Not Understanding Autism (Part 814)
This makes me a bit sad. Not shocked. Not angry. Just an ache in my gut.
A quick recap. Late on Monday afternoon I picked up the keys for Steven’s new house. On Tuesday, we took him to see his new home. When we first viewed the place the Wednesday before last, as well as the manager from the housing association, there were also a man from Hillingdon’s housing department and Steven’s social worker. They saw the condition the house was in and heard me talk about decorating it, so it will look great for when Steven moves in.
On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from one of the adult social care team. The main gist of the email was reminding me that they had to carry out Steven’s FACS assessment very shortly. However, the email started with the sentence: “I trust the move went well yesterday and Steven has settled into his new home”.
Now, I know this was probably a pleasantry that hadn’t been given any thought at all. But it made my heart sink. How on earth could she have considered it possible that we would have moved into the property less than 24 hours after getting the key? Packing? Removals? Utilities? Decorating? Autism?
I’ve never read Hillingdon’s autism policy – I’m not sure they’ve even got one. But anyone with even a sprinkling of autism knowledge would know that it might not be a good idea to uproot someone with autism from their home, even if the destination is a good one. Preparation (as the positive behaviour unit always used to proclaim) is the key to keeping an autistic person’s anxiety levels low. Nice and easy , at a pace that Steven can manage.
The despairing feeling compounded on Thursday, as I spent most of the day phoning the different companies to notify them of the move. They all got it. The man from the electricity board understood that having a key meter is not the best idea for someone with autism and fixed a time to change the meter over before we move in. My broadband supplier understood that for an autistic person to break their Friday Youtube routine was dodgy and we’ll have broadband live, the day before we move in. The man who sorted out the contents insurance’s wife is a child minder and has two autistic kids in her care. We chatted for about 10 minutes about he need for routine.
They all got it. How can the agency that you’d most expect to understand autism (the social care department), should be the one that demonstrates the least understanding.
That strikes me as very sad.
From → Social Care