I haven’t written for some time – to busy and exhausted. One of the things taking up my time has been trying to persuade the Local Education Authority that Jo does have special needs and requires an Education Health Care Plan (ECHP) and fully-funded residential school placement. She was turned down for an assessment, but after several weeks of counter moves, the LEA have changed their minds, and we are back at the gathering documentation stage – again. As I had a quick cup of coffee and salad in town today I jotted down the following:
- To be born Hep.C + to an alcoholic mother with a heroine addiction;
- To suffer pre-natal brain damage;
- To be taken into care at three days old, and moved from a loving foster family to a new setting at 11 months;
- To attach oneself to, and crave the attention and approval of a brother who wants to destroy you, who will undermine you at every opportunity;
- To be bright and creative, but drop out of three mainstream schools unable to cope;
- To feel for as long as you can remember that you are in a wrongly gendered body, and hate yourself and the world for failing to recognise that you are really a girl;
- To want to socialise but be rejected by most of your oldest friends;
- To be sidelined by your birth siblings, who mean so much to you;
- To be depressed and stressed and isolated at home;
- To have no clear or realistic idea of the future and what it might hold;
- To feel that the world is against you and hide away from it;
- To struggle to make decisions and regret each failure to move forwards;
- To have so much to give the world but have no opportunity to express it…
Yes, I have special needs.
No, I am not fulfilling my potential.