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Parent Power, its Strengths and Weakness

August 16th, 2009

Children with special needs. Do not forget their parents. They too have their rights. And they have very real responsibilities that they feel more than most, and they fight for their children’s wellbeing. They care. They really do. When ‘my’ school was threatened with closure, its head teacher at the time said to me that the Local Authority trying to close the school would have to deal with that. They never quite did, and the school is still there to this day.

Death of a Nightingale is not about that school. It is more about the 100 special schools that have been closed in the UK since 1997. It is a work of fiction, but every now and again the facts of my own experience come to the surface. I can never forget them.
The moral of this particular post is very simple. If you want to help children with special needs don’t just project your own needs as you see them or imagine them on to everyone else. Their needs may be different. And don’t just work it out in ‘the library of your mind.’
Don’t be reassured by those who say that inclusion is working or will work with a little more money and training, when politically they can’t say what they really think. The facts are otherwise. Think of the individual child. Teachers, carers and therapists have to. And think of their parents too. They are in the frame not outside it.