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Quora.com has a habit of invoking its Be Nice Be Respectful policy on the wrong people. On the one hand, it will allow trolls to ask insensitive and provocative questions aimed at causing disturbance, as well as allowing abusive people to continue to abuse the people they have previously abused by refusing to acknowledge their guilt in that abuse.

This is just one example of many I could cite.

Narcissistic abuser Magnus Van Agteren gave what was a blatantly victim-blaming answer to a question. And I did the proper thing – which was to remind him that his answer shows that he has refused to accept that he is the abuser and that was his choice to lie to and emotionally manipulate his victims.

He went off crying to mummy, didn’t he?

And I got a message from Quora’s moderators – who seem more sympathetic towards someone openly blaming his victims than to understanding why it is important to make sure that such abusers remember that they chose to abuse, and that the blame is not to be placed on their victims. In saying what he said, Van Agteren is essentially saying – by extension – that a rape victim is to blame for being raped.

Quora seems to do this a lot.

Why does Quora.com prefer to support and legitimise abuse from such people?

 

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Well … this goes to show that Fb care more about image than users.
This went up on 28th Sept, 2018 and – lo and behold – the lad gets his profile back!

It might, however, have something to do with the fact that I sent them the link to this blog.

The fact of the profile being unlocked now so soon suggests to me that they knew they were committing an offence of harassment – they certainly did not contest the charge in their email to me. In this email, they thank me ‘for working with (them) to get this resolved’ … I worked with them last year to get this resolved. Same thing: proof of name, same explanation. What did it this time?

This blog. Because their behaviour became public knowledge.

So – the profile is now back with me, in my gaidhlig name. But I shall leave this here as a resource for others who have been wronged similarly on the basis of this particular policy.


 

So – this missive is going to Fb. The numbers refer to evidentiary screenshots.


This is my passport. I should NOT have been waiting this long or be having to send
this. A perfectly clear photograph was sent months ago.

This shows my name: David Nicholas Andrews.
This shows my date of birth: 22 July 1962
It shows that I am British by nationality.

I am Scottish. My mother was born there and I am therefore, like she is, Scottish.
In Scotland, three languages are spoken: Scottish English, Scots leid and Scottish gaelic (gaidhlig)

My name in gaidhlig is Dàibhidh Mac Niocail Mac Aindreais. Whilst I am not a fluent speaker of
gaidhlig, it is nonetheless a language in which I sing – 999(759). It is part of my cultural background.

In about 2008-9, a friend built me a page, which had my name in English on it – 999(758). I felt that this would confuse people because, at the time, that page was not under my control, and anybody looking me up might have tried to contact me through there. Someone did: John Best Jr, on Facebook as John Best – 999(2156).

Best was abusive – 999(757). He has a history of being abusive towards me and any other autistic adult on the internet – 999(2151, 2152, 2153, 2155). He has also a history of abusing non-adult autistic people, and my child is – like me – autistic. She has a profile on Fb and he would find her and abuse her if he could – my job as a parent is to prevent that. By using my name in gaidhlig (AND having my name in English in brackets beside it!), I was both avoiding confusions AND preventing Best and his ilk from finding my child and abusing her the way they do me.

I have done nothing wrong to deserve my profile being deactivated. I was not dishonest about who I am. And yet, for protecting my child, you arbitrarily punish me. You have not even told me of ANY infraction that could bring this about.

Given that there are many people by the name of Dàibhidh on Facebook – 999(4240) – including people who have their names in gaidhlig for cultural reasons – 999(1010), it is hard to believe that the use of my name in gaidhlig could be against community standards or be in breach of anything else. This leads me to conclude that your action against me is either a personal act of harassment or Facebook acting on behalf of an
anti-vaccinationist. Both of these acts are criminal offences in the vast majority of jurisdictions.

With this in mind, I am requiring that you either:
1- prove that a wrong-doing is linked to this deactivation
or
2- restore to me my profile forthwith.

I should warn you: this letter is an open letter: many hundreds of thousands will read it. It will create a very bad impression of Facebook as an organisation that harasses autistic people on behalf of anti-vaccinationists.

You do not deserve my best wishes,
David N. Andrews
Dàibhidh Mac Niocail Mac Aindreais


Not very much a fan of Facebook these days – very arbitrary and evil in their behaviour; I remember them being swift to over-act in cases where pro-vaccinationists made a non-abusing/non-threatening comment in response to (usually abusing) posts/comments by anti-vaccinationists … this does rather give the impression that its moderators are themselves anti-vaccinationists or at least AV sympathisers. Zuckerberg might have got his kid vaccinated but his staff are most likely not doing so. This makes them, of course, a very serious public health danger. Also – we have no proof that the baby Zuckerberg posed with was actually his child. Their recent behaviour in Facebook casts doubt on the legitimacy of any claims made by Facebook regarding – well – anything these days.

A-evidence that what is happening in my case clearly is not reasonable:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/man-wins-facebook-battle-over-fake-gaelic-name-1-3702815
—–
A FORMER police officer has won a victory over Facebook after the social media giant decided his Gaelic name was “not real”. Gavin McGowan was outraged when he failed to log in to his Facebook account using the same Gaelic version of his name – Gabhan Mac A Ghobhainn – that has worked for four years.
—–
Good on you, Gabhan!


B- 29th Sept. 2018

I have written to a journalist at the Scotsman to highlight the lack of consistency in Facebook’s policy implementation, which is a sign of how little they actually care about their users: they do not care whom they hurt or harm. What happened to Gabhan above happened TWO FULL YEARS before Facebook held my profile to ransom – I still don’t have it back. I attempted to do what Gabhan did but Facebook no longer allows the public to contact it electronically, it seems. They seem to have resented having been stung and have closed off an avenue of redress. They do not want to be fair or reasonable to their users, clearly.

 

SIT-REP – 23 Feb 2018

So – the situation just now.

1- After nearly twenty years of local authority refusal to assess for – and draw up – a disability support plan, a meeting was held at my house in which the point was made that my life has evolved into a mess because of the lack of an adequate support plan; and, in the first half-year after this meeting, I am still waiting for the process fo start.

The very people whose job includes helping the client to write the application for this assessment and plan are the very social workers who are refusing to even consider that such an assessment is necessary – despite the fact that my disability rating went from 40% on entry to Finland to the current 60% after 19 years of this abuse.

2- After two and a half years of battling with my GPs, I got an assessment and diagnosis for heart failure, not otherwise specified. My GPs had refused to refer because of normal CXR, even though my heart was in clinically-observable cardiomegaly in the first CXR), ECG and BNP result. The problem here is this: the GPs in question are Finnish and lack the continued education that is required for registration maintenance in the UK. Had they had this sort of education, they would know the following: that the BNP test is very non-specific, and is not therefore useful for ruling out HF; that the BNP test needs three BMI groups in order to have any screening utility, since there are three cut-off levels necessary for three BMI groups (lean people – 165 units; over-weight people – 100 units; obese people – 54; all of these cut-offs give a sensitivity of 0.90 and a specificity of 0.70 – a sensitivity of 0.90 means that the test will give a correct positive result nine times out of ten positive results but a specificity of 0.70 means that the same test will give an incorrect negative result three times in every ten negative results … not very good as a test, really). My BMI is 44 and I had BNP test results in the 70s and 80s. These are all above the 54 units cut-off below which one can rule out systolic hear failure.

3- My previously mild/sub-clinical OCD has, because of the 19yr stress package that is Finland’s health & social welfare, employment services and education systems, become moderate to the point where it now needs a diagnosis. Thankfully, the psychiatrist at the hospital understood the situation well. The hospital stuff and the public health care stuff are not run by the same people: public health care is under the control of local authorities.

4- There is no fourth item just yet. Going to publish this now, and edit when I have time.

My worst university horror stories are – surprise, surprise – Finland-based.

Don’t get me wrong – in the UK, when I lived there, the lack of all appropriate diagnoses in childhood fucked me over for a full-time place at university. But, at least back then, it was possible to go to university half-time, get disabled student allowances on a pro-rata basis, and study for a degree part time whilst on benefits at any local university. Bit different now, but there is still that paragon of educational socialism, the Open University, which provides a marvellous educational opportunity for people like me to get an education par excellence as non-traditional students. I am a UK citizen.

(But … fuck you, Finland!)

After working my fucking arse off for years, in 2001, I got a place at the University of Birmingham to study for a M. Ed., which I chose to study based tightly on the then-current practitioner qualification in educational psycholgy – the British Psychological Society’s Diploma in Educational Psychology. Everything in my M. Ed. is mapped spectacularly well onto the currriculum for the Dip. Ed. Psychol., and this can be demonstrated well.

In 2006, having studied two qualifications over a period of five years (with a disability rating at that time of 40%), I came away with a Master of Education degree that was awarded ‘with Distinction’. So, you’d think that this would be acceptable to a university anywhere in the EU, because of the Bologna Treaty on the recognition of qualifications within the EU, right?

(Well – fuck you, Finland, for signing and ratifying and then ignoring this treaty.)

So, having achieved high distinction in my degree, I inquired (didn’t even apply yet!) about doctoral studies in the psychology of education at the University of Jyväskylä, here in Finland. I read carefully the university psychology department’s project description and planned my proposal (per the university’s guidelines), with a view to going doctoral on ‘motivated learning, learning difficulties and later educational transitions’. My main research question was:

“How can Finnish Higher Education Institutions be modified to better include Asperger-autistic students and thereby facilitate the inclusion of such students into wider society after graduation via entry into work-life?”

I aimed to answer this by investigating the answers to the following questions, each of which would result in a publilshed paper:

1- What issues that lead to learning difficulties are faced by Asperger-autistic students in higher education settings in Finland? What factors combine to give rise to these issues, and how are they explained by traditional or current Finnish expertise?

2- For those issues that lead to the experience of learning difficulty, what has been offered to compensate and/or remediate for such difficulties? What has been the dominant paradigm (as seen from the occupational psychological perspective) in working with such students? Is it FPJ¹ (FSI²) or FJP (FIS)?

3- When such remediations/compensations have been implemented for the Asperger-autistic student, what has been the outcome for such students? Has the intervention been useful or has it made matters worse? Either way, how?

4- What, if any, sorts of intervention would have better served the interests of Asperger-autistic students in pursuance of their desired academic qualifications and, ultimately, their work-life outcomes?

¹ Fitting Person to Job or vice versa
² Fitting Student to Institution or vice versa

What I will say now, because it was the basis for this line of research, is that Finnish HEIs are pretty shite at dealing with making accommodations for students with specific learning/developmental difficulties. I found this out by experience and practitioner research over the eight years I’d been living in Finland by this time, and had lectured on the topic in 2005 at the University of Tampere (“Accessibility, equality and effective support measures – a focus on ways in which Higher Education Institutions can support Asperger-autistic students in learning and assessment settings.”). Students in schools at all levels who had specific learning or developmental difficulties were routinely shoved into the special education ‘dustbin’ class-room where nothing was expected and nothing got done. In total, five-ninths of my work for my M. Ed. dealt with this particular matter. Yep, I did a taught master’s degree entirely by original research. Go me.

You’d think that this would be a good background for getting to go doctoral, right? Well … I sent my inquiry to the relevant professor, just to see if a supervisor could be found (here, you have to find the supervisor before you start your application … and now I know why: it makes it practically impossible for non-Finnish-citizen students to get into Finnish universities to research for post-graduate degrees).

I emailed this professor at 8pm that evening, with a study profile, and copies of my psychological testing level, and my degree certificate – as well as the 5-page proposal required by the university, to show that I was capable and interested enough to want to go through with this. By 8.45pm, I had a response. In this response, he:

a- got my fucking name wrong;
b- got the name of the syndrome wrong;
c- demonstrated clearly that he hadn’t fucking read my proposal by stating that I should ‘try some medical faculty’!

He managed to commit these three fuck-ups inside two sentences and a fucking salutation.

And the worst of this is that he was the one (out of a number of professors in different universities) who wrote back: the ones at Helsinki didn’t even do that!

I’ve been here for nearly two decades and there’s more where this came from, going from public health care (e. g., having to fight with GPs for 2½yrs to get an assessment for – and dx – of heart failure) to social services (e. g., fighting for nearly two decades to get a proper support plan and STILL any support beyond what everybody gets still being entirely on a discretionary basis).

Can anybody spell ‘client abuse’? And – given the attitudes of HEIs here towards foreigners (I’m by no means the only foreigner who’s experienced this shite) – is it any wonder this shit goes on?

Click link:
https://psychtld.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/current-situation-as-at-3rd-march-2013/

 

 

I am fucking raging.
This bollocksing about costs people their fucking lives, and there’s nobody in government taking steps to stop this shit.
Read this article:
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/teens-death-hastened-by-practitioner-who-had-bogus-diplomas/

Anybody notice this?:
—–
Meanwhile, the alternative-medicine schools that are accredited by the federal government are dismayed by the explosion of untrained and uncertified operators.

“They are using smoke and mirrors to confuse people by not disclosing the truth behind their accrediting agencies and their institutions,” said Dr. Jane Guiltinan, a naturopathic clinical professor at Seattle’s Bastyr University, one of the five schools of naturopathy that are accredited by a federally recognized institution.

Guiltinan is president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), an organization that requires that its members graduate from a four-year accredited college.

“To argue that you don’t have to have any training for diagnosing or treating patients is absurd,” she said.
—–

Isn’t that just fucking bullshitters calling bullshitters ‘bullshitters’ because they’re not peddling bullshit using a diploma bought from an accredited diploma mill rather than one of the ordinary ones?! Fucking absurd as fuck, that is.

No wonder the public has its fucking hands full trying to tell what’s bollocks and what isn’t.

And here’s the fucking thing that gets me all fucking stabby just now:

It really doesn’t matter whether someone took a four-year bachelor degree before training as a pissing naturopath… except that, if it was a degree in science, some fucking bellend spent time and money doing a degree that they were going to use as bog roll before studying for a fucking fake degree – in a fake fucking subject – that deserves to be used for wiping the shit off an angry arse.

There’s absolutely fuck-all difference between the AANP and ANMA … regional board accreditation means fucking nothing for the validity of any of the treatments that get used by these twatbastards … because it’s ALL naturopathy and it’s ALL fucking bollocks.

If the AANP were THAT fucking bothered about validity for anything, it should be focussed on the treatments themselves. Not on whether someone’s in AANP or not. They should started teaching the proper principles of evidence/science-based medicine. That way, at the end of a four-year ‘doctoral’ ‘degree’ course, what ‘graduates’ would come away realising would be this:

1- I just spent two years of my life learning a bunch of useless fucking horse-shite.
2- I then spent another two fucking years doing a research project in controlled practice, only to find out that what I learned in the first two years of this fucking programme was utter fucking horse-shite.
3- I’ve just spent tens of thousands of dollars on this fucking programme and I’m left in a fucking position of STILL not knowing what I can do to fucking help anybody.
4- It’s time that places like Bastyr University got burned to the fucking ground, along with all the bollocks they fucking teach.

It’s NOT ‘alternative medicine’: it’s alternatives to medicine and it’s ALL fucking bollocks. And it’s costing people their fucking lives – and not a single fucking politician in government is doing a fucking thing about it anymore. Health freedom, my fucking fat, hairy, Scottish arse. Freedom to die a fucking unnecessary death, more like.

I have so much of an issue with the whole AS v. ‘classic’/Kanner autism thing. Mostly because the people using the distinction tend to be parents who for some reason are rejecting what is properly understood in the science about what Asperger syndrome actually is.

The only proper way to understand it is using set theory. Without a good grounding in that, everybody is at a high risk of getting it totally wrong.

Let A = {all humans}
Let B = {all humans who are on the autism spectrum}
Let C = {all humans on the autism spectrum diagnosable with Asperger syndrome}
Let D = {all humans on the autism spectrum diagnosable with autism}

We shall see that the union of sets C and D is a proper subset on set B, which is a proper subset on A: C ∪ D ⊆ B, and B ⊆ A.

Those sets further to the left are included in those sets further to the right.

Now it’s going to get confusing: the DSM IV criteria for Asperger syndrome required that – in order to diagnose Asperger syndrome – the diagnostician could not better explain what was going on with the examinee using the criteria for ‘autistic disorder’. So, in order to diagnose 299.80, one had to exclude 299.00 (in ICD 10 terms, one had to exclude F84.0 before one could diagnose F84.5)

This is problematic, and here is why: in DSM IV and DSM IV-TR, the criteria for 299.80 were themselves a proper subset on the criteria for 299.00; in other words, the very act of diagnosing Asperger syndrome was also an act of diagnosing autism — purely because of this set relation of 299.80 ⊆ 299.00! Because F84.5 ⊆ F84.0, the same phenomenon presents for the case of ICD 10. In either case, diagnosing Asperger syndrome will necessarily be diagnosing autism. And, because the criteria for Asperger syndrome in both systems were proper subsets on those for autism generally, it was (and still is, for ICD 10) impossible to reject the less specific diagnosis of 299.00/F84.0 in favour of 299.80/F84.5  – meaning that Asperger syndrome is a diagnostic impossibility.

Sally Ozonoff and her colleagues assessed the children in Asperger’s study according to the criterion sets 299.00 and 299.80, and found that 299.80 could not be diagnosed; the children were diagnosable under 299.00 only. As I understand it, a similar situation comes about under ICD 10 with F84.5 versus F84.0 (I’d need to find that reference again, though, in order to be completely sure).

Now – back to the set theory stuff. Are sets C and D truly different sets of people? Based on the above diagnostic issue, you’d probably think not; since 299.80 and F84.5 are proper subsets respectively on 299.00 and F84.5, the Asperger diagnoses are de facto autism diagnoses. Set C is, in fact, a subset on set D; but it is a null (empty) set, since Asperger syndrome cannot be diagnosed without the examinee also fulfilling the criteria for being autistic generally.

TL:DR – the names Kanner and Asperger mean nothing: it is ALL autism.

My first blog article for a long time, and this is something I feel extremely passionate about – and my language here tends to reflect that. It goes a bit Billy Connolly – Stephen Fry.

Hmmm …. Well, I’m not sure.

What I would say is this – that autistic people can become experts on autism, but we’re not experts purely because we’re autistic. Expertise is more than just being autistic or dyslexic or whatever. There’s serious marshalling of skills involved in developing expertise. Wasn’t until I started my studies that I found this out…. how little I actually understood compared to what I understand now.

As for autistic people being the ONLY experts on autism – fuck, no.

That’s just fucking arrogant and potentially Dunning-Krugerish. If someone diagnosed with cancer said ‘Well, I have this cancer so I am the only sort of person who could be called an expert’, we’d look at them and think ‘Fuck off!’.

I’m autistic. I’m also a psychologist who has specialised in autism issues across the life span. Before I started my studies, was I any sort of expert on autism, purely by virtue of being autistic? Fuck no. When I finished my B. A. Sc.-equivalence – was I an expert then, purely by virtue of being autistic? Again, no. Did my studies help? A bit. What about having gone through postgraduate training? Am I an expert on autism? Someone thinks so – I’m an associate editor for a journal dealing with autism practice. Does my being autistic make me that expert? Yet again – not a chance. Does my training make me an expert? Well, it gives me some level of expertise, but I don’t bloody feel like I’m an expert. I feel less of an expert NOW than I ever felt before I started my studies. At this point, I should refer people to Dunning & Kruger and their paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10626367

—–
J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Dec;77(6):1121-34.
Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.
Kruger J!, Dunning D.

¹ Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-7601, USA.

Abstract-
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
—–
There is nothing about being autistic that protects any of us on the spectrum from metacognitive deficits – indeed, there is sound research that shows that we, too, are as prone to this problem as non-autistics – maybe even more prone. This doesn’t mean that we’re inferior: it just means that we are bloody human, too. Whilst ever we are, outwith any educational interventions, prone to metacognitive deficits in the same way as non-autistic people are … we cannot seriously expect (nor should we!) to be taken seriously when we make stupid statements like “the only autism experts are autistic people”. Because – given what ‘expert’ means – we are not ever going to be experts without having any bloody education or training that helps us to put our experiences into some kind of proper epistemological framework.

Know who else says “We’re the only experts because of our experiences”? Antivaccinationists.

And we know how ‘credible’ _they_ are.

No. We are not experts ‘purely by experience’; and we are not the only experts on autism. And, whilst ever any of us go around making that sort of statement, nobody is ever going to take us seriously. I cannot in all honesty get behind that sort of crass statement.

Stressed, depressed, anxious, lonely, embittered and exhausted.

And that’s only the first six things that come to mind.

EDIT:

As of Wednesday 17th September, 2014 …. the situation is no better. If anything, it is worse.

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. Sometimes, another’s situation goes unstable and ends up in something rather disastrous for them, and then we end up – for any number of reasons – having to pick up the pieces. When it happens to a friend, it can put you in an unenviable position of having to eventually act in self-interest, because you don’t have access to the sorts of resources needed to get your friend through their particular crisis: it pains you because you have to send them away to where the (tightly-controlled) resources are, and where you know that their future is probably the most uncertain that it has ever been for them… and that is not what you want for them.

Well, that unstable situation has recently happened to a friend of mine and, therefore, to me. And, with all the will in the world, without the appropriate resources I can do nothing to help him. And, tomorrow, I have the job of going with him to the bus station in Kotka (with my ex-wife, who has been working with me behind the scenes to try and figure out how can he be supported until he’s mentally strong enough to cope), and we have to put him on a bus back to Helsinki (which is where these tightly-controlled resources are).

He came to me just ahead of the New Year, possessing only that which he could carry. He had been evicted from his flat in Kallio, a suburb of Helsinki. For a number of years, he has been studying at the University of Helsinki, where he was a German Studies major. When I first met him, he was acting as a guinea-pig for me whilst I was training as a psychologist: he had agreed to let me conduct a couple of different types of assessments on him and, since that time, we’ve been in contact on way or another. He’s been able to share with me the joys of life as a student; he’s been able to commiserate with me on the death of my father (cancer, Feb. 2007); he’s been able to visit the rather informal ‘Mad Bastard Support Group’ that met most days in the local library cafeteria here in Kotka; and he’s been able to meet me for drinks on those exceedingly rare occasions on which I’ve been able to get to Helsinki. We’ve shared many jokes and sorrows over the eight years I’ve known him, so it was a matter of answering the call to duty when he told that he was in need of some help and a couch to sleep on. My friend Andy took him first, because I was ill and not yet recovered; and on Old Year’s Night he appeared at my door needing shelter. Naturally, we set him to sleep on a ‘put-you-up’ in my lounge for a few days (because of the law here, that’s all I could let him stay for) so that we could get matters dealt with whilst he was in a place of safety. My friend is, as I am myself, Asperger-autistic and – as such – has some special everyday living support needs.

He was, as I have been, a client of a Finnish organisation providing specialist services to Autistic adults both in Helsinki and in Kotka. He was also, as I still am now, a client of his local social services department. In March of 2009, he fell off the radar of both organisations: neither Autismisäätiö nor the Helsinki Social and Disability Services could locate him. Not that they actually tried. A couple of phone calls and visits to know three times on his door is not exactly the work of a thorough social worker. For more than a year, it seems, he’s had no contact with either organisation. And neither organisation took the time to actually find him… despite their joint duty of care. As far as ultimate duty of care is concerned, the responsibility for the loss of a client is that of his social worker in Helsinki. And she lost him good!

As at Monday January 10th 2011, my friend had been technically homeless for more or less two months; and, when my ex-wife contacted Helsinki Social Services, his social worker was clueless as to whether he was dead or alive: the social worker had done nothing to clear that mystery up at all. In the meantime, my friend had been thrown out of his flat and was living quite rough in Helsinki. So, on January 10th, this social worker was made aware that she still had this client, and that he was homeless and sleeping on friends’ couches. And she was made aware of the legal difficulties that her client’s being with me would cause (because of the law on how the social services and welfare office should see two people staying in the same flat).

It took this social worker until Friday to reply to the initial call to her, made on the Monday. In this replay, she mentioned that they might be able to get my friend his old flat back, provided that he do a number of things first (including make a written application for income support from the Helsinki Social Welfare Office – essentially the same as the Social Services office; pay off all debts for unpaid rent; and a few other things as well). Nowhere in the mailing did she say, “Oh, by the way, we have found a place you can stay whilst we’re sorting all this stuff out!”.

So, since Monday, he’s been on my put-you-up in my lounge and slowly going out of his mind with worry.

What happens in Finland, when Social Services have a case that they cannot really be bothered to deal with appropriately, they let the case lapse and the client then goes into crisis and the case becomes a Mental Health Care System case. It seems that this is what is happening in the case of my friend. Neither Autismisäätiö or the Helsinki Social Services people have shown any intention to ascertain the life-status of my friend; they have not even made a proper or adequate assessment of his needs (had they done so, this situation would not have happened); and they have not been bothered to act once they were made aware of the situation. This situation has had financial impacts on those who have had to become involved because of the lack of any Social Services contact at the Helsinki end: me, because I had to buy his food when he had no money to speak of; and my ex-wife, because her getting involved has distracted her from her own work as a sole-trader consultant in autism services.

And the lack of consideration of the social worker for this component of the impact of her lack of appropriate response to the initial situation just… well, at one time, I would have said that it shocked me. These days, I cannot say that: I have come to expect this from Finnish social workers. But what it does is to gall me. It galls me because – despite knowing the possible impacts on others of not acting to get my friend a place to stay (at least for a while) – this social worker has still failed to do the one thing that her client needs her to do: help him find a roof to go over his head. Three Asperger-autistic people in Kotka have tried to, despite being totally under-resourced (compared to Helsinki Social Services), help him find a temporary place to stay at night: we have – even in southern Finland – very bitterly cold nights. It is as if this social worker is playing mind-games with us: daring me to throw him out into cold, while she sits at her desk and effectively does nothing. Since Monday January 10th, she has been taking advantage of me by not acting quickly enough, and putting my tenancy at risk in the process (to say nothing about what it is doing to my friend, who is quickly approaching a nervous breakdown as I write this article).

I cannot say now that I have any faith in social workers, especially Finnish ones: they are careless (they can always find a way to ‘lose’ a client who has specific daily living needs that they cannot be bothered to understand); they can always fail to act, if there is a friend of their client that they can guilt into taking an excessive risk with tenancy rights (which all social workers know, since it is part of their job to know this); and they can always fail to respond appropriately to a call that says that their client is homeless by failing to find even a temporary place to stay.

This social worker is very fortunate that I am not her boss. If I were, she would be looking for another job tomorrow morning (I am writing this on Sunday evening), and I would be making sure that every social services department in Finland was aware that she is – if her practice over the past two years with regard to my friend is anything to go by – a serious liability (for a good many litigatory actions in court). This social worker has case the all other social workers in such a bad light that it is hard to imagine what kind of social worker would condone this sort of malpractice. But, then again, two articles come to mind. Look at the difference between these reports in the Helsinki Times:

“Many Finnish social workers blame claimants for being poor -Study

Finnish social workers’ attitudes toward the poor are harder than those of their colleagues in other Nordic countries, according to a study published in the Finnish social policy journal Yhteiskuntapolitiikka last week.

The study found that Finnish social workers were many times more likely than their Nordic colleagues were to tell poor customers that they had themselves to blame.” (28th December, 2010)

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/general/13669-many-finnish-social-workers-blame-claimants-for-being-poor-study-.html

“Study: Finnish social workers deploy tough love

In the view of some Finnish social workers, the poor have only themselves to blame.

THE ATTITUDES of Finnish social workers towards the poor are the severest in the Nordic region, it has been revealed. They are much more likely than their colleagues in Scandinavia to blame clients for their own financial hardship. This was one of the results of a study published in Yhteiskuntapolitiikka-lehti, a social policy magazine.

Norwegian, Swedish and Danish social workers instead do not tend to identify any of the causes of financial problems in clients themselves.” (7th January, 2011)

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/general/13720-study-finnish-social-workers-deploy-tough-love.html

Did anyone notice the change of tone there? In December’s article about the same study, the social workers are accused directly of blaming their clients. In January’s article, the tone has softened to them “deploy(ing) tough love”. Talk about minimising the effect of the damage they do to their clients!

EDIT:

 

 

 

 

Edit: Since this friend’s placement in a temporary flat in Helsinki, I have not heard anything. I have no idea what has happened. And I have been experiencing the worst of difficulties with the same type of bureaucrats in the town I live in, so I’ve been unable to follow him up.