What is a Suitable Education?
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Dear government: an open letter about special needs education

14-year-old Rory’s video has gone viral, what she says here about the way in which children with special needs have been failed has sadly been experienced by so so many families

“My name is Rory May I am 14 years old and I have autism, I wanted to make a video about my experience and sadly the experience that many others have. I have now been to 6 schools and my parent have fought for years to get funding. I really want this to change. my goal is that someone from the government will see this and it will help to make a change. I wrote, filmed and edited this all completely on my own, so if there are any mistakes that’s why 🙂 I am aspiring to be a carer for kids with special needs and also a photographer of kids with special needs and life limiting conditions. please, please share this video so we have the most chance of making a change.”

Transcript of letter

Dear Government, I do not think you know what harm you are causing to the children in your care. Then again, maybe you do. Maybe you just don’t care. You have the responsibility to provide safe, appropriate education. You have torn families apart, caused kids so much harm that they’re ending up in hospital and put kids into harmful educational settings. I myself have experienced the pain of being placed in the wrong education. In September, I’ll be starting at my 5th education type in less than 2 years. The longest I have been in a secondary school is 1 year. I was pulled out of school when I was in hospital. Too ill to attend and almost 2 years later we have only just received funding for a school which we hope will be my last. You left me in a school that was detrimental to my health, it left me with school phobia, PTSD and severe anxiety. My parents and teachers told you that I needed to be in a specialist school from the start. But you refused to listen. You look at me as a numbers and letters on a piece of paper, not a person. You let people who don’t even know me decide if my education and health is worth the money. You put me through tests and assessments and only then will you look at what I need. What will be cheapest? That’s what you say. You don’t care about me only that I won’t be your problem anymore. You make parents fight harder than they have ever fought before. They fight for the health and happiness of their children. They spend months even years fighting. Time they could be spending with their children, enjoying Time with them, caring for them. These parents have needs too. Some have had to quit their jobs to care for their children because you are not providing appropriate education. The rest spend the hours their home filing in 100’s of forms, ripping through their children with a fine toothed comb, trying to find the right words that will persuade you give their child what they need. They have spent months being told that they are bad parents, their children are just naughty, they just need to be disciplined more, they’re fine at school. Stop making a fuss. No-one listens to them, the people who know their children best. The people who raised them, heard their cries, their meltdowns and their pain. How dare you not believe the people who know them more than anyone. You think of the cost before you think of the children. I have missed 2 years of education, 2 very important years of my life that I will never get back. You pass us from service to service always calming that its someone else’s problem. Never thinking what can we do different? Why don’t you care about all these children who you are failing? Why don’t you care about our education or our happiness? Why won’t you listen to our families? Even once the fight of school is over, that’s only half of the battle. Then there’s transport, childcare, respite, therapies, and more. It’s never over. We can never just relax, because even when we think were done our transport and funding can be snatched away, and it starts all over again. So we group together, fighting for justice, we strive for a time when we do not have to fight anymore. We start organisation, Instagram pages, Facebook groups, and support groups to try and help the next family who have to go through this. You tell me how I have to learn and how I have to be. You send kids to schools miles away from home, no child should have to choose between an education and their family. You only ask about my problems and my faults not about who I am as a person, not about the amazing things I can do. I am not a number, I am not a statistic, I am a kid and I deserve better. Things need to change, and they need to change now. I want the future of special needs kids to be one where they can be just that, kids. Happy and health and in an appropriate education. I want the future of special needs parents to be one where they can just be parents. Not facing legal battles and mountains of paperwork when all they are trying to do is help their child. All we want is to not have to fight for every little thing. We want an appropriate, safe and suitable education. We should already have this but we don’t. You need to give us what we deserve. From Rory

Watch it in full: Dear government: an open letter about special needs education

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