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Two Way Family Favourites

February 3, 2018

An unexpected thing happened yesterday whilst I was delivering the Get Steven Home story at an MCA conference in Herefordshire. It tickled me at the time and you’re allowed a little chuckle if you like.

It was a really appreciative audience. Having told the story at these sort of events many times now, I know the parts of the story that are likely to get a reaction from the audience. They laugh when I tell the Robbie Williams story. There are gasps when I tell them about the action points at the end of the minutes of the multi disciplinary team meeting (Action point 3 – Mr Neary must not be told about our plans). Sometimes some people cry when I tell them I vomited on the floor after receiving the “We’re never going to allow Steven to come home” letter.

Anyway I told the story and at the end, as is customary, I took questions from the floor. One guy in the audience had heard me tell the story twice before. He put his hand up and said, “Mark – can I ask you to tell the ‘Logs’ story?”

I’m taking requests now!

I feel like I’m on a greatest hits tour and the Logs story is side one, track 5.

It reminded me of the story that Rick Astley told on Parkinson one Saturday night. He was doing a two hour concert (with interval). He had just completed the second song of his set when someone in the audience yelled out: “Oi Rick. When are you going to give us Never Gonna Give You Up”.

So for my encore tonight, if you’ve never heard the Logs story, here it is:

For about 18 months after Steven came home, the MDT were still involved and expected me to keep the same sort of intense, detailed logs that had been kept at the positive behaviour unit. On our dining room table we had four large lever arch folders. One had over 200 pages of risk assessments and risk management plans, all drawn up during Steven’s time away. The second was a food diary. It was incredibly repetitive. Steven has the same breakfast every Monday to Friday, so this folder held over 400 pages that all said, “Steven had apples, pears, bananas and grapes for breakfast today”. The third folder was the “daily reporting log” and consisted of all the things Steven had done during that day. One of my favourites was: “Steven and his father enjoyed positive interaction this afternoon over a social activity”. In translation this was Steven and I watching the Basil the Rat episode of Fawlty Towers and acting out the “Let’s have a little Basil hunt scene”. The fourth folder was the one the MDT were particularly interested in and was ominously titled the “Incident Log”. It was thinner than the rest but I was still expected to take this log to a monthly meeting for the psychologist and the PBS manager to pour over and suggest things that we could have done differently to prevent the “incident”.

After 18 months of this intense scrutiny I started to get pissed off with the logs cluttering up the living room and put three of them in one of the kitchen cupboards. The only one left on the table was the the risk management bible.

One day I came home from work at lunchtime. Steven and the support workers were out and whilst doing some tidying up I noticed that the folder wasn’t on the table. This was when we lived in the “Uxbridge house” and it was a first floor flat with a balcony. Steven and the workers eventually returned and when I asked them where the folder was they all looked  a bit sheepish. One of them admitted that Steven had a meltdown earlier. The balcony windows were open and Steven picked up the folder and flung it off the balcony. One of the workers went out to collect its contents as they blew along Uxbridge High Street.

I panicked. I had one of the MDT meetings two days later and they expected me to take the log along with me. What story could I make up to explain its absence? In the end I decided to tell the truth and use the “incident” as a springboard to a discussion about stopping the invasive logging. There were lots of grave murmurs and the psychologist eventually gave her summing up:

“It’s a shame that we didn’t have a risk assessment for the risk management folder”.

She wasn’t joking.

That was the time to stop logging our lives.


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One Comment
  1. I know the feelings about ‘the logs’ as I’ve had 10 and half years of it because they keep my son on a 117…just as a threat of a return. Just asked them to ‘remove it’ now as only one professional is bothering to be involved for the past yr. The rest remain ‘on standby’ doing nothing yr in and yr out.other than attending fruitless ‘meetings’ which have all stopped as well.

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