Looking into the legislation and policy that ultimately shapes the nature and quality of my son’s life and future wellbeing I am thankful that we live in a progressive country whose government is informed by a degree of social justice. It is by no means perfect and as a nation we lack autonomy to further much of our own agenda. At least however we are having the conversations and aiming in the right direction generally.
Legislation in a democracy ( of sorts) is always going to be a compromise and open to interpretation until clear precedents are established. That said the legislation requires to be robust enough to be implemented effectively.
The Scottish Autism Strategy is a case in point. It is packed full of positive ideas but ultimately is only a guide and as such has not delivered.
The GIRFEC framework is another highly contentious piece of policy guidance. Setting aside my personal dislike of silly acronyms it is probably caused the most confusion of all as it has been placed in the centre of young people with disabilities lives. There appears to be huge inconsistencies as well as aspects that are in practice unworkable. The Named Person concept has been criticised as state intrusion and this charge has not yet been put to rest satisfactorily for many families. Personally my biggest concern when you look at the duties of the role is how on earth can an education professional suddenly be expected to be responsible for in some cases the wellbeing of several hundred children? I have genuine pity for those who find themselves in this situation. Just how can we expect someone trained to be a teacher with expertise in their chosen field to make the transition to disability specialist with a proper understanding of complex conditions on the Autistic Spectrum?
Till the system beds in or is revised the grey areas create pockets of poor practice that have most effect on the children with additional support for learning needs.
I have come across a social work manager who now thinks the school is the lead agency on identifying needs associated with disabilities.
Personally I would like to see a more robust approach from legislature that ensures our nation’s social justice agenda is implemented as I feel it is intended.