Accessing the Social Care System
At 3 and a bit, Patrick was in a pram for his safety as he was a “runner”. He is a big boy and I was so grateful to find out about the “major buggy” (McLaren make it and your health visitor can apply), which allowed him to be safe and comfortable.
One Sunday, I took him to mass and he was sitting calm so I thought, “okay, I’ll park up the pram and let him sit next to me”
Fast forward to running up the aisle to the Alter, the whole mass stopping, a few “tuts” and shaking of heads, to me practically tearing my hair out and thinking “I can’t do this!”
…to a lovely man coming out to speak to me. I’m sure he was a Saint.
Well this “Saint” just happened to work for the Social Work Department, and he knew right away that Patrick had autism. He proceeded to tell me all about ‘Self-Directed Support’ (SDS) and how this can help kids like Patrick access ‘support’, to allow them to play and be part of the community in a safe way.
I won’t lie, from my first contact with the social work department, my fear was if I say, “I can’t cope”, they will take him from me. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Getting support took around two years, and many times I thought “this just isn’t worth it”.
I know families who are being refused support just now who most definitely should be accessing SDS, and to me it is soul destroying.
I am one of the lucky ones – that SDS budget has allowed Patrick to play in a safe garden, with a six-foot fence, go on outings with a PA, have one-to-one football coaching, swimming club membership… the list goes on.
I found out about Take a Break Scotland from another parent about 6 years ago. Once you’ve completed the online form with all your details, it remembers it for the forthcoming years. We applied for a short break in a hotel with a heated indoor pool which Patrick loved, the fact he loved it meant he was calmer, which in turn gave us all a lovely rest.
My best advice is to speak to ENABLE Scotland.
Get them to guide you, advocate for you and advise you on every step of the road. It’s a long road, but once you are there, and your child is using their SDS budget to make their life a little easier but primarily to allow them their fundamental right (to PLAY!) – it is worth it!
I have attached one of the best template letters I have found, which you can send to your Local Authority and keep on keeping on!
❤️ Our kids have a right to be children ❤️