Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pale words

I love the magic of writing. Chapters, stories, poetry, lyrics all form part of my daily routine as does, unfortunately, writing for work.
Report writing steals the freedom, the passion, the joy of language, replaced by confining boxes, buzz words, cold and calculating facts.
Here is part of one I wrote this afternoon that will be sent on to Social Services to maintain a child's place at the centre I work in. Below is what I would have said if I could!

Child B (3.8 years)
B continues to make progress. His language continues to improve with the support of Makaton sign language and daily sessions from the speech therapist. His oro-motor skills are improving but relevant, acquired language is still gauged at less than twenty words with no expressive language to date. Disfluency shows in most utterances and pre-formed words.
Large motor skills have improved with recommended insoles in his shoes. He is now exploring outside play, he can kick a ball and is learning to balance on a trike.

This is what I wanted to say:-

Do you know how incredible this child is?
The progress B has made is nothing short of a miracle and it is all down to his utter determination to try and become part of this world.
This little man has struggled to overcome the worst start a human being could have. He has risen, phoenix-like, from non-existing parenting and the remnants of neo-natal addiction. Clinical depression, so bad that an adult would have been hospitalised, has been present all his life and yet he remains one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met.
Now stop quibbling, give us the money and let us do our job!


Maxine Clarke said...

Speaking as an academic type, could you put your bit as a footnote? ;-)

Lovely, Minx, what a beautiful description, and how lucky that child is to have someone like you to care for him in the way that you so obviously do.

Susan said...

I agree wholeheartedly with everything Maxine just said! It would be nice if you could add your less 'clinical' comments to the bottom - (minus the last sentence of course, so some huffy civil servant doesn't file it in the round receptacle!)

As an aside, Minx, you're obviously in the right employment. Bless your kind heart!

Anonymous said...

The latter is what I believe reports were in my day. Less objective against a set standard perhaps, but they were encouraging and sought the essence of the effort, recognising the range of skillset.

People of all ages, not just children of young and developing ages need to hear the encouragement that matches their effort and an appreciation of their skills, whatever those may be. We're not all just candidates for CEO of the next multi-national conglomerate!

Glad you highlighted the difference, Minx!

Marie said...

I agree with what's already been said, Minx. I was moved by what you really wanted to say about the child. He is lucky to have someone like you recognize his potential.

Lee said...

Wonderful, Minx. Puts so many of our petty little concerns - OK, mine! - into proper perspective.

I reckon there's still a lot of teenager left in me: I can't help wondering why people who do your kind of work probably have to struggle to pay mortgages and clothe their kids, while pop stars and football heroes shit gold.

Unknown said...

Apologies for lay-out M and S, guess I was just trying to say that I've had a shit day!

Suppose my job is still seen as vocational Lee. Runumeration is not the name of the game, just expected to bash your head against SS walls until you break something!
Heart gets too involved sometimes and comes out in a post.

Lee said...

When your heart stops getting involved, we're all losers. Don't apologise for your strengths, please.

And sorry to be so dim, but what does 'lay-out M and S' mean?

Unknown said...

Susan and Maxine commented on the lack of 'footnote styling'.

Unknown said...

Anyway, be quiet you lot - I'm at work!

Debi said...

You've gone and made me cry again.
I know from friends who do similar jobs what the frustrations are. I also know that for many of these children, the experiences they have at school are their only positive expenriences in life and the bonds they form with caring teachers are often the only good adult/child relationships they'll ever know.
All I can say is how grateful we ALL as a society should be to those of you who do the job and CARE.
But we also need to acknowledge that it hurts and that you pay a high price for caring ...

Maxine Clarke said...

No Minx, I was not "criticising your lack of footnote style on your blog" silly! I am a fully paid up member of "people's blogs are their own" party. I meant, when you give in the real report to whoever you give it to, could you put your own personal comments as a sort of addendum. I think Susan thought the same as me, too. So that "the officials" could read it as well as getting the bland version you have to send them.

Your blog is lovely exactly as you have it!

Susan said...

Absolutely! WHAT MAXINE SAID! We were just saying that your comments are caring and VALID and deserve to be included. God knows we wouldn't go about criticising your writing style, Minx! I think you're a real writing talent - I'm just a reader.