As a result of concerns about the proposals by Merlin’s Magic Wand to change their application process for families with autistic children, the charity have now published a statement on their facebook page. You can read it in full here but essentially the charity apologises to “anyone who was confused by some communications, or who interpreted them as discriminating against children with autistic spectrum disorders”.
They also add that due to limited resources and the growth in individual applications, that they need to find new ways of managing these. They write “we believe that in the future the best way to reach the maximum number of different children will be for us to increasingly work in tandem with specialist organisations – charities, support groups and educational and social services departments – who have direct access to those who would benefit most, and the communications channels to spread the word. More than this, given our aim must always be to give as many children as possible a magical day out, rather than the same children an annual outing – we also believe that working with partner organisations will better ensure this”.
It disappoints me to read that the charity is only apologising for any confusion arising from its first letter as it is clear to me that many people, including myself, were not confused by what we read. The charity had made it quite clear in their initial correspondence that they were introducing a new way of dealing with applications that only related to those with autistic spectrum disorders. Not surprisingly many people interpreted this as potentially discriminative as the charity appeared to be singling out a disability and treating those with ASD differently.
However it is pleasing to read that the charity have now stated that they will be seeking to reach the maximum number of different children by working with specialist organisations who have direct access to those who would benefit most.
If all those with additional needs will be treated in the same way then it will clearly be a fairer policy. However, I remain concerned whether these external organisations have the resources to be able to work in unison with Merlin’s Magic Wand or whether they know of all children in need.
Furthermore a recent statement from the National Autistic Society on their facebook page states that they are only just starting to explore ways in which they can help Merlin’s Magic Wand reach families who have children with autism. They add that the announcement by Merlin’s Magic Wand of the involvement of the NAS was premature but nevertheless once they have finalised how they will work with the charity, they will let us know more.
This post is day 25 of the nablopomo challenge where I have to submit a blogpost every day in the month of November.