Hands Up!

Archive for March 2010


Its school holiday time and for many children this is quite an exciting, while for other children it can be quite stressful, as their normal routine changes. When my eldest child started school, his first lot of holidays were quite stressful, as being an Aspie, he really didn’t understand the concept of holidays and missed the routine and structure of school that was very predictable. Being at home was not quite so predictable as one still needed to go out and do the normal everyday jobs that Mums do, but we slowly developed a way of coping with it all and sometimes it was just a matter of resorting to bribery and compromise (it is amazing what a piece of chocolate will achieve!). I would try to warn him at the start of the day what I needed to do, especially if it involved leaving the house and would also make sure that there was enough “school like” tasks available if  he needed that sense of familiarity. As he has gotten older it has gotten easier, as the holidays themselves start to become a part of the routine of school. We still get a few meltdowns at the start of the holidays – usually with an overwhelming need to be given homework, though this quickly disappears when he realises that he’ll have to do it. We also have routines for who can play on the computer/Playstation and for how long, plus making sure that they still get time outside even if it’s just going for a walk to post a letter or across to the beach to build sandcastles.  As long as the weather is nice the holidays will usually go by relatively stress free……. but when it rains,  all you can do is make some popcorn and watch a movie! 


The Latest Health Related Headlines…..

ACC Rejecting Genuine Claims……                                                                http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/3490797/ACC-rejecting-genuine-claims-says-surgeon

Starving Herself to Death (The Margaret Page Case)….                                                 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/3498065/Starving-herself-to-death



Home for the Disabled to Close Down…….                                                                         http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/3497849/Home-for-disabled-to-close-down

Dog Can Warn of Seizures…..                                                                 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/3499583/Dog-can-warn-of-seizures

In Hands Up! you will find topics covered on:

  • Where to find Support Groups (both in New Zealand and Abroad)
  • Real Life Stories/Shared Experiences
  • How to deal with Specialists/Therapists/Care Workers
  • What your rights are and where to go if you feel they have not been met
  • Family Issues
  • How to navigate the Education System and get the best support for your child
  • How to be your childs advocate/personal assistant, while keeping the “ME” time
  • What funding support is there available
  • Finding or choosing the right equipment
  • Products that might be useful too you ( especially they ones that look fun and fashionable for mums)
  • Information on sports and other social activities

The list could go on!

When the Government announced that it was going to review Special Education Funding in New Zealand, the talk became one not of how to best spend the already allocated funds but one of educational choice. The argument being touted by many of the Disability and Special Need  lobby groups was that the government should be doing more towards the inclusion of children with special needs, regardless of their disability into Mainstream Schools, their argument being that all children should be able to attend their local school and that the existence of Special Schools created an inequality within the system. On the other hand there are the parents of severely disabled children who attend these Special Schools, who feel that the inclusion of their children into mainstream schools effectively destroys their ability to choose the appropriate educational setting for their child and could hinder the learning of other children in a mainstream school. These parents are made to feel bad by others for making these decisions, with those in favour of inclusion, saying that these parents are narrow minded and that any well-funded mainstream school will be able to cope with these  children’s particular needs. 

Its one thing to say that children on the Autistic Spectrum should have the right to attend their local school with the appropriate support, it’s completely another to say that a child with extreme sensory issues and requires 1:1 Teacher Aide support for their every needs, both personal and educational, should have to be placed in a mainstream setting. Parents of students in the mainstream environment get to choose what kind of school their child goes to whether it is a public school, a private school, a religious school or one based on alternative teaching methods such as Steiner, so why can’t parents of students with special needs have the same ability to choose the school best suited to their child?

It’s a matter of choice and if the opinions of these lobby groups come to fruition, then who truly has the choice and will it really produce a better learning environment for all involved?

In the first few days of receiving a diagnosis or just realising that your child is just not following the norms, everything goes past in a confusing blur. New Doctors, new Specialists and  new Therapists with new therapies, all wanting your time and  all with differing ideas. Sometimes the diagnosis is easily come by, for others it may have been months or years of endless fighting to get somewhere. But one thing is for sure, that we all feel lost in this new world, not always knowing who to turn to, not knowing what we are entitled to, and all feeling so alone. So I would just like to say

You Are Not Alone.”

Hands Up! is here to help you find the way through the confusion, to hear your questions and show you that You Are Not Alone. Whether your child has ADHD, Dyslexia or on the Autistic Spectrum; whether they have Food Allergies, Diabetes or Epilepsy; or whether they have Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome or Fragile X, and everything in between. This is the place to be, to learn and to share!

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