What is Equality? – The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.
Me….. I am mother, father, student, therapist, breadwinner, advocate, educator, protector from bullies, especially the adult ones.
The “problem”? Aidan. He is son, brother, diagnosis, waiting list number, burden on the economy. Some might say he is a brat, that he just needs discipline. Some might say he is stupid, not worth spending tax payers money on the early intervention he so badly needs. Aidan is none of those things. Aidan has Autism, is extremely intelligent, loves to socialise, and is not Rain Man!
Time…… 4 years and counting. We are running out of time. Precious time for early intervention. 4 years that we have been pushed from list to list. As soon as we get to the top, Aidan is deemed no longer eligible for one reason or another. And he is pushed to the next. Time is running out.
Invisible….. That’s what we are. No amount of lobbying, letter writing, telephone calls, being nice, being angry, quoting the law, reporting complaints. Nothing will get us answers from the HSE as to why he has been ignored for 4 years.
That’s a contradiction. We are not invisible to everyone! The social welfare are very familiar with our case. Every two months for the last 4 years I have received reviews, check ups, letters, interviews. No offer of help however towards the €2500 per year I pay in college fees to re-educate myself in social care in order to deliver the therapies to my son myself. Therapies that the State is obliged to deliver. No help in assisting in childcare fees, or back to work initiatives. Although they were very helpful at cutting my payment, the day after I informed them in advance that I had been offered a part-time job as a Special Needs Assistant.
Home owner…… I bought my own house when I was 21 and have worked all my life. I fell in love and sold that house and moved abroad for the dream of a family and a better future. I thought I did everything right. I welcomed Aidan into the world with open arms, excited and hopeful for our future. Thanks to the government’s policies around disability services, I had to give up work to care for my son. Even though I re-educated myself and am now working in social care, thanks to the government’s policies around one parent families and carer’s, no matter how much I work, I will never own a house again.
Future?!! Aidan’s future will consist of being dependent on the state for the rest of his life if he does not receive early intervention. Early intervention that is scientifically and economically proven to have successful outcomes for individuals to pay taxes and lead independent lives.
Insanity… It is insane for the government to remove my constitutional fundamental right to earn a living and educate my son, because they are afraid to spend a little in the short term. They would rather disable my son, demoralise me, and make sure that both myself and my son are involuntarily dependent on the state for the rest of our lives.
Common sense….. Use yours. Use your vote to disable inequality and allow people like Aidan and thousands others lead a life that is meaningful and worthwhile. We have been stripped of our status, rights, and opportunities. Where is the equality in that?