Frustration

This week has been frustrating. So frustrating.

It’s been as tough a week that I can remember on this school at home project. Links with a number of teachers have become very strained. I bet the teachers are as desperate for the upcoming week break as we are.

Work has been a struggle. What can you do when so many are off with Covid. Not enough people still standing to cover the jobs. As much as I move the pieces around I’m always going to be short. Oh yes, sorry, apparently the pandemic is over….

My diet is a struggle. It’s a gluten and dairy free life for me at present. Yet those items are strangely unavailable at our local stores. Clearly the gluten free wagons are stuck somewhere trying to get into this brexit wonderland. I guess it’s a week of mostly jacket potatoes. I know what Matt Damon feels like in The Martian now….

Wow I need a break. But that break seems further away than ever. If only I could be Boris Johnson. Tell everyone we are in this together, take £20 a week off the poorest in our country then jump on a jet for a weeks painting and drinking at a Billionaires pad in the sun.

Dreams of a much better life are there. Stronger than ever. Just not this week. Not any time soon. Need to be patient.

Sleep. I find it’s a commodity vastly overrated but actually much needed….

And yet…..

If I just look up it’s amazing what I can find even on a 1 minute walk to the postbox.

There is always something to hold on to. There is always hope. When I focus on what really matters to me. The amazing in my life. I realise actually it’s still a wonderful life. Yes I’m ready to go again…..

Purple

Still some flower action here in October.

I remember sitting in small meeting room as a Doctor and a Psychologist talked through Aspergers. How would it effect the future and parenting. A word that kept being mentioned was COMORBIDITY. Aspergers frequently co-exists with other additional conditions. It all depends on the individual. Sometimes you can work on one piece of the jigsaw, other times you have to look at the bigger picture.

Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia, OCD.

But the single most life affecting word

ANXIETY.

Social anxieties, health anxieties, anxieties.

It’s a constant struggle for Hawklad. The struggle is much harder during a pandemic. More anxieties all around him. But it’s not just about focusing on covid fears. As he briefly gets on top of one anxiety, another one takes over. Last night he struggled with

– infection fears,

– wider health fears,

– fears about touching surfaces and objects,

– return to school anxieties,

– anxieties about random lights in the sky,

– unexplained noises,

– eating anxieties,

– pet anxieties,

– school work,

– meeting strangers,

– life in general.

It’s a constant struggle. Reassuring, trying to manage the environment, talking. Some things the parent can help with but it’s Hawklad’s battle. Somethings need input from experts like Psychologist. Somethings just need a bit of help from life. Some fears may come and go, some fears may be overcome, some fears may become stronger, new fears may appear. It could be a life long battle for him. Over time let’s hope he can develop a range of techniques and strategies to help him manage his own anxieties. The parent is getting older. Soon what support he does get will vanish from the experts. In the UK adults are expected to ‘just get on with it’. That’s Britain for you.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in the UK. Whisper it but I would much rather be saying that it’s Sunday her in Switzerland. It’s definitely a land that I would love to live out my dreams. The best of dreams in the best of lands.

Switzerland is a land of lakes, mountains, valleys and alpine meadows. The air is crisp, fresh and pure. It’s healthy. It’s good for you. It has the highest percentage of people over a 100 years old across all of Europe. It has the highest average life expectancy of any country in Europe and it is in the top 4 countries world wide.

Dreams and good for you, YES I wish I was in Switzerland right now.

Deep sigh

Thought for the day. Latest data reveals that in the UK 34,000 children are suffering from Long Covid. In Scotland it has been announced that when schools return they will maintain Covid precautions such as masks. The Scottish Government is also spending millions on improving classroom ventilation. Meanwhile in England, all Covid precautions have been removed from schools as they are deemed perfectly safe….

Deep sigh.

There have been many DEEP SIGHS recently.

We have just found out that the Psychologist supporting Hawklad is leaving in two weeks time. At this stage the Service is not able to confirm when a replacement will be put in place. They can’t even confirm if the support will continue.

Deep sigh.

It takes Hawklad a significant amount of time to build up confidence in new faces. It took a lot of work from this professional to establish a bond, unfortunately now it’s all change again. That’s been the story over the last 5 years. So many new starts….. Even if a replacement is immediately put in place it will take many many months before any kind of meaningful link could be possibly established. That is at a time when his stress and anxiety levels are rocketing with an impending return to classroom teaching (?). A time when he is likely to require high levels of support.

This service is the last remaining support that Hawklad gets these days. But like most areas of child mental health, it’s a service under stress. Service demand rapidly outstripping its limited resources. The service has to prioritise those children most at risk of immediate harm and many families miss out on the help they so badly need. We may well start to miss out. Too many children suffer. Parents and families try do their best. Muddle through. But some of these areas are highly specialised and parents are just not equipped to deal with the issues. Plus many parents are already running on fumes and are struggling.

My country can find the money to buy additional nuclear missiles, can find the money to buy a new luxury royal yacht, can find the money to build a High Speed Train link that few people want, can find the money to pay Government Ministers legal fees and cover bullying damages awarded against a member of the Government. YET the country can’t seem to find the money or desire to protect its very own children.

Deep sigh.

Chuck

Definitely a moody day. Moody means ‘it’s about to CHUCK it down again…’

It’s now 6 weeks to the schools return. In 6 weeks the classrooms will be full and the Government has removed all social distancing. So in September no masks, no screens, no class bubbles, no additional sanitary facilities, no additional distancing. Schools are perfectly safe. Currently with some protection there are just under 1000 COVID child hospital admissions with an average of 52 new admissions per day. 64 have tragically died from COVID.

It’s within this backdrop that Hawklad is struggling with a potential return to the classroom. He is already talking about the social pressure to stop using his mask if the rest of his classmates and teachers aren’t. It’s just a mess. Some families are desperate to ‘return to normal’, some families are unsure and some are still trying to shield.

It’s just such a mess.

Schools Masks

On the radio I have just heard a politician describe those who are advocating a rethink on school Covid safety as ‘left wingers playing politics with our kids future’. Apparently schools are perfectly safe and don’t need any form of additional safeguards. Items like masks are not needed and are an infringement on civil liberties. Parents should listen to those that know the facts……

Ok I am just your average muppet single parent. What do I know. How can I possibly doubt the Government’s decision to remove masks from schools.

Shall we listen to the Independent Science Advisory Group. Independent Sage concluded that “don’t think we can do anything but conclude that this government is seriously carrying out its herd immunity policy through natural infection, through school children.”

Or shall we see what a leading World Epidemiologist thinks. I’d rather listen to him than some trumped up politician who plays politics.

Cut adrift.

The end of the school half term. To sum up the last 7 weeks of school at home –

The support is rapidly drying up.

More lessons passing without much support for Hawklad. His work isn’t getting marked in most cases. Increasingly we are having to decide on the areas studied. Whether they are in line with what his class are covering, we have largely no idea. The year exams start as soon as the school returns from the week off. We still don’t know the arrangements for Hawklad. We don’t even know the detailed exam timetable.

Definitely feels like we are getting cut adrift. The support we battled to get for him a few years back has largely been removed due to wider commission decisions, not on individual case circumstances. He’s supposed to see a paediatrician every 6 months but due to cut backs in service and a pandemic, it’s now been over 3 years since his last review. The local council keep putting off his annual education review, again the last one was nearly 3 years ago. School do not provide any additional in class support p.

Maybe it’s partly single parenting and sometimes I get to feel really isolated – but it certainly feels like our family is being cut adrift. Sadly that’s what happens with the vast majority of Autistic and Asperger teenagers. Cut adrift.

Views

What a difference a different view of something makes. Even just a few paces. Same pole but seen from the other side, just a few seconds later.

I worry quite a bit about the state of the UK’s school system. I don’t like it’s direction over recent times. A Government increasingly wanting to control what is taught and how it’s taught. Modern day Thought Police….

The last year of our school at home project has really highlighted that to me. Most lessons are about force feeding facts. The pupils are just expected to learn those facts parrot fashion. They are told what to look at, which books to read, which facts to absorb. What to believe and what not to believe. Pupils are expected to fit into a mould. So little scope to develop free thinking. Few chances to take the time to look at subjects from different directions. No scope to develop their own views and interests.

It really shouldn’t be like this. The irony. We live in a so called free society where our children are not free to think for themselves.

Test subjects

As of last Monday the Government withdraw the instructions relating to wearing masks in schools. Masks are now not recommended for use in classrooms and communal areas. But they are still required in school buses but masks are to be removed once the pupil enters school property. The official line is that schools are perfectly safe. This is contrary to the Government’s own scientific advice.

In unrelated news it has been revealed that the UK Government removed a page from this weeks Public Health Release which showed the extent to which new COVID variants are spreading at alarming rates in UK Schools. The draft report featured that data but the final approved version dropped that entire section. The official word is that data will be released at a later date. Some data was released late last night (very odd timing for Public Health) but with the key school data still missing.

So why the secrecy?

Is it because the data shows that the Governments own criteria for the ongoing easing of COVID restrictions have not been met.

OR

Is it because the Government is sticking to its original discredited Herd Immunity strategy. This time doing it by stealth and using our children as the test subjects.

This is all starting to feel like an X-Files story line coming true.

It had to happen

AV.1.

It had to happen. AV.1 is the Yorkshire COVID Variant. There have been currently 47 confirmed cases in Yorkshire. It’s already spreading. It’s been found in Greece and Chad. The Yorkshire Variant is described as a ‘Triple Mutant’ which potentially opens up the risk of increased transferability and reduced vaccine effectiveness. It is now listed as a variant under investigation.

The worry is that yesterday Yorkshire was described as ‘very low risk’ and people should prepare for full reopening next month. Sadly when a country accepts a relatively high level of infections as acceptable then the risk of mutations increases. As the mutations numbers increase then it’s only a matter of time before current vaccines become ineffective. If mutations are allowed to get out of hand then a tipping point is reached when vaccine updates can’t keep up with virus changes. We then are playing a never ending game of catch-up.

The Yorkshire variant will be one of many to come if nothing significant changes. It highlights the shortsightedness of countries hoarding vaccines while many other places struggle to get any supplies at all. It brings into questions approaches to international travel in the short term.

This war is only just beginning.