Here’s a photo I love of LB at his last but one residential school trip in Devon. The one before last week when he had to be collected at a halfway point on the motorway, half way through the week. Because he was distressed, anxious and lashing out at a staff member.
I’m not sure if I’m posting this photo to hold onto his obvious enjoyment/happiness during the trip, facilitated by school staff who consistently push the boundaries with the kids, or whether I’m posting it as a record of transition (which I’m increasingly interpreting as a steady descent) into ‘adult services’. It’s probably a mangled combination of both.
I don’t understand how we allow (stop? prevent?) this descent. This change from a reasonably happy dude to someone who finds themselves at odds with life. The circumstances around LB’s current anxieties are, at the same time, specific, random and seemingly ‘irrational’. So difficult to understand and make sense of.
Lashing out at people, and demonstrating intense upset is hugely upsetting for everyone involved. It’s happened sporadically (but memorably) in the past, but it’s uncharacteristic for LB to be so consistently unhappy. He’s pretty much had a much loved role in our family. He’s happily bypassed years of bickering, fights, wanting to win, score, or just be heard. He’s always occupied his own space, peppered with youtube and Eddie Stobart (and, thankfully in the past, Keane). For the last couple of months, he’s been unreachable, different, anxious, unpredictable and unhappy. And fucking irritating.
I was kind of pleased the GP today resisted referring LB to mental health services. He said it was medicalising a problem that wasn’t medical. I agree with that. And appreciate his refreshing approach.
But how do we stop the descent. How we get the happy surfer dude back? And who will help. It shouldn’t be like this.
This is the bit where I could bang on about coping strategies and other things, but I don’t think that’d help much. What you need for LB is proof that he’s going to be ok and sometimes that can take months to achieve, because words and platitudes are no substitute for experience. Do you have any support lined up when he finishes college?
Short answer, no. Plans but bit of a fog at the mo..
It’s a maze. Start making a nuisance of yourself. Get on to LB’s adult service social worker. Insist he or she liaises with the college. Pester the adult services team for a list of service providers, so you can start to ask around about reputation and suitability (try and get one that specializes in learning disability). Don’t be fobbed off with only one company. Check out the local college facilities and if you find one that may be suitable then get his name down as soon as you can. Apologies in advance if you’re already doing all of the above. I’ve worked with a few of guys during their transition over the years and am doing so now. Some of the circumstances are different, however in 2 cases the families managed to get support while the guys were at home for the holidays in their last year which helped the process.
Thanks Carl, very useful advice. Will arm myself with some serious pester power 🙂
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