Sunday, 1 November 2009

Modern Times

I have a sister.

She is a sensible, well educated woman who had a career but gave it up due to her love for her youngest child.

This child had always been 'unique' as a small child and my sister had thought there may be 'something' amiss. The way the child reacted to people, the obsessive behaviour and determinedly controlling nature, the little ways that seemed at odds with what might be considered 'normal' even allowing for every individual's eccentricities.

Time moved on and by the age of 7/8 my sister requested an educational psychology report be carried out by her local education department due to her concerns for her child.

Nothing was done.

Time moved on.

Now, at nearly the age of 15 and having been absent from education for virtually a year now, those who are best placed to help this child find a place in the world have done nothing and are in the process of returning the child to its mother's primary care.

For the past 10 months the child has been in the care of an extremely celebrated private 'Facility'.

Sectioned in order to be sent to one of their establishments, the child was diagnosed as suffering from an extreme form of Asperger's Syndrome. My sister had already advised the medical profession that this was her belief.  Prior to admission, the child had lived in their room for the previous four months; attacked and verbally abused their mother who was attempting to get help for her child. Initial visits by social services, originally intended to consider supporting her at home, resulted in the forced move to the Facility.

As you may know, this condition presents itself as obsessive compulsive behaviour added to an chronic inability to relate to other people. Especially those in authority.

Following admission and subsequent de-sectioning, the child's condition was such that re-sectionioning was required. I have been lead to understand that this action is very rare, so indicates this child has very severe needs. They have since come off 'section'.

The main reason for the history is to explain my current amazement and anger at what is ostensibly perceived to be a Facility designed to assist people who suffer the way the child does has done nothing for them other than to NAME the condition. It has apparently, only half-heartedly attempted to help them deal with the condition. In fact, for the past several months all it has done is provide bed & board.

For a 'caring' facility, I have nothing but contempt for the complete lack of any organised or systematic attempts to HELP this child acknowledge or deal with their condition. It now appears to be want to return the child to exactly the situation that existed prior to the admission on the basis that it can do nothing for them.

The child has very vehemently stated that they are not prepared to return to the care of my sister, who is perceived as the cause of their current predicament. The father chose to buy a one bed flat many years ago - so, although living with him that is the child's preferred option this would appear to be impractical.

My sister is now faced with a situation where that Facility wants the child gone; the local social services department wants the child gone due to the expense; the mother will now, potentially, have to deal with a child who hates them and has threatened to accuse her partner of abuse, and worse, should they be forced to return to that home.

It seems to me, from a distance away geographically and judging only from reports from my sister, that there is no practical, long term help for people in similar situations. Yes there are doctors, psychologists, social workers and educationalists but none of these diverse but vital functions are joined-up in an shape or form. Each does its little bit and 'passes the buck' to another.

If children and young adults similarly afflicted are to survive then please let these services designed to help people ACTUALLY HELP them.

The ideal situation for this child is some form of secure, boarded educational establishment but instead of investigating this option, the Powers That Be seem to think returning the child to her mother, expect her to return to ordinary state education is an acceptable option. Anyone with a modicum of wit can realise that, should the child be forced to return home, both the families and the child's situation can only deteriorate.

To conclude:

I have had previous family experience of The Medical System. Based on this situation, and the previous one, my only conclusion is, should you ever need to use these services be prepared to kick, fight and bite your way to what you need. If you don't, you will be abandoned to whatever resources you have.

Time moves on.

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