I have had enough of being seen as someone that I’m not. This is why I have taken this decision to explain what happened from the start of a situation that I’m now being punished via an indefinite restraining order for life. And, also going to point out a few other things that need to be said.
As a disabled person you’re not listened to unless you get the back up of services and the right support. This whole situation focuses around that kind of circumstance. I know that I’m not the only one that this sort of thing has happened to because I’ve done a lot of networking (also the reason for the increase in blog likes etc). I’m not the only one that has been treated in this manner and, quite honestly, this is another reason why I’ve decided to tell my whole story now.
There can be no changes made in society unless individuals speak up and say what happened in their cases. There are legal restrictions but there are also ways around them. I may get challenged by legal representatives but the truth is documented so there has been no lies told. And, to back this up, I will take that oath right here now and say I swear to tell the truth. However, not on the bible because I am non religious. I would just like to point out that I’m not personally aiming anything said in this entry at anyone. I am going to write it as a court statement would be written (but remember I am not legally trained and GCSE Law is very basic compared to those properly qualified in law).
‘I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth and nothing but the truth’. And by truth, I mean the facts that I am privy to. I don’t know exact dates, but I can give the months that these things happened and the year.
In September 2014, I started at De Montfort University (Leicester) on the Undergraduate NCTJ accredited Journalism Degree Course. It was a spare of the moment decision after my son had been adopted 2 weeks before I applied and had my interview via clearing (August 2014). I passed the academic tests to get in (despite my lack of basic qualifications – however I did have a BTEC in Media Production which was classed as an equivalent to three A Levels – but it’s not counted nowadays because it’s pre 2014 – I got it 2010). I was there part time because that is all that I thought I could manage after my son’s adoption.
I declared my past to them at the end of September 2014, because I was always taught to be open and honest due to it being the right thing to do. I did it because I wanted the right support and for people not to misjudge me. I did look up to my media law tutor (despite what has happened since), she was a huge inspiration to me and I feel awful for how things spiralled out of control. I was in a huge mess so I kind of blurted out I loved her by mistake via email. I didn’t because I’m not the kind of person who knows what love is as I’ve never had a serious relationship. And the truth is that I was desperately missing my son and looking for a Mother figure myself at that time. I’m not giving anyone’s names out because that is irrelevant to the actual facts here. We are purely focusing on what led up to what occurred and why I am not as I have been painted. I’m trying so hard to word things right so that I do not offend anyone but still stick to the facts. I have a lot of feelings that I always talk about but this isn’t the place for them today.
I used to put on a mask in regards to smiling when I was actually really cut up inside so this may have confused people. I still do it, but I tell myself that I really must not cover up when I am suffering because it bottles up and ends up causing disasters. Also, people don’t believe you need the support because you’re always so cheerful when they see you out and about (which isn’t so much nowadays because right now I’m feeling quite traumatised by everything that has happened and can’t afford to socialise because of benefit cuts).
Between the months of September to December 2014, there was a lot of meetings with different departments where I tried to explain my disability and that I had no malicious intent but needed the support to not get overly anxious which leads to me going overboard with ocd emailing etc.
The first meeting I had was NAS (National Autistic Outreach within the University) and one of the staff who is now in the position of Autism Officer at the University (wheelchair bound herself due to disability). This meeting was held between me, those two staff and the media law tutor a few weeks after I got there. I was honest with the NAS outreach manager about my issues, as I was with the tutor from the start. All of them told me that I would be supported and that they understood. I voiced my concerns at the time about not trusting anyone after what I’d been through in my life.
The second meeting was with the Estates department in November 2014. I was basically asked whether I had any intention of repeating my offences I’d done in the past at the university. I told them that this wasn’t a conscious choice or an intentional act. I had my support worker manager and social worker with me but they weren’t really saying a lot just listening to what me and the Estates staff were saying. This meeting is trackable because a blind member of staff was writing notes on the meeting via her specially adapted braille dictator machine. She had her dog at one of the meetings (the one before I scared it by going into a meltdown). The dog could see my pain though, even if the humans didn’t have that sense. I had my support manager in that meeting too and they never spoke up for me… only backed up the university. We have support commissioned via the council to advocate our needs. That was never done for me and I ended up so stressed that I had a major meltdown and walked out the room to the toilets where I fell on the floor in tears and had a panic attack. However, no one suppose to be my support came to check on me. Then all I was told when I did finally catch up with the support manager that we were going home in a taxi and they were really nasty to me putting me down for getting anxious, screaming (due to the meltdown) and running off. The organisation was LEAT (I was legally threatened not to ever name them but after everything that has happened to me, that isn’t something I’m going to stick to now). And, if I get a letter from a legal representative then I am well and truly prepared to argue on the case in a civil case capacity on a human rights basis and how their failure to support me properly has severely affected my health (both mentally and physically, and I have proof for evidence).
I was given a male support worker about the same time after being accused of crossing the boundaries (the female support worker offered me a sofa because mine was about fallen to bits) with my former female support worker. She was going off for an operation so she gave me her personal number as they have to hand in their work phones when they go on leave. I got worried about if she would be okay while she was off having her operation, so I texted it. I didn’t end up taking the sofa because I got too anxious about meeting her son and husband who was bringing the sofa over. So when she got back to work I wasn’t allowed to have her again. I was settled and with Autism in general changes at the last minute is not supporting a person with Autism. Well, this upset me quite a lot just before I was due to start university. The council was well aware that I felt uncomfortable with a male support worker due to the sexual abuse I suffered as a child (however, I was made out to be a liar back then so it’s not like they’d take any notice).
In between these meetings, I contacted the mental health support team within the University because I did not have a good feeling from the previous meetings with the Estates (security staff) teams. I took my support manager and another worker from the organisation because the Manager was partially deaf in both ears from her own disability. I went to see the Manager of the mental health team at the University and there was also another member of their staff involved in the disciplinary proceedings that was eventually launched against me.
Back to the university now though. After those meetings above, I got sent a letter saying that I was suspended. This letter instructed me to write to the Vice Chancellor if I was still suspended after 2 weeks. I did this and then found myself being sent down the disciplinary route rather than helped and supported as I’d been promised. I was told not to be too honest, but I was because I literally can’t not be honest. It gets me into trouble but I just say exactly how I feel and what I know due to my brain damage I suffered from my head injury (at 8 years old) and subsequent medication damage from being treated wrongly for Epilepsy.
NAS Outreach didn’t want to work with me and they basically told me that during via others at the disciplinary proceedings. The person running the NAS outreach had absolutely no understanding of Autism at all. It was purely just a job to them and they barely had enough staff to support all those with Autism in the University.
They excluded me as a result of that disciplinary, which was held in January 2015. I was supposed to go back in September 2015. However, I told them that my disability wasn’t going to change in nature but they just didn’t listen or agree to accommodate it, let alone understand it. I broke the conditions of being allowed to come back (messaging the tutor, which I told them that I couldn’t do before the end of that meeting). The worse thing to do was send me home because all I wanted was a friend and I didn’t have a support worker that was helpful. Before the disciplinary, I was encouraged by a mental health team member to withdraw instead of going through the disciplinary procedure and if I did that then my student fees I’d already paid to the University would be effectively waivered. I was actively discouraged from participating in challenging the University.
In March 2015, I got told that I was permanently excluded. I was told that I had 21 days to decide whether I wanted to appeal or not. I spoke to my so called support service who told me I had to tell them I didn’t want to appeal. And due to this I couldn’t take it down the discrimination side because I hadn’t gone through all the required stages. I was very upset because I did really want to go back. I got angry and sent awful things to the tutor who I perceived as betraying me. That is how everything ended up in court. And, my support just made what happened harder until 2 years down the line I literally had a meltdown and told them to get out and never come back. They knew how distressed I was and constantly added to it.
I put up with their crap for 2 years. I just wanted the other person (tutor) to back me up because no one else wanted to do so. I complained to the University and basically just got told to shut up in a professional context. Absolutely no one listened to me and that is why I’m not accepting responsibility for the whole mess. I’m not a nasty person. I wasn’t supported in any action I wanted to take, even though they knew that to succeed I’d need back up to appeal the permanent exclusion etc. I don’t care how they’ve written it down in records. I have a very precise memory and can recall exactly what happened. I was getting no where, so I kept going back to the tutor hoping that she would help me out. I had absolutely no other option and I’m not an awful person who did any of what I may have done by accident, on purpose.
I complained about everything that happened to the council and now I’m just point blankly denied any support for my disability. The council know that I may be homeless soon even, yet I’m still on low priority. This is why I have had to represent myself via statements to try to get at least the daily living component from PIP so that I can get enough money to at least keep a roof over my head. I would like to work, but let’s face it, with what has gone on, my lack of experience and negative labelling due to my disability issues… that will never happen. I have to get that daily living component to get all my housing benefit reinstated (due to being under 35). And, after all the inconvenience caused by these financial difficulties I’m asking for the whole amount of PIP I’ve been entitled to since they phased out DLA.