LB’s been off school a week now. Unmanageable distress associated with school, which manifests itself in violent outburst (towards himself and others), has led to a kind of informal home arrest. Home where he is largely a chill pill. Home which ain’t ideal when we both have full time jobs.
School are going to try to sort out some way of him returning part time. The plan was for him to stay at school until July 2014. A ‘mental health’ referral has been made with no one involved optimistic that this will happen within 4-6 weeks. The care manager (who had discharged him after success at panel
finger nail blackboard towards the end of last year) called today to sort out some sort of interim ‘care’ for him.
“Well he can go to respite pretty much straightaway…”
“What do you mean by respite?”
“He can go to Saxon Way. Into respite. I can get the manager to call you.”
“Sorry, I don’t understand. What is it exactly?”
“Well it’s a building.”
“It’s a building with a snooker table and other stuff to do. He can stay there or maybe the staff will take him out into the community. Or if you prefer, some staff can come to your home and look after LB there. The advantage is, it’s pretty much an instant solution.”
So, after apparently huge shifts in the organisation of social care in the UK, the development of aspirational thinking around person centred care, and having spent 16 years in education, LB is consigned to a building with a snooker table. At the first hurdle.
I don’t get it. What about his future? His life? His capacity to be meaningfully productive in some way? He’s 18 years old and should be looking forward to the start of his adult life, some type of employment and everything that comes with that. Not written off and stuck in a day centre waiting for a
half arsed referral to fictional mental health support. Seriously?
I must be missing something.
Old social worker: So I think if you are hoping that LB will eventually move into supported living, he needs to get used to staying away from family…
Adult social worker: Well there’s always respite at Saxon House.
Me: Mmm.. I’m not sure he’d want to go there for respite.
OSW: Oh no. Definitely not. [laughs] He hates ‘the disableds’ does LB [laughs]. He is hilarious. You haven’t met him yet but he comes out with the funniest things. [starts crying with laughter] He sat there, looking at me last time and came out with these one liners. He is totally comical…[wipes eyes]
ASW: Well there’s always Camden. That’s run more like a hotel than a respite centre. It’s like walking into a hotel and it’s all set up like a hotel. There’s a couple of them locally and I think there’s one at the seaside. And actually, you’d be surprised how many people don’t see themselves as disabled.
Me: Wow!!! Camden sounds amazing.
OSW: Oh yes. A hotel? That sounds right up LB’s street.
ASW: Well it’s all about choice these days. You know. Personalised budgets and choices.
Me: [floats off into some imaginary space full of sunshine, fluffy dogs, support and services]
“Hey, LB. (Social care agency) rang today…”
“They said they’ve got a great holiday you can go on in the Summer. Five days at an activity centre with a few young people.”
“No Mum. I don’t want to go Mum.”
“Ahh.. it will be fab. Loads of fun and activities. You love the holidays you go on with school…”
“Who is it with Mum?”
“(Social care agency).”
“No Mum. I don’t want to go Mum.”
“It will just be misery Mum. It will just be a bucket of misery Mum.”
“Well, Sue from (social care agency) is coming round in a couple of weeks to tell us some more about it.”
“I don’t want to go Mum. It will be misery, Mum. I just like lorries Mum. Irish lorries Mum.”
“Well, let’s have a bit of a think about it when we meet up with Sue.”
“I don’t want to go Mum.”