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Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:23 pm

http://www.theautismnews.com/2010/07/28 ... nt-page-1/

Did anyone else read this? Ignoring the newspaper it was written for, (horror of horrors, I am actually a Daily Mail reader which is where I found this article originally), what is everyone else's opinion on it? I work with teenagers who often have very obvious disabilities such as cerebral palsy and severe autism and, in many ways, they are severely disabled, much more so than me (I would never compare myself to a student who has upwards of 200 epileptic seizures a month or another who cannot chew or swallow), so I can understand where she is coming from to an extent but I think her logic is flawed. One of the students I work with has very severe ADHD and is also diagnosed with a form of Oppositional Defiance Disorder, which many people doubt exists and simply believe it's an excuse for yobbish behaviour. He came to my workplace 5 years ago after setting fire to his house. He is overly tactile to the point where he has been attacked by a grown man before for slapping him on the backside (his dad intervened before he got seriously injured) and lashes out to the point of needing restraining fairly frequently. He is functioning at about five year old level yet, because he looks completely "normal" and is able to communicate verbally, a lot of people, even people within my workplace, do not believe that he is genuinely disabled yet, to me, he is more severely disabled than some students whose conditions are physically obvious.

Although Rosa Monckton accepts autism as a disability, she seems to have issues with dyslexia and ADHD. Dyspraxia is not mentioned in the article possibly because it's not as well known as dyslexia and ADHD. I can understand her frustration as services for children with special needs are very overstretched (the mother of one of my students was at the stage of contemplating suicide due to lack of help from social services) but I think blaming kids and adults with invisible conditions serves no purpose. Yes some people are misdiagnosed but this is rare, a lot rarer than the media would have people believe. There are a lot of disabilities and conditions in existence, all of which need different types and different levels of support. One of the comments on the above article talks about "disability snobbery"-a case of "my disability is worse than yours". I have encountered this before from a girl on Facebook who has a form of cerebral palsy and I find it difficult to understand. I know that living with a disability can be highly stressful, frustrating and isolating but taking it out on other people with conditions that are less visible but, in many cases, have just as much an impact on someones lives, is not the answer. In many ways, I do not consider that my conditions are disabilities-they're just part of me but when I walk back to my staff accommodation alone at gone midnight because my social difficulties mean I get too nervous to call a taxi, what would you call that?

In summary, all disabled people deserve more support, although I know the resources in some cases simply are not there, which is very upsetting.

I hope nobody is offended by this post.

Re: Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:09 pm

I will read the article and comment again at some point tomorrow but from what you've said, I agree with you. I hate the terms severe and mild because they imply a certain level of support need when the support may jut be different rather than less. Needing some forms of support is considered to make people more severe than needing others and this is not right. Who are we to judge what elements of independence and being are more valuable than others? I think a lot of it comes down to money.

Re: Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:50 am

steph, i agree with you that these disorders are as real as any other, but to some extent, i see the writers point. i have met 2 people claiming dyslexia, but can easily tell the difference beetween shorter, easier words, ones that every other dyslexic i have ever met (however 'mild')get confused over. asking about what primary school they went to, no names, thay one they went to is now closed for being a poor school. i know this is not as much as the writer states, and that there are a lot of children with real disabilities and learning difficulties that she is totally wrong about, but there are a few (a small minority) where she is right. she is also right about the funding system, which im sure can't help the situation.
i think she has gone totally over the top, and is going to just add to the reputation of people with less obvious difficulties, such as many of us (including myself), but there is a grain if truth (albeit a small one) to her rantings.

another thing that she picks up on is the fact that some children my be better with, to use her example, horses than the LHC, and the education system does not cater for these people untill its too late for many people, many people have to wait untill they are 16, and have totally lost interest in education, to get any vocational education (NVQs, apprenticships, ect). this is a point where the education system needs to change.

where she mentions that some childeren are happier with non-academic work, this may be because of a learning difficulty, and if the child is given the right support, thay may ba capable of academic achivement, but would they be happy with it, even if they can handle it. if they can be a productave member of socioty but dont want to do academic work, if thats what they want to do, offer the support for academic work, but dont force tham, let them choose their own path. if someone finds something difficult there is no good in forcing them, only supporting them to find the best life for them.

i have also met perfectly capable people who are obvioulsy faking, but the school co-operates for the funding. it is these that give us the reputation for fakers. it is these people who drive me nuts.

overall, i think she is over the top, and is unfairly discriminating against disabilities and learning difficulties that are less obvious, but there is a little truth to what the is saying.

Re: Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:03 pm

I do agree with you, Abi, that vocational options need to be introduced at an earlier stage of education. I have never agreed with the Government policy that 50% of all school leavers should go on to university because, to put it bluntly, I don't believe that 50% of all 18 year olds in one particular year will benefit from a university course personally. A lot of people I went to university with didn't actually want to be there which surprised me as I thought most people who didn't want to continue their education left at 16. Asking around, most of them were there simply because their parents and older siblings had been to uni so it was the "done" thing rather than actually wanting to go to university for themselves. I also think apprenticeships have been trivialised and dismissed and that manual labour is not given anywhere near as much respect as it should be. My stepdad is dyslexic and, although very bright, left school at 15 as, in those days, most dyslexics went unrecognised. He went straight into a bricklaying apprenticeship and has been a bricklayer ever since. He is incredibly hardworking yet I have heard a lot of people complain about builders and bricklayers as being lazy. However, the sad thing is that if his dyslexia had been recognised, he could have succeeded in school and gone on to university as his historical knowledge is immense and he collects and reads history books and has done since he was a teenager. He would have loved to have done a History degree but he wasn't given the opportunity to take the GCSE equivalent as he was at a technical school. Anyway, I'll be quiet now as I seem to have meandered off topic somehow :lol:

Re: Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:34 pm

yh, my dad has a similar story, but replace bricklaying with plumbing.

dont worry to much about going off topic, we can always get back to the topic later.

Re: Rosa Monckton article on invisible conditions

Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:58 pm

My Grandad faked his brick laying qualifications. He didn't fancy unskilled work but the evacuation sort of ruined his education. It took him 3 jobs to hold one down...

I'm not sure what point that even illustrates.
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