Charged with improving parental confidence in the SEN system Brian Lamb came up with a staggering fifty-one recommendations, including an independent advice line for parents. Long over due.
I first got online in 1999 and I finally had a breathing space (in between looking after a newborn and a small, very active toddler, but thankfully on maternity leave) to try and research what should be happening with Zack - he was five at the time, and nowhere near a useful diagnosis. And so began my obsession with the internet. Answers were hard to come by.
Realising that others had the same difficulties in January 2002 I set up a yahoo group with the following opening message:
This is a group which principally helps navigate the continual reforms of the British health and education services. We're here to share and learn from our successes and failures. We've had plenty of both.
My groupies and I spent the next four years working through our own situations. We spent many a late night reading guidance and codes of practice and working out how we could use their contents to ensure that even some of our children's most basic needs were met. We weren't looking for the 'the best' education for our children, merely an adequate one.
For my son, he had to leave the state system to find an autism-specific placement. Even though I love his current school dearly I regret that the local authority could not provide his education in a more inclusive environment. He was failed and rejected by society and remains excluded and isolated by the mainstream, though loved and very well cared-for by the school and us, his family.
It shouldn't be happening like this. Having better information and the fifty other recommendations are welcome but will do little to overcome the fundamental rejection of disability.