently focused improvement planning to facilitate better provision and outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

There was a lack of an effective strategy for jointly commissioning services across education, health and social care.

Here’s the full report if you wish to read it.

As always I will keep you all updated with our journey to education but if any of you have your own stories you wish to share please reach out either via our social media pages or our reach out page.

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Posted in Brief updates

New Year, same hopes and dreams

Its now 2022, how crazy is that?
It doesn’t feel like over 22 years ago when we were all relieved the millennium bug didn’t exist, you know that massive system issue that would affect computers and, in some cases, all electronic devices ⚡ How ridiculous is it that we thought that was possible 🤣

This is going to a big year for William, by the Easter term he should have a place in a specialised school. I’m under no illusion that’s its going to be easy… for example I contacted our case worker Richard on the 1st of December for some form of clarification on dates and have yet to receive a reply. When I email the main address, it usually takes two or three emails for anyone to bother replying and its usually a ‘no update’ generic response and that they will contact me, but I like to chase each month as its better to be an irritation and remembered than be forgotten. Those who speak the loudest are usually remembered. 📣

We were lucky enough to qualify for legal aid and have a solicitor on standby due to this after the failings in the local authority already. This isn’t because I want to sue although they did ask if I wanted to push for compensation… but why take money from an already underfunded department, in my opinion that would just be adding to the problem. They are on standby in case the promise of a specialised school by the term after his birthday is broken. They made this promise verbally and on his EHCP which is a legally binding document.

This is probably the biggest battle war we will face because once he has a place then he is in the right form of education until he reaches young adulthood… then we fight the next war.
Everything else, although it’s a battle isn’t as huge as schooling. (Although wheelchair services are currently the thorn in my side right now, but I’ll sort that out as and when)

This is going to be our year; I can feel it. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be the year in which things start falling into place for us and this Momma Bear will be able to have a rest from fighting. 🐻

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