Passionate mother of two wonderful children. Believe in people using their powers for good and not evil. Advocate for my kids. My eldest child is a talented, intelligent, socially aware, proud, young, androgynous person and my youngest is also talented, clever, loves the outdoors and has excellent problem solving skills, he also happens to have Down syndrome. As a family we love trips to the beach, park, shops and Maccas for the play equipment. I enjoy reading, writing, crochet and cooking. I believe in equality and inclusion in all aspects of life for all. And I believe in justice. Hope you enjoy my blog :)
Friday, 27 December 2013
Friday, 20 December 2013
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Some of it I can still believe ...
I know I have had another year of learning about myself, mostly things that have helped me to understand myself, and love and forgive myself for many things.
I know I am very proud of my children and I love them dearly.
I know I am grateful for what I do have.
I know, once again, that I have what it takes, and I can do what I need to do.
I am not however, exactly where I saw me being and once again, I will be glad to see this year end.
In Scotland they celebrate the last day of the year, Hogmanay, and express this celebration with a tradition of "out with the old and in with the new", First Footing symbolises this and marks the opportunity for blessings of good luck on the home.
It is a time for new beginnings, of leaving behind the old and embracing the new, it is a time of hope and dreams for the future.
So once again, at this time of year, that is where I am at. I am at a place of dreams for the future because planning never seems to quite work out for me ....
Yes, the Happy Ending for me will be when I have enough stability in my life to enable me to plan a solid future for me and my children.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
As I sat down at my table in the Cafe, I noticed the local paper. Wow, can't remember the last time I read an actual real newspaper!
I flicked through. I savoured the sound the pages made as I turned them, the smell of the ink on the rustic paper, the feel of the rough texture only a newspaper has, the need to at times wet your fingers to separate the pages so to turn only one at a time. Heaven forbid I should miss the best story.
My mind wandered off a bit as I perused the images that sprang from the pages. I really do spend a lot of time on my digital devices, I started to wonder if the electronic subscription trial I had just undertaken might be best converted to a hard copy subscription.
My attention was caught again by an interesting local piece of news that was both refreshing and heart warming. It confirmed to me that I really do spend far too much time on social media, when I raised my hand and moved it toward the article, only to realise I was looking for the "like" button!
Do you ever consider cutting back on your computer time? Should we be getting out more IRL? Do you enjoy the tactile experience of holding a real newspaper, magazine or book?
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
I am frantically trying to find properties to inspect that may (or may not) suit LJs needs.
I have a few inspections lined up around Wollongong of properties that have been listed on the popular dot com sites, but of course, at this time of year, competition will probably be fierce with the University population in turnover mode.
I have had a bit of feedback from my first Community Call Out post, you remember? This One
ABC TV/Radio have interviewed me, but the TV version of that interview will not air until a bit later this week. I have had reports of people hearing me on radio, so hopefully, a Landlord may hear me too.
In the meantime, I ask again, if you know anyone who has an investment property or a few, in the area, or you know someone who knows someone, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ... put them in touch with me.
Thank you all once again, my wonderful online community!
Happy Ending here will be my boys and I are settled in and able to put up a humble Christmas tree in time for Christmas Day in our new home.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Yes, I have asked for help in regard to signing petitions, one of which is Chloe's Law an Anti-Bullying Petition being sent to the Australian Senate. This is something that is very close to my heart. If you have not signed it I suggest you do that NOW and come back to finish reading this post. I'll wait ...
Nice to see you back.
And I also tried to bring to your attention the plight of an Australian family in Adelaide who had fallen upon tough times as a result of the Dad having suffered a stroke at a very young age. I will provide a link at the end because when you go and like their page on Facebook and see what they have done, you will probably stay there for a while getting familiar with their story and all the good they have since done, and hopefully get involved yourself if you can. Out of diversity, they have created something beautiful. It's called the Foxy Foundation. Go check it out, but do that one later via the link supplied at the end of this post.
So, "Landlord Community Call Out", you are probably wondering what I can do for any Landlords.
Well, here is what I can do ... I can supply them with a reliable and financially reliable, honest, self sufficient, respectable, long term tenant, who will fill their home with love, respect and gratitude. Add to that my charm and wit ... what more could a Landlord want?
All jokes aside, I am a good tenant and I am looking for a long term tenancy for myself and my children. We have had so much upheaval and it is making life very difficult for us particularly around managing anxiety levels for us all, but particularly, LJ.
You may have read my previous posts about our situation, but to shorten all that for you, this is where we are at now. Due to major maintenance issues required in the property we are in (that existed when we moved in), the Landlord has requested "Vacant Possession"of the property to undertake those repairs. The Landlord requires that by 17th January 2014 and as of yesterday was not willing to negotiate on this matter.
Therefore, our situation is becoming URGENT, particularly since over Christmas, the Real Estate Industry all but shuts down and our required date to vacate is about the time they return to work. In real terms, I have about 4 weeks to find another property, hence my decision to blog about it!
I am a tenant who is registered on the Pathways Housing Register, which means Housing NSW and any other Community Housing Organisation are able to provide me with a service that will assist me to find a "suitable" property.
Herein lies the problem. The word "suitable". As you may or may not be aware, my son LJ, who is 11 years old, has Down syndrome. For any parent reading this who has a child with a disability, you will understand disability impacts every person differently. So even if you have an idea of what Down syndrome actually is, unless you have close and constant contact or interactions with a person with Down syndrome you cannot understand how it impacts their life, or the lives of their families and carers. Let's just say, it adds a whole other dimension (or two). And, even if you have a person in your life who has Down syndrome, they are not MY person who has Down syndrome. Documented evidence of the details of LJ's disability and the implications formed part of our original application to Housing NSW.
Unfortunately, the person who decides what a suitable property for us is, is not us. And, the person assessing a property that is "suitable" is a person who has never met or known LJ and therefore is unable to look at a property and assess it's suitability with regard to safety and security because they have no knowledge of LJ's ability when it comes to escapism or general seeking out things he should not be touching or playing with because of a level of danger. Another policy that applies to all agencies who could help us is that we are only entitled to two offers of properties and if I deem a property NOT to be suitable, there is a 28 day appeals process that I have to go through to be entitled to have that offer opportunity reinstated so another offer can be made.
Now, I know most parents are thinking, sounds just like my 11 year old ... this is where I might need to link in my previous post which talks more specifically about LJs disability. Here is the link. A quick overview though, LJ has an intellectual delay, receptive communication lack, delayed processing time, no idea of stranger danger, no concept of imminent danger to himself or others, the cognitive ability of a 4 - 6 year old in some things and the physical strength and ability and agility of an 11 year old. In short, exhausting. It breaks my heart every time I have to make a list of all the challenging attributes of my beautiful little boy, because he really is that, my beautiful little boy.
Here is what I need you to do.
Share this post with ANYONE you think may know someone or who is someone or who has contacts and networks or who is in the media or who in any way whatsoever would be able to help me find this:
I need a three bedroom home in the North "ish" Wollongong area. I can consider anywhere from Figtree up as there is transport, buses are available from those areas. We are currently in Fairy Meadow and the boys both are in Schools nearby. The property needs to have a securely fenced (level as possible) back yard, with minimal debris or obstacles, completely enclosed and preferably fences in excess of five foot with minimum foot holds. We obviously need all the other amenities such as a kitchen, lounge room, bathroom and toilet. An indoor play area would be a huge bonus.
LJ needs to have a backyard to blow off steam, he is a very energetic child and as I am a single Mum, I am not always able to supervise him in the yard, hence the need for such high levels of security and safety. To be able to see the yard from within the home would also be a huge bonus.
So go forth and spread the word.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, I am on Twitter s_lynn4 or you can leave a comment at the end of this post!
I think you all know what my idea of a Happy Ending Would be in this situation, so let's get on with making it happen!
Friday, 15 November 2013
Monday, 28 October 2013
When you say you will do something, do you do it? Always?
What would you do if you had promised someone you would do something, and then found yourself unable to follow through on your promise? Would you contact them and explain? Maybe even apologise?
This is what I would hope to do, despite the embarrassment and the obvious disappointment I will cause, simply because the disappointment of being let down with no explanation, is much worse, and I would not want to be responsible for making the choice to have someone feel worse than they need to.
What happens if you work for an organisation which represents themselves publicly as being the provider of a specific service at a particular level of service or who would provide that service in a particular manner to a particular group of people? Are you committed to uphold that statement of service just because you work for them? What if you couldn't with the resources made available to you? Would you still work for them? Would you strive to achieve that level anyway whilst banging your head against a brick wall? Might you suggest to your bosses the Mission Statement is actually NOT achievable from the perspective of resources and ability to consistently provide that service?
What if you were called out on that Mission Statement by a customer? Would you simply ignore its existence? Would you explain it was out of date? What would you do?
To avoid this looking like a simple rant, I will supply you with some facts.
My 11 year old LJ, has Down syndrome (DS). To most people that means he will look different, he has an intellectual delay, he may have some physical limitations.
The reality is this. Since LJ could roll, he has absconded, not unusual for a child with DS. He very rarely runs away these days or leaves an area that he is supposed to stay within, but he is now 11 and has learnt to climb! On tables, up paling fences, ladders, up poles, trees etc etc.
I know, you are all saying "Sounds like a typical 11 year old boy to me." Me too, except for the addition of the intellectual delay, Hypotonia, Hyperextension, receptive language delay, expressive language delay, lack of understanding of stranger danger, lack of proper social skills and a long list of other smaller issues, which, added up mean, he needs supervision 24 hours 7 days a week.
In the past, when I had the choice as to the properties we rented, I would always look for a few basics in security. Front and back screen doors must key lock, no access to under house, 6 foot fences (preferably Colourbond). Any gates require padlocks, if there was a garage the internal access door needed a key lock. Windows must not have broken fly screens, and must be able to be key locked. And that, mostly, covers the aspect of him absconding. Also, no double storey properties and one with a back yard so he can have some free reign.
As for other things like sharp knives etc, the usual stuff with little children, I need to be on the ball keeping those in safe places. "Up High" no longer cuts it as he just drags a chair over and accesses whatever he likes.
And at this point, let me remind you LJ is 11 years old, not so typical anymore hey?
Couple the need for such supervision and application of the many therapies, with the role of a single parent of two children, it actually seems amazing we have clean clothes, a clean house, any food in the house or even cooked meals. I have no extended family nor any other network of support.
After 8 years as a single parent with no other support, I have recently secured some respite support, however, it does not extend to assistance with any day to day support for Luke. I tend to use the respite so we can attend social functions as a family or to attend to my other child's needs outside of the home.
Unfortunately, it was a direct result of the breakdown of my marriage that found me and my children back in the rental market for accommodation. While I was self employed, I had some control over the houses we rented, but since we moved just under 2 years ago and I was unable to reestablish my business, I have relied on welfare and a few hours a week part time I have managed to find.
As a result of our unstable financial situation and my ever increasing Depression, I needed to seek assistance to find a rental property via a Community Housing Organisation (Whose name I have changed here to CH), who, promise the following:
NB: One of the "Other special purpose partnership projects" they speak of is around people with Disabilities.
This organisation was thoughtfully and purposefully formed to service specific areas of our communities, those being, the marginalised.
People living with Mental Health diagnosis, Disability, Homelessness, Illiteracy, Physical Health constraints, and many other difficulties that usually mean they need support and advocacy simply to achieve a very basic level of existence in any community.
And yet .... the very agencies which were formed to serve these people, deny them that service because of their inabilities, not in support of them!
If you can't complete reams of paperwork, you are not able to apply for public housing or priority housing nor many other services. Support is NOT automatically given, you need to qualify for that extra support and you have to have help to do that. How do you get that help? By filling in other forms with some other agency so you can register with them to advocate for you.
Anyone seeing the irony yet?
And when you have more than one difficulty in your life, well, that means you don't meet their criteria, and so, they can't provide any services because they don't know what to do with you because their Policies and Procedures don't cover it and they, cannot think for themselves!
I am now in the situation where this organisation which is supposed to provide housing to meet the needs of its client base, are telling me I have to take what is offered (even if it does not meet my needs) or I will end up homeless AGAIN! WITH, my two children.
They are in fact exacerbating my situation as a full time carer and making it much more difficult for me to exist by offering me a property which by no stretch of the imagination, meets the basic security needs to enable me to care for my son safely, whilst also being a parent and attending to the usual stuff we all have to attend to.
As I said when LJ's Case Worker rightly suggested no parent is capable of 24 hour 7 days a week supervision ...
If LJ was a "typical" 11 year old, he'd be out riding his bike with his mates and I wouldn't have to be worrying about being able to keep him in!
When will Disability Service Providers TRULY understand the people they are representing?
My Happy Ending will be if this organisation will actually listen to my needs and meet them, like they say they will.