Dear Prime Minister / Premier of Victoria
I am writing to you to urge your support and assistance with funding for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for our 11 year old son Ethan. From the age of 3, my wife and I have done everything possible for our son so that he is given the opportunity to fulfil his potential. We have attended countless Speech Therapy appointment, psychologists, paediatricians, psychiatrists as is common for parents in similar situations. We searched high and low for early intervention programs and the right school setting for him. This setting turned out to be The Naranga School in Franskton, a publically funded school for children whose motto is "Learning for Life". However, it now appears that the schools motto should have been "Learning for Life - Or until the Funding Runs Out".
The reason I say this, is recently, the Dept of Education have re-tested Ethan and have decided that he does not meet the criteria for remaining at Naranga. This is based on a 60-90 minute 'test', performed by a Contractor firm of Psychologists. As Ethan does not have an intellectual disability, apparently the main stream school setting is the place for him. This is despite everyone involved in Ethan’s care disagreeing with this assessment. Everyone involved in Ethan’s care believes that he will 'flounder', 'suffer', 'perhaps become violent' and 'be lost in the system', to quote just some of the comments made by Ethan’s psychologist, GP, paediatrician and current school teacher. We find this incomprehensible, that despite all expert opinion, a decision on a child’s welfare can be based on such a short assessment, with little or no grounds for anyone else involved in our sons care to influence or have any real say in his future.
As once huge supporters of the school and the government’s policies regarding early intervention for children with ASD, my wife and I am disgusted with this current state of affairs.
This decision does not affect just Ethan...it affects everyone around him. My wife and I are at a loss as to what to do for our son now, which affects our relationship, our mental health, has adverse affects on our other son and is a constant source of anxiety and stress for my wife and I. It feels like everything we have done for our son to improve his speech, his behaviours and all the other challenges he faces have been thrown back in our faces.
A child’s welfare (and the welfare of his family) is not a numbers game. These are real people’s lives that are being messed with and the impact this decision is having on our families’ welfare is massive. We write you because we are desperate. I have never written to a politician before. We urge you to please help us help our son to fulfil all his potential. As we said before, this is not a numbers game...it is our sons life this decision is toying with and as his parents, we simply cannot and will not sit back and let a short-sighted and ill-informed decision like this affect his life.
Thank you for your time,
Regards Adam Davis and Kellie Guinane
(on behalf of Ethan Terry Davis)