The first thing that hit me when I began writing this harrowing story was how beautiful and carefree 17 year-old autistic Isobel appeared in the family photos.
Free as a bird, and as happy as a lark, Issy lives at home in the bosom of her family. She's well travelled and has enjoyed holidaying in places like Ireland, Majorca and Bruncana, but soon all that may change.
Issy's days with her family are numbered, and if the 'powers that be' have their way, Issy will be removed from her family home and forced into independent living. Of course we all know that independent living really means independent 'of family' living, because many of us have a son or daughter with complex physical/psychological issues who in independent living would still require 24 hour care, a far cry from independence as we know it.
It used to be court orders that detained people in long stay hospitals, now court orders are being used to detain people in independent 'of family' living.
What is going on?
Where are all the major charities?
And why aren't they screaming from the roof-tops?
Issy's story is alarming and I'm sure many of you will agree this 'right of passage' 'best interest' clause, when a vulnerable person reaches the age of 18, these days, is being bandied about a bit too often.
I will say no more about it and leave you to read Issy and her family's story.
Many thanks to you all for your constant support for these amazing warrior mums. Your regular comments and tweets are so appreciated.
"The clock is ticking, and
|Issy on family holiday in Majorca|
“Issy’s birthdays were always tinged with sadness, no discos, no boyfriends, no exams, more judgement, but her eighteenth on the 17 th December will be the saddest.
As soon as that day dawns we can no longer legally make any decisions for her- even ring the doctor or dentist. All our parental rights disappear overnight.”
Read this and Weep!
It was a cold December night, the delivery room’s huge bowed frosted window reminiscent of an artic voyage.
After a normal delivery Isabel arrived, happy, healthy and just under 8 pounds, all was well with the world. Her hair was golden, soft and downy. Her eyes, huge and black. She breast feed quickly, and then lay contented on my shoulder.
Her University nursery, mysteriously talked of ‘these types of children’, a child psychologist diagnosed a specific language disorder.
A week before she was to start school Isabel sat a battery of tests, at the Sheffield’s Children’s hospital, the assessors robotic question, ’What is wrong with the picture?’ remaining unchanged, despite Isabel’s obvious confusion, until I eventually rephrased it after several pictures, to, ‘What is missing from?’, wondering at the competency of the expert, and the validity of the assessment.
At 7 Isabel could write anything, if you spelt it phonetically, and wrote little notes to her class mates, thanking them for being nice to her, or playing with her, the children were very good to her, but sadly not the parents, the vocal minority resented a special needs child, and reminded me in a very nice way,’ this is not a special needs school’.
And so commenced Isabel’s scholastic decline, she went from SATs to P Scales, and regressed, despite more and more money being ploughed into her ‘education’. Such is the scandal of our ‘special needs’ provision.
I complained to CAMHS, we had a meeting with a manager. Within two weeks without notice, or even inkling from social services, their last email was to arrange a meeting to discuss future education, as I had found and been in touch with the head of a National Autistic School nearby, we received a court application for a care supervision order, and were summoned to appear before the Magistrates Court within 48 hours. My request for more time as we didn’t have a solicitor was denied, so we rang a solicitor named on the list provided with the Summons and she said she would meet us at court.
We stood huddled in groups in the court foyer, the social services solicitor and social worker, the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFASS) guardian and her solicitor, and us and our solicitor. At one point so close, I remarked to our social worker,’ you could get us to court but you couldn’t get us nappies’.
Eventually some 8 months after Isabel started soiling herself after our one and only overnight respite, we arrived at the clinic to investigate bowel problem. Isabel was a star, the terror of ketamine and inpatient attendance was avoided, and we were shown the scan, faeces could be seen almost to her chest. I could only guess at the pain and discomfort this must have caused her. How brave was she, and how appalling were those statutorily charged with providing for her.
My last glimpse of 10 year-old Issy was from our car as we drove off. I strained to see if she was happy on the swing.
Part Two - Finola's blog
Isabel. And the horror of her Future 'Care'
Isabel is Isabel.
|Issy on family holiday in Bruncana|
|Issy with her Dad|
M. Finola, thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm so sorry you've had all this heartache and stress. I ask everybody reading this story to please please share on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the links in the blue box below. It's a cautionary tale that affects all of us!
To read Finola's blog - http://finolamoss.wordpress.com/
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v ML
@copyright No part of this blog can be printed without the author's permission