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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Life's Hurdles- Please Help Me!

Sometimes it feels like this blog is a rollercoaster and I feel like I am dragging you along on all the ups and downs of my life.  Then I remember that is what I said it was likely to do way back when I began this.  My journey in all its failures and triumphs.  I think todays post probably falls into the first category.  My little one started school last month you may recall.  That in itself has been a rollercoaster but now a new bump in the road has emerged.  I am not sure if I ever told you but my children all have pretty horrific stories of origin and as a result they all tend to exhibit some pretty significant behavioural challenges. We knew that would be the case each time we applied to adopt them.  Something I will never regret.  Unfortunately I did not plan to become a social phobic, agoraphobic....whatever phobic resonates with you to describe my complete and utter inability to function on a regular basis in the world.  Who would know to plan for that?  So back to my bumpkin....he has to ride the bus.  This requires me to walk the three children down the gravel road to the neighbours...who i don't know....and stand there trying to overcome my innate desire to escape and wrangling a very strong behavioural 4 year old. I requested to have the bus stop at my home but because of the proximity to the stop at the neighbours it was declined.  How do you tackle something like this.  I understand fully the position of the transportation guru but she has no idea how big that distance is from my safe spot...my home.  How can I convey to her the depths of anxiety that I experience when I have to walk those 3 bus lengths to the stop.  How can I make her understand that those few steps are the difference between my functioning as a normal member of society or being a big shaking mass of nausea and and horror.  Not the safest situation for my child.  This is the email I sent in response to the denial of my initial request:

Accessibility for People with disabilities.
Inbox
x

Tracy Sagriff <tmsagriff@yahoo.com>
7:34 PM (17 hours ago)
to mcculloughg


Dear Gale
I was informed today that my request for a transportation change for my children was denied. 
It is a concern to me that my request was denied even though I clearly stated on the form that
 I am a person with a severe disability preventing me from continuing to take my son to a 
neighbours to catch the bus. I would have hoped that an organization responsible for the 
transportation of thousands of students daily would be more accommodating and at least 
gather more information before denying the request. Though the safety of my four year old
 as well as my safety do not seem to fall into your balance of schedule vs accessibility it is 
paramount in my mind. Ontario has laws in regards to requirements for accessibility to 
services. Now that I know the position of your company in regards to people with 
disabilities I feel the need to contact appropriate government agencies in ensuring 
your company is not able to deny help to people who require assistance. Please be 
advised that as my disability limits my ability to contact these agencies in person I may 
be required to use social media to raise awareness of the level of accessibility in your 
organization.. I would have appreciated being able to discuss this with you but I 
understand your office is very busy as it took 3 weeks to deny my request without so much
as a cursory discussion about it. I pray that you and your family is never hit by a 
disability and if you are I will pray that you are allowed more dignity than to have to walk your 
child to a bus stop trying to hold him from running into traffic while trying to overcome your 
own weaknesses.
Kindest regards
Tracy Sagriff
#InvisibleDisabilities are real, you just can't see them.
Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android





Ok so it may sound a bit harsh but I was really unwell after receiving the denial 

and I really did not know where to put that excess energy.  This was her reply:



Good Morning Mrs. Sagriff
Thank you for your email message. May I impress on you that this office did investigate
your request. We noted that the bus stop location assigned for your family is 
46 metres from the end of your driveway and along with your JK student, you also 
have two grade six students getting on and off the bus at the same location. The safety 
of all children is paramount in all the decisions made at Tri-Board Student Transportation 
Services. As stated the existing stop location is very close to your address – about three 
bus lengths away. This is too short of a distance to safely establish a second bus stop 
location.

Gail McCullough

Gail McCullough
Transportation Supervisor
(613) 354-1981 ext 325
Fax # 1-866 697-0719
mcculloughg@triboard.on.ca        

cid:image001.jpg@01CD2202.17ED7790


Thank you Gail. I am aware that the distance is quite short.  However I have a feeling that 
this very professional person has never tried to deal with children while experiencing a 
mental health meltdown. 

And finally this was my response:


Dear Gale
The distance could be 100 miles away and it would not have been any different. I am being treated for severe 
social anxiety, panic attack disorder, clinical depression and ocd. I don't know if you have much experience 
with mental health issues but in my case I am agoraphobic. My house (sometimes only my laundry room in 
the basement) is my place of safety. If I leave my home for even a few moments my brain gets overstimulated 
and produces chemicals that tell my body I am in imminent danger and kicks in what is referred to as the 
fight or flight reflex. If you can imagine trying to control a behavioural special needs child while battling this 
chemical mess in my body it is very dangerous. As for the two other children being of any assistance they 
are also special needs. You may remember me from fostering as I recall we interacted several times on 
various children's behalf. I am no longer able to foster as my mental health has deteriorated and my ability to
function outside my home has disappeared. These last three I adopted prior to getting sick. I understand your
perspective completely but it is one of those situations where you have to look beyond the mathematics and 
look at the functionality of the matter. Please talk to the bus driver or I can give you a list of 10 doctors and 
counselors that I work with to deal with this illness. I am not asking for the bus to stop here every day. Only 
when Isaiah attends school. The family next door is only riding the bus 50% of the time as they are at their
fathers the rest of the time. That means it only affects them 1/4 of the time as Isaiah goes every other day. 
Less than that even as the neighbours play hockey some mornings and are driven to school please help 
me to come up with an amicable solution to this. It may seem trivial to you but the distance is like an ocean 
to me and I am truly concerned that I am not capable of keeping Isaiah secure as it currently stands. It will 
be even worse when it is all icy and snowy but also the lack of sunshine increases the symptoms of 
depression. I am earnestly begging you to reconsider declining my request. I am not trying to be pushy or 
unkind I am just trying to function as best I can outside my home.
Thanks for your consideration of this matter.
Tracy
Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

So now I sit and wait.  My mental health and my child's safety in the hands of a 

woman that rarely looks beyond her spreadsheets to see how her decisions affect 

the rest of the world.  Where do I go now? What do I do? I am not able to advocate 

for us any further than this keyboard. I feel defeated and helpless and really just 

like giving up. If I can't even get my child safely to school in the morning how can 

I say I am making strides in my recovery.  Its all for nothing.  I need someone to 

help me. To fight on my side.  To give me a voice so that I can make the world 

hear that #InvisibleDisabilities are real and need to be taken into consideration.  

Please help me gain a voice.  If you are affected by an invisible disability either 

personally or someone in your life please help me to make the world understand.  

Would she understand that 46m is an impossible distance if I was missing my legs 

or unable to move.  Its a similar sensation when your brain decides to tell your 

body not to move.  Please email this woman and let her know how 

#InvisibleDisabilies affect your daily life. Her email address is

mcculoughg@triboard.ca. Please help me! Please share this email address with 

everyone you know that needs a voice.  We can't let people who suffer with 

Mental Health Issues be swept into silence! Tweet this message! Facebook it! 

Google + it! We need a voice. We need support.  We need to be heard. In the 

words of the great story Horton hears a Who...

"WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE!"


My thoughts and prayers are with you always! Also a special shout out to 

@StrokeDan for his encouragement and prayers last night as he tweeted me

through it all.  Thanks Dan!

Please feel free to visit the Triboard Transportation Site for more information 

about this wonder of modern efficiency