How Dare You Care?
Let's be frank. Those of us who have had to give up our careers in order to care for a family member would likely not have had to resort to this extreme measure if our culture was one in which disabled and sick people were properly supported, respected and had equal rights.
I am not the first mother who had to make the decision to resign from her position in order to care for her disabled child and I won't be the last. The reasons are absolutely nothing to do with my child's disability. The reason I had to make the decision to end my career as a teacher is because of the hostile nature of our society, infrastructure, policies and procedures towards my daughter. I gave up being a teacher in order to become my daughter's lawyer, advocate, voice and representative. If I hadn't, she would most likely not be with us today. And if she had managed to survive the lack of healthcare and poor standards of care for people with learning disabilities then she certainly wouldn't have a school place, as this was another of her human rights that were denied. The area I live in is renowned for its lack of services and the Local Authority is famous nationwide for its discriminatory practices towards children with SEND.
If the infrastructure, funding, inclusive attitude and practice were in place to fully support disabled children then there would be thousands more parents still able to work. Instead, we are backed into a corner when we refuse to allow our children to be treated like animals. When we refuse to allow human rights violations to be carried out on our loved ones. When we refuse to accept that our children are not worth spending money on. We are forced to fight for their lives. It doesn't need to be this way.
Believe me, I would much rather be still teaching. It is my passion. I would much rather be marking the work of my students on an evening than reading through a diabolical EHCP, highlighting every instance of prejudice. I would rather be teaching a child how to read than spending hours every day on the phone, trying to get my daughter her right to healthcare and an education. In a progressive, modern society, disabled children should be guaranteed their rights. In the UK, in 2021, the exact opposite is true.