I haven't blogged for a while. Sorry, but there have been family matters to resolve.
Firstly we had to take Son 2 to see a neurologist and the appointment came through more quickly than we had expected. He has been started on a small dose of some medication so we are having to monitor him for changes and possible side effects.
On Tuesday I had to attend a meeting with Son 2's social worker and the lady from Connexions (the careers service) who deals with special needs in our area. It was a meeting to kick off the planning for his transfer to adult services for continuing education and residential care. Despite my best efforts, I went into the meeting feeling rather unprepared, having failed to find out some of the information I needed, however the meeting actually went fairly well. I don't think there was much disagreement about what he actually needs, but I am under no illusion that this is going to be easy and we have to start looking at what will realistically be available to him when he leaves school at 19. But with such savage cuts, and services which are budget-led, who can predict anything?
Then I came home to face the BBC Panorama programme about the abuse of young adults with severe learning difficulties in a specialist care facility in Bristol. I didn't actually watch it, I couldn't, as even what I'd read in advance made me feel sick to the stomach. The media reports, including this in the Daily Mail by the BBC undercover reporter, were more than enough for me.
I'm glad the abuse was exposed and I hope that the programme will lead to improvements in standards in both the inspection procedures and rogue care facilities such as that one. But I think it's also important to hang on to the fact that not all care homes are like that and Casdok has written a very good blog post about the response to Panorama from her own son's care home. As parents and carers we have a huge responsibility to search out the best for our children and to monitor it for as long as we are able, because it's possible that nobody else will give them a voice unless they are in one of the good care homes such as that one.
But when we can no longer do that, then what?
PS And while I'm on the subject of the Panorama expose, you might like to conside signing the petition the National Autistic Society has set up in the aftermath. You can find it here.