almost four years worth of research. No, it was not a computer glitch. It was a human decision - not mine.
I will not bore you with the details but it involved monitoring the communication skills of a number of children who do not speak. I have been working closely with their parents and their parents are devastated. The children are confused and frightened.
It is not even a "cut in funding". We could understand that - if there had been any funding in the first place. There was not. It was precisely because there was no funding that the project and my research was set up.
I have not yet been officially informed of the "policy change" but the parents were informed on Friday. The children's means of communication were removed during the day - without warning. The research material was apparently removed from the files at the same time. When I tried to access the online material over the weekend it was "unavailable".
The children have been given an alternative means of communication but it will take months, perhaps years, for them to learn to use it. The parents have apparently been told that this is a "much better" way of doing things. It will make their children "more like everyone else".
As one of the fathers in the group said to me, "But our kid is not like everyone else and he never will be."
I am not sure the other parents would say that quite so bluntly but they have all faced the fact that their beloved child is not going to be able to speak and will always have limited communication skills.
At very least, if there had to be a "policy change", the parents should have been involved. I do not expect those responsible would have involved me. They have never been happy about the project. It never involved the state of the art technology that they seem to think is so important. We were working on almost the oldest technology of all - paper, pictures, pens and pencils. It worked.
I am waiting to be informed about the decision. I expect that, unlike the children and their parents, those responsible will be unable to communicate.
And yes, I am angry - very angry.