It already appeared by 2005 that he-special-uk may be gone, as it no longer shows up in a search of Yahoo groups. Subsequent encounters with the character Fiona at politcal events in Scotland gave strong indications confirming it’s gone.
he-special-uk was a Yahoo group that worked only through email, that is advertised in the book Freaks Geeks and Asperger Syndrome as a support group for home education and school problems. That the book was never been recalled to strike out all reference to it, was an act of public medical deceit and child exploitation that reflects on every organisation that continues to have anything to do with the book.
I belonged to he-special-uk Dec 2002 to March 2003. My first contact with it was to see if its members were interested in backing or using for themselves, a political situation I had just created. The illegal failiure of all child protection authorities covering Coventry to publish by automatic right experiential evidence against the gifted children movement, gives the public a legal claim on the government, on child protection grounds, to have any personal evidence on any bad outcomes in education published by automatic right. I emailed the group moderator about this, without in fact asking to join, and found that I was encouraged to join, the message was posted to all the group members and I got a friendly response.
I had no way of knowing before joining that the membership included Jacqui Jackson. By the way, as adaptor of the Freaks and Geeks book’s content she had the dominant-sounding role in shaping it into a book, which makes it effectively co-written, though Luke has denied that Jacqui was quoted correctly in the Times of 16 Aug 2002 when she painted herself as 12/13 the author. Look it up at a decent reference library anyway, as one source to confirm the picture of co-writing.
Also a member was Isobel Brookfield, of the National Autistic Society’s national council, who had really strong anti-school views similar to mine and wanted to know more about my experiences. She wrote “I am sure the group will be sympathetic” and helped me overcome a technical problem with enabling my receipt of group emails.
This was at a time when I wasn’t yet sure I’m aspie, having not yet learned that the trait of taking all metaphorical expressions word-for-word iterally, which I don’t have, is not essential. The level of understanding in all books on AS until 2002 was that they painted this as an essential trait. But I’m also ADHD, and in terms of he-special being specifically about educational needs, ADHD was mine and justified my membership.
Members often posted abstract messages that were not to do with their own life problems, like poems or an essay from America Isobel posted satirising the nature of schools as like slave camps. I carefully followed and never exceeded the practices of other members in commenting on any issues that are abstract and not to do with people’s problems. Like on uniforms: only after one of them posted a poem that referred to skin sensitivity, did I in reply post about myself lodging with the Scottish parliament on these grounds in 2001 an assertion that uniforms are against international law on minority rights. This posting was very popular and started a good exchange of experiences. At the level of personal problems I had relevant things to say about psychiatry and court cases and parents’ difficulties at retaining permission to home educate, and a Scottish education bill then in its early stages. I seemed to be doing fine in the group and felt supported. Best was when Jacqui agreed that I should “keep persisting” in my legal claims to publish. She had shared with the group, that it had only taken her fame to even start overcoming a perception in her wider family that the Jacksons are just attention seekers. This is the unbalanced thing about a web group with one famous member and several other members belonging to the Jessica Kingsley writing establishment: any opportunity that benefitted them, they are civilly obliged to back all the group’s members’ entitlement to have.
Then, just suddenly – I went to my first meeting of a really friendly local organisation that I have belonged to ever since. At that meeting I learned that the Scottish education bill has a good feature of backing children’s own life choices against their parents’ for them, and I reported this information back to he-special. A member, Fiona, was strongly hostile to this, and was of strong view that you must never perceive parents’ choices critically in the home education movement and never approve of the state getting in the way of parents always being in control. This is not a liberal approach to home education, it is one motivated by control of children: hence it does not fit the reason why folk like Isobel are against school. However, both points of view should have been expressible in he-special. Fiona flamed against me in support of her point, by accusing my posts of being hard to understand and needing to be toned down. It is a fact, not an opinion, that my posts can’t possibly have been hard to understand or else they wouldn’t have got the intelligent lucid replies they did. So I replied that I found the accusation offensive and described how the “I don’t understand” trick is often used to silence things that folk don’t want to hear, so its use is a social wrong that must never be allowed to take root.
The moderator, June, came down on me like a ton of bricks for this, treated it as me flaming Fiona while biasedly ignoring how Fiona had treated me, and sided with Fiona’s position. “She thought she was helping you.” Fiona was the one who had broken the rule, “don’t send to others what you find hateful to receive”, so this was now a situation of group bullying. June started making horrible accusations in offlist emails: that I was usually off topic to the group’s purpose and that my answer to Fiona counted as upsetting everyone by accusing them of not caring about my experiences. No one had said any such things before – later, a member who was just leaving and whose perspective was of parenthood opening her eyes about psychiatry, wrote that hecause parents were the majority in the list I had been “the best representative of the voice of the children.”
So I could smell that June was politically hostile and constructing a way to get rid of me, so over the 2 days of this situation I usually replied to her onlist. I combined apologetic peacemaking overtures to the group for upsetting them in any way, with pointing out the injustices in June’s stance and copying for all members to see the unfair things she had written in private. Are spectrumites supposed to get everything right socially, hmmm? Isobel for one remained quite pleasant and posted a sensible answer to me about the members being “not always in tune with each other”, trying to put a closure on the situation and move on. But June on the same day emailed me claiming to have received offlist representations, and to have been in earnest discussion with the other moderators whoever they were (no evidence that they existed), and that she was expelling me.
Within 3 hours of reading this, I had emailed to every member whose email address I knew, 25 of them including Isobel and Jacqui, a notification that I was adding this experience to the content of my slow legal and political struggles over publishing. The he-special members already knew all about this. I referred to the he-special experience in the council tax appeal I was then making and won uncontested. I told the 25, who include Jacqui and Isobel, I held them responsible to leave he-special themselves and disown it or else they would be liably wronging public health, after he-special had emotionally abused an aspie and buyer of the Freaks and Geeks book to whom it had been advertised as supportive. I emailed the 25 a further 4 times with notices of my fightback’s progress, none of which were ever acknowledged. This includes by Isobel whose posting on the day of the explusion had shown she was not in favour of it, and who had been so nice to me at the beginning and legally informative, she used to work for a lawyer, about the impracticalities of fighting bad school experiences by court.
A couple of he-special members pursued a hate vendetta against me into 2 other groups, one claiming I was “booted out” – how hateful is that? – for not being a parent or home educator, when they always knew I’m not a parent and you didn’t have to be and Jacqui was not then a home educator either. Yahoo advised me to give the police a statement about this, and the police have clearly not done anything so I spoke out about that at the Sep 18 meeting of the Scottish parliament’s public Cross Party Group on ASD and the education minister’s reply led to submitting a legal statement on the experience to the education department, as part of his consultation on how to listen to children when taking needs decisions in education. At this moment it became the fault of the 25 how I had testified about them, and so any further cause to email them ended, there was now an irreparable ethical breach with them that can be followed up in the ASD scene’s contacts with government on implementing the Scottish education bill.
While I was doing this, an outstanding nutcase from he-special, called Beryl, had been working herself up into such a frenzy of hate towards me that she started sending a stream of sexually libellous hate mails to an organisation whose website I have some writing on, in which she accused me of having been expelled from twice as many web groups as she had ever in fact known me in, and mentioned nothing of a group I knew her expelled from. By this time I was a diagnosed aspie, while she was calling me a spuriously self-diagnosed one. My contact knew enough about my experience to know exactly where Beryl’s efforts to harrass her were coming from. Beryl openly and recklessly stated, in this illegal hate campaign, that she was doing it on behalf of Luke Jackson and in admiration of him! Obviously he knew nothing of Beryl’s misconduct, but it must be remarked that to admire a teenager by acting like this in his name constitutes maltreatment.
When the Jacksons were on TV in summer 2003, I wrote recorded delivery to BBC viewer and listener correspondence saying the documentary would be unbalanced unless they publicly exposed my experience, as the bad hidden underside of the Jacksons’ publicity machine. I also consider it child exploitation that the BBC ignored this, and I put this too into the parliamentary process so that it is on record that the BBC violated the workings of the Scottish legislative process by this. The documentary told the country Jacqui is mega university qualified in sociology of conflict resolution! The he-special experience, not told to the country, shows this is a joke. She looked the other way while an aspie was backstabbed.
All this shows Luke Jackson was the front face of a ruthless adult publicity machine and the adults who claim to admire him care nothing for the ideas he expressed on social peace, and don’t follow them in practice. They want to continue behaving in ways that are totally against that and abusing his readers. Mind, he has a responsibility to object to this if his social peace ideas are to be genuine. [[ News 8 July 2004: his renouncing of his former opposition to homework, absurdly just because a sister had a good “processing” experience she could have had identically with work done voluntarily, let down all his admirers. This makes the Jackson literature just fickle and not to be relied on, doesn’t it?]]
The education bill was passed by the Scottish parliament on April 1 (I know, but it was) and it includes the policy on consulting children in decisions, that I and my friendly contact wanted and my persecutors in he-special did not want.
13 Apr 2004
[[ News- Aug 2, Daily Telegraph, sourced from Parents Against Injustice “The parents of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome fear adoption after being accused of neglecting him by not sending him to school – they say he can’t cope.” Answer that, disgusting wishful thinkers like Beryl – these are the parents in the front line of oppression who he-special let down. What do you expect happens to these kids’ chance to become child authors? ]]