The future

The National Autistic Society has carried out research on the reality of adults living with autism spectrum disorders. It’s a sobering read.

I just want to highlight some specific lines in the report.

49% of adults with autism or Asperger syndrome are still living at home with their parents. 65% of these adults have had no community care assess- ments and are therefore unlikely to be known to the statutory agencies who should be supporting them.

31% of adults at the lower end of the autism spectrum are still being cared for at home, despite their high level needs. 45% of parents believed their son or daughter required 24-hour care, and only 15% thought they could live in sheltered or shared accommodation.

Only 3% of adults at the higher end of the autism spectrum are living fully independently, and a further 8% are living independently with some regular professional or family support.

As the report points out Families are picking up the care responsibilities in the UK associated with autism. Repeated Government’s have buried their heads in the sand. The current government unbelievably has probably set the bar even lower.

Like many families around the UK (and worldwide) my thoughts are increasingly focusing on the future. What will happen to Hawklad as an adult in our society which is so badly setup for those on the spectrum. Let’s just say that its currently not an entirely reassuring feeling I have. Yes I’m worried.

Frustrating

The sun goes down on another school at home day. It was one of those days where it feels like for every step forward we took two giant steps back. Such hard work.the really frustrating thing is that it wasn’t the actual learning which was the issue today. No the frustrations came from repeated system crashes, missing content, confusing instructions, formatting disasters and online tests that will only work with exactly the right spelling and format.

We can make home schooling so much easier for the pupils than this…

So with the frustrations still ringing in my head another school communication arrived. All about the required Covid testing to support the schools reopening next week. Each family will be required to self test families using the rapid result kits TWICE a week. On top of that all pupils will be tested with the same kits once a week in school.

My one question is that if our schools are completely safe and not hubs for virus transfer (according to our PM) – why is this level of testing required…..

The school letter also apologised to parents for the confusing over masks in the classroom. A few days ago the PM told schools that masks had to be worn in the classroom. Our school wrote to parents to inform them of the new rule. Unfortunately the rule has now changed again. The PM has now said they are only recommended and school can’t enforce them.

More frustrations……

Weather

It’s horrid weather today so let’s go back a few weeks. That’s better.

I heard someone from the Government brush off a parent talking about her daughters genuine fears and phobias about returning to school. Her daughter doesn’t think her classroom and school is safe enough. From the sound of it her daughter is in a similar place to Hawklad. Really struggling. The interviewer cut off the parent saying that she was in the minority and the vast majority would see things much more positively. The message from the Government followed instantly. People and kids who had concerns and fears needed to listen to the majority. Schools are completely safe, just get on with it. Parents have an obligation to send their children into schools when they open.

Meanwhile back here the NHS Psychologist is just at the early stages of a treatment programme to try and help with Hawklad’s deep seated anxieties. No guarantee that the programme will ever work. This week’s task is for Hawklad to try and stand in the front garden for 1 minute. The message is don’t worry if you can’t do that. Even a few seconds will be a massive leap of faith. And if he can’t do it at all then we can try another week. Pushing people with significant fears and ingrained anxieties can do so much harm to their long term mental health.

The Government and the ‘Majority’ are not trained mental health practitioners. They have absolutely no idea what some people are going through. On this issue they can stand out in the rain and whistle for all I care.

It’s a plan

So the Government has set out the way forward. A roadmap. Starting with all schools opening on the 8th March with parents able to play golf or tennis is socially distanced way as soon as the school buses have left the street. Ending with getting the bunting out just before summer with every adult having been offered at least one shot of vaccine and virtually all restrictions lifted. That’s the plan.

This time they have introduced some gaps between the various stages to check on the impact. It’s an improvement on the first lockdown release. Not great but an improvement on the last shambles.

I’m already hearing people talk about booking summer holidays, binning the masks, going to nightclubs. The message is ‘soon it will be over, we will have won….’.

Sadly I’m not convinced yet….

  • Schools are being fully reopened against the advice of many of the Government’s own scientific advisers. Reopened with no meaningful additional safety measures put in place.
  • No plans to prioritise front line groups like teachers or police for vaccines. Apparently this will just complicate things.
  • No thought given to the Health and Care sectors that have been stretched to breaking point for a year now. They can’t keep functioning like this.
  • No plans for under 18 vaccines at all as schools are ‘perfectly safe’ and the kids can develop herd immunity without getting too sick. Yet no mention of the increasing number of under 18s suffering long covid symptoms. No mention of school outbreaks that are already happening even with 3/4 quarter empty schools. No mention of overcrowded classrooms with no ventilation. No mention of the scores of children going down with associated diseases which have been brought on as a result of a seemingly mild Covid bout. No investment in home schooling resources to take pressure off classrooms and create another avenue for education – just threats of fines for parents.
  • The plans assume that the vaccine is the way out of the crisis. No mention of virus related mutations becoming resistant to the vaccine. A real risk when you have high infection rates and delayed second shot vaccine delivery. The vaccine is good but it’s not 100% effective. Plus we just don’t know how long the protection will last for in individuals.
  • The plan is in tatters if a change in the virus makes current vaccines less effective. In that increasingly like scenario the vaccine programme has to completely reset and start again.
  • No thought on making changes to how we work, study and play to make them safer going forward. We seem to be happy going back to the status quo which so spectacularly failed only a year ago.
  • The plan assumes an acceptable level of Covid infections and casualties. This is not a zero virus plan.
  • No mention of the mental health crisis facing young and old in this country.
  • The Virus will still be here…..

So no I’m not planning for a pandemic free future just yet. I hope we are fortunate and the plan does work. But when do things ever go to Plan.

Busted News Busted BBC News

On Friday the UK Government and the Minister in charge of Health (Hancock) were found guilty of acting UNLAWFULLY. The real whiff of corruption. A few years back that would have been news. BIG NEWS. Politicians with principles would have resigned.

Not anymore.

It’s definitely move on, nothing to concern you here.

A check on the main BBC News website not 24 hours after the court judgement and absolutely nothing. Not one reference. Lots of news about Hancock. Lots of quotes from him about other issues but not a single reference to the giant elephant in the room. Even on the 10 must read news items the BBC thinks you need to read – nothing. Government publicity photo shoots, Kim Kardashian, Royal News and a bear attack in Alaska are more deserving of our attention. What has happened to a valued news organisation that was independent and respected.

Our news is BUSTED.

Let’s be honest

Could I argue that this was a Golden Eagle catching fish over a mountain lined lake. I could but others might have a different view. If we don’t listen then we often get the wrong answer….

I was listening to a member of the Government being interviewed about schools on the BBC. The interviewer listened politely to the answers agreeing with everything that was said. Never asking for the evidence or questioning the view. All very friendly and very smily. Then a scientist was interviewed with a differing view. The interview was very different. The scientist was constantly interrupted, never allowed to answer fully. Often basically accused of being biased. Part of the problem. A very hostile interview.

That’s the problem we are not allowed to have a balanced open discussion anymore. It’s very much you are with us or against us. It’s not just Covid, it’s everything. I heard a leading Government MP say that any Firm that doesn’t support Brexit fully would be penalised.

So where are we with schools. They largely remain shut until the 8th March. Next week our so called Leader will tell us the plan. There seems to be a media blitz telling parents that schools are perfectly safe. Children have to be in schools as no other options exist. Nothing to worry about. The only change needed is to get pupils to wear a mask in a few more shared areas but definitely not in classrooms. Parents will be issued with Covid test kits so they can test their family regularly. The evidence from Europe and here shows that schools don’t spread the pandemic at all. Children are getting infected only in households. Infection rates are falling. More people have been vaccinated. Doubting parents will be subjected to a Advertisement campaign to reassure them. Those still doubting will be warned about fines and penalties to if they fail to send their children back.

That’s one view….

There are other views.

  • Respect individual children views. Some will be keen to return others will not feel safe. It’s a personal judgement about risk.
  • People are being vaccinated but most only with one of the two required shots. This runs the risk of reduced effectiveness and virus resistant mutations.
  • The vaccine varies on how much protection it provides to individuals, how long it is before the protection starts to tail off and how effective it is at stopping people spreading the virus.
  • There are NO plans to vaccinate children. The Government believes they are a key way to develop herd immunity. A strategy which has little expert support.
  • Comparing UK schools with many of the European ones misses a key point. UK classrooms are much more overcrowded with less opportunities for social distancing than European ones.
  • Infection rates are falling but still are higher than under the first wave. The death rate is still daily well over 500 a day. So falling YES but no where near under control.
  • The number of virus mutations being detected are rising rapidly.
  • The virus is now spreading fastest amongst the young and under 18 age groups.
  • Even with a lockdown and with schools only accepting a small number of pupils (essential worker children), Public Health England are still reporting that about 100 schools a week are still encountering pandemic outbreaks.
  • Our Leader only a few weeks ago called schools completely safe and told parents to send their children into school. 8 hours later he was saying schools were Vectors for Transmission and had to be closed. Make your mind up….
  • Children are getting serious long term Covid. They are being hospitalised.
  • Children are being admitted to hospital with associated serious diseases which are linked to an initial mild Covid infection.
  • The quick self administered tests which are going to be used are not particularly accurate or reliable. Only really effective as a guide not a determinate.
  • Many scientists and experts are arguing for caution on school reopenings. For the foreseeable future they are arguing for investment in homeschooling to allow for more classroom space. This would also allow time for schools to implement change to permanently move away from overcrowded learning environments.

Different views but we are only supposed to hear one. Just maybe the best way going forward is to be open with what we know and what we don’t know. Let individual schools work with the local health services, parents and pupils. Develop local solutions that work the local circumstances. Give them the support to make long term changes. Provide an enhanced national home schooling resource pool. Then trust parents and children to make the right call for them. Surely that’s a better route out of this mess.

Worry about it

The thaw has set in. No more snowy sun roses this week, maybe not until next winter.

I wrote a few hours ago about how I was missing the snow when it’s gone. You only really miss those things that are special to you.

There’s a difference between missing something and worrying about something. The disappearing snow is also worrying me a little. During the national lockdown the snow helped create an impression of a really small available world. What we can see and touch is all that is available. We are not missing out on much.

But is the thawing snow a symbol of change?

Some Governments are keen to reopen and relax restrictions. Is that way too soon. Who knows. But the message that it will be soon open for everyone misses the point. It’s not going to be open for everyone. Anxieties and Fears don’t get fixed overnight. The vaccinations won’t have reached many people including the kids. Many will only have had one shot. We have rapidly changing mutations. Some will continue to wear masks others will ditch them.

The works will open for some.

For us the lockdown will continue. In a few months I will have had one of the two vaccine shots. So I will be partly covered but that’s not the point. Hawklad’s fears are actually rising. He knows that I and other vaccinated people can still pass the virus onto him. He knows that he won’t be getting and vaccine protection. He can see that children can get covid and the more severe long covid. He is fully aware of the associated serious disease that is affecting some children. He can knows that some people will drop their guard. Basically his fears are not going away. So our lockdown will continue.

So the disappearing snow kind of symbolises something else. A world is out there. It is opening again but not for us. It’s not a small available world anymore. It’s a big world again but one that we are locked out of. Beyond our reach. That worries me and makes me sad.

Sad to see the snow go.

But then another thought. A better thought. Other people, other families can hopefully start to enjoy these places again. To have adventures. Other young ones can have holidays again. Have more fun. Can be safe doing that. Memories can be born.

Maybe the snow going is a good thing.

Who do I listen to

Another day and another pompous government minister telling the kids what best for them. Not listening. Not accepting differences. Not accepting that some will be ready to jump back into life, others will not. Not accepting that his form of education is really about serving his needs and the economy. Not prepared to listen and work with what individual children and families need. Wanting schools to go backwards towards Victorian values. Totally against the notion of moving schools forward and turning them into wonderful places of learning and personal growth. To make them enjoyable and yes FUN. But what do we know, he clearly knows best. Just do what we are told.

So this middle aged pompous bloke will shut up and tell you exactly how Hawklad sees where he is. This is what he told me last night when I LISTENED to him.

  • I love to go back to school. But not because of the teaching. To meet up with my friends again.
  • Most of the teaching is so not me. Doesn’t suit me.
  • I hate being told what to learn and how to learn it. Getting no choice. Being told what to think and how to remember it
  • Hate always worrying about breaking the rules. Worrying about getting negatives.
  • Hate having to put my hand up in a lesson and ask for help. It’s so hard in front of all the other classmates admitting I can’t read something.
  • Being told it’s perfectly safe to go to school when I know I can catch covid. Being crammed in a class with someone who might have it and not know it. Having to share equipment without them being cleaned. Then being told that I won’t get the vaccine as I’m low risk. Reading about mutations that no one seems to understand. To me school is not safe at all. Just can’t go back for a long time. Until it’s really under control. Until I’ve been vaccinated with something that really works. Until I get some space in school.

That says it all to this middle aged pompous chap. Tells me where he is. That’s who I will listen to. Not some pompous government minister living his closeted life who doesn’t care and doesn’t listen.

Gone mad

Almost feels like winter….

Worlds gone mad. Well this country has.

This morning I was reading a scientific critique of our Government’s partial herd Immunity strategy. To summarise they found the Government’s approach deeply flawed and has resulted in a significantly higher death toll than should have been expected. The report argued that we should have adopted airport controls and checks at 10 months ago. We should have out in place an effective test and trace system. Lockdowns should have been used more effectively. The Governments decision to offer eat out at restaurants vouchers, open up the beaches for summer and ease regulations for Christmas were argued to be catastrophic decisions. The report pointed to the success New Zealand had achieved.

But then the madness starts. The so called impartial BBC Political Chief argued that it was impossible for the Government to do these things. It was also silly for opponents of the Government to compare here with New Zealand as….

New Zealand is an island and Britain is not an island. It’s a Kingdom.

I must go and check out our new found land bridge with Europe then….

If only that was the end of the Madness.

News today that another health contract has been awarded to a close friend of the Health Secretary (the chap awarding the contract). Apparently a close friendship and a personal political donation of thousands doesn’t constitute a conflict of interest!!!

If only that corrupt madness was the end of it.

After almost a year of having zero Covid checks or controls at our airports the Government has suddenly had a change of heart. Now it’s a 10 year prison sentence if you break the new airport rules. Hang on isn’t this the same Government that only a month ago was threatening parents and schools with court action if children did not go into the classroom. Ok so now you can get a 10 year prison sentence for lying on your Travel declarations. Let that sink in. Boris Johnson wants a 10 year prison sentence for people who lie – that’s Boris the serial liar…..

If only that was the end of the Madness.

The Government Numpty in charge of our schools has said that he is seriously looking into extending the school day and drastically cutting school holidays when they reopen. Reopen without any further social distancing or controls. Apparently pupils must catch up academically and that needs hard work. That is the only priority. Remember this chap. He was the one who clamped down on the time off children could have after a family death. He described bereavement leave as an extended holiday.

This might appeal to some but to me it is madness. Already he has slashed break and lunch times to cram in more school work. Let’s flog pupils and staff even more into the ground. No mention of improving the quality or safety of the learning environment. No mention of changing the disastrous national curriculum. No mention of boosting resources to make homeschooling more effective. No mention of offering the option of targeted help. No mention of mental health investment. No mention of a strategy to help with sports and leisure activities.

This island, sorry not an island, Kingdom has gone mad.

Splendid

The return of the white stuff. Not much but it does so change the mood of the landscape.

Looking across the farm land to the distant hills it kind of made it seem like we were miles from civilisation. Ok if I turned round I would see the other village houses – but you know what I mean. It certainly felt that way this weekend. Apart from Hawklad I didn’t see another soul. No one on the single village road. No one in the fields. Splendid isolation.

It’s odd how isolation can have such differing impacts on me. Somedays it feels like solitary confinement. A poison chalice. Suffocating. Completely draining on my soul. Too much time to overthink my life. Missing physical company.

Yet other times it’s so different. Much more positive. Reassuring. Safe. Peaceful. Uplifting. A time to think positively. At ease with isolation.

What was the mood today. It was definitely more the latter. Part of me did want to break out and experience being physically amongst civilisation again. But outweighing this was the need to be as far away as possible from the reality of living in England these days. Shutting the door on some of my fellow citizens. A small minded, bigoted, self centred, corrupt, lying, racist, moronic, elitist and throughly shambolic group of numpties as you would ever be unfortunate to bump into – and that’s just the Government. 40% of voters would still vote for them. That thought is staggering and deeply unsettling.

So looking over the deserted snowy fields today felt unusually reassuring. Seemingly so far from the growing madness. Yes definitely splendid isolation.