I’m struggling with the vocabulary for this post. As Steven and I approach our tenth year of being trapped in adult social care, I find I can’t use normal, everyday words anymore that have been purloined by Planet social care.
This post is meant to be a celebratory piece about Steven’s growing independence. But I can’t use that word anymore. Independence. It’s become mangled. I know this is rather precious of me but I can’t bear things that are important to Steven being passed through that dishonest, self serving social care filter. I now work on the basic operating principle that the more the social care world trumpet a particular word, the more likely you are being royally shafted. Let’s face it, social care doesn’t really want its service users to be independent. That’s a hugely threatening prospect. Think of all those jobs and culture tied up with learning disabled people and their families being totally dependent on the state’s beneficence. When Steven’s professional “stakeholders” talk about independence, what they really mean is put him in a supported living flat, with minimum staff, serving the needs of as many residents as possible and syphoning the savings into creating more bureaucratic roles.
When I meet a new client now, I’m too embarrassed to say that my training was partly in the person centred model. If they’ve been within ten feet of social care, they’re likely to have a jaundiced view of person centred practice and have probably had their fingers well and truly burned.
I don’t tend to use the word “choice” anymore. That’s been corrupted. I would never claim to be “in control” of anything anymore. That’s disappeared over the cliff too. I wouldn’t dream of “enabling” or “empowering” anybody. So many words have bitten the dust.
Since my last post, “Dad Can Go”, things are accelerating fast. It’s looking like I’m only needed at the weekends and a few hours on Thursdays. Steven is doing so much processing at the moment and for that he needs his own space and time to work stuff through. He doesn’t need a multi disciplinary team to facilitate that. He doesn’t need me or the support workers either. He can do it himself, in his own way.
The other day Steven came up with the perfect illustration of what he’s working through. On Christmas Eve, Uncle Wayne popped in with little Henry. The four men, Steven, Me, Wayne and the support worker sat thoroughly entertained as Henry showed off his repertoire of forward rolls. A couple of days later, Steven wanted to check something out with me:
” Dad. Steven Neary is a man. Henry Keary is a boy? Boys do playing. Men do sensible?”
I think he’s working out, to quote Westlife, what makes a man. Some of it is coming entirely instinctively; some requires some thought. In my mind, it’s about maturity and the wisdom of age.
And that’s bloody perfect.
And it can’t be corrupted by the misappropriation of language.