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Brian Wilson & Capacity

September 29, 2012

Even though Steven has been home for nearly two years now, I still get an emotional reaction when he suddenly tells me a story about his life during the year at the positive behaviour unit. The stories that choke me up often have the same theme: Steven trying to communicate something but being ignored.

I’ve written before how Steven has signature tunes or signature sayings for most people in his life. At the Mencap pool, he always greets Dave with a quick chorus of “Heartbeat”. One of the old cab drivers who used to take him to his water aerobics group would be serenaded with “I Will Do Anything For Love But I Won’t Do That”. I could give many examples of this type of communication.

This afternoon we were having a music session and I played “Sloop John B” by The Beach Boys. It turned out that whenever one of the male workers at the unit was on shift, Steven would greet him with: “I feel so broke up. I want to go home”. Steven calls this his “Brian Wilson singing to Keith” (names have been changed to protect the guilty!)

Of course, it had long been decided by the professionals that Steven lacked capacity to decide where he should live but as the IMCA pointed out, that doesn’t stop him having and expressing an opinion, or stating his wish. I’ve read the reports – if this sort of communication was acknowledged at all, which it rarely was, it was dismissed as an example of Steven’s “repetitive speech patterns”.

I’m pretty sure that the hundreds of logs I received logging Steven hitting out or throwing something, hid this kind of ignored communication. There was never any point in challenging it but I started to assume that at least some of the “incidents” must have followed times when he didn’t feel listened to. Needless to say, that sort of valuable information was never recorded in any of the reports.

It’s easier to play deaf.



From → Social Care

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