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Thursday, 27 May 2010

No. Moaning doesn't help.

I got a reply from someone in Maria Miller's office.

It was the most long-winded non-reply to my questions that I have had yet! Sadly, I do not need an email explaining to me the criteria for a pre-school child needing a Blue Badge. My Daisy is 8. I said this in my opening paragraph.  Nor do I need an email explaining how DLA and the Motability aspect work. I ALREADY KNOW!! I appreciate that higher rate DLA and Motability is for those with severely restricted mobility....but, as I explained in MY email, we are housebound without my car. My car works. It works fine. If I lost my car (through no fault of my own) we would be housebound. How much more restricted is there? I don't want to change my car, I don't need to, I just want the "safety net" of Motability IF I need it. Having it there cost nothing to anyone, but it gives me the peace of mind that no amount of money can buy.

I am really rather annoyed about it, and I'm not going to shut up and go away and go away until I get somewhere with this. Stay tuned.....!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A bit of moaning might help?

I have emailed the Minister for Works and Pensions (Maria Miller MP) regarding the "rules" concerning Blue Badges and DLA.

I have made no secret of my dislike of this form and look forward to the new Government reforming it in the near future. Please make it soon, for all those poor people who still have to suffer it!

I have asked that carers of children like my Daisy be considered for a higher rate of DLA as although their mobility isn't restricted they pose a massive risk to themselves and others by their "super-mobility". My Daisy is (like many autistic childen) extremely sensitive to noise and will "bolt" when she is scared by an unexpected noise. This is bad enough in a store where maybe the anti-theft detector alarm will sound but a car alarm or even a car engine turning over outside the store will cause Daisy to "bolt" in a blind panic REGARDLESS of what danger she might be running into. Any car accident caused by this behaviour will never be the fault of the driver, but what consolation is that? To anyone?

Our only mode of transport is my car. Buses and trains are completely out of the question, they are unsafe, loud, unpredictable and involve waiting. Autistic children don't tolerate waiting very well at all. I have felt for a long time now, that we should automatically be eligible for a Blue Badge. Not just Daisy, but ALL the people who suffer from any condition that causes them to be a clear danger to themselves and others. I have a letter of recommendation from a specialist paediatrician supporting my claim, yet the department that deals with our DLA claim didn't seem to take it into account and I don't suppose for one moment that the department that deals with Blue Badge applications will either.

A higher rate of DLA (well, the right component at least) would automatically qualify Daisy for a Blue Badge and the Motability scheme. Both things we need. I am lucky enough to own a car that is only 3 years old and should give me many more years of service and reliability, but what if something beyond my control happens to it and it is written off? My insurance would not cover the cost of a new car and I can hardly down-grade for a cheaper model....I drive a Ford KA!

So....simply put we need the safety and security that a Blue Badge would offer in dangerous places and the knowledge that SHOULD I need a new car I can get one I can't begin to explain how difficult life would be for both of us if we had no car. It would be walking distance or nowhere. We wouldn't even be able to go to the supermarket....

I'm not a benefit-grabbing single parent out for everything I can get. I am simply trying to give my daughter the security that I feel she deserves....If I could find employment that allows me to earn enough to support us and take into consideration our circumstances then I would grab it with both hands.

I have already received an acknowledgement email from Maria Miller's office....
Looking good, 'cause that's more than I ever got from my local MP!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Not a priority, apparently.

I home educate Daisy.

It isn't easy; it isn't something I undertook lightly and it isn't something that anyone can prepare you for. However, given our circumstances.....I had no choice.

When I removed Daisy from maistream school in 2009, I took the right advice and "de-registered" her. This tells the Education Authority that I intend to educate her outside of mainstream education. I was supposed to meet with the local Truant Officer....Ooops, sorry....Education Welfare Officer but that never happened. We played a great game of "Text Tennis" but never actually met.....

Then we moved house.

Apparently we  are supposed to repeat the procedure all over again. Didn't know that, I assumed (ok, I know; my first mistake!) that one EA talks to another EA. They don't. So, I contact the EWO (which always makes me think of ChewBacca from Star Wars!) by phone, well actually I didn't initially as I called the office and she was out, but I left my name, address and number and was told I'd get some stuff in the post.
Two weeks later.....I called back as I hadn't heard anything (technically at this point I'm breaking the law by not registering Daisy with a local school) and was told that "no, we don't send anything out to you, you have to write to us with your daughter's name and date of birth and any contact names from your previous EA". So the person who answered the phone couldn't tell me this?? It's a dedicated phone number. So, I chat to the EWO and she says that her "inbox is very full" and that Daisy "isn't a priority".

Did I tell her that Daisy is autistic? No.
Should it make a difference? No.

Should any parent be told that their child isn't a priority? Of course not! She's a priority to me! I'm a parent, it comes with the territory for Pete's Sake!

I'm sure that the EWO's are busy. I fully accept that, but this one needs to learn to think before she speaks! I don't want to be told that my child is at the bottom of a very large pile.

I have written my letter, and casually mentioned that Daisy is autistic......I wonder if that will speed things up at all.....I await her reply with interest.