• Barbara

New Year, New Challenges

So a new year is upon us, and I can’t help wondering what 2019 will bring us. One thing I know for sure, is that it will be a year of change, my daughter turns 18 in March and so will transfer into the world of adulthood, she will no longer be in receipt of services provided by children’s services, be that social or health. As parents we will no longer be in the position of decision makers, but become decision enablers, supporting our daughter to make decisions for herself and where necessary, advocating for her. Although we have, as parents, tried to take a step back in recent years, this change will be a challenge for us all.

We have found ourselves in the past 6 months or so with one foot in children’s services and one in adult. This has given us some insight into what adult life will be like and how our role will change. It has given us an opportunity to think about how we can support our daughter, it has made us realise that we no longer have the main say in what support our daughter needs and how those needs are best met. Difficult and challenging discussions will need to happen, as we look at capacity. I’ve ordered the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice so that I can ensure any capacity assessments are completed in the way the should be, i.e. decision specific and timely.

We are sad to say goodbye to the support of children’s services, I’m not sure how much of that is fear of unknown, rather than the quality of the service offered. There is some comfort in knowing your way around local provision, health, social or education. It makes challenging decisions or putting a good case together easier.

As we embark on this ‘journey’ into adult services we will need to get to know a whole new system, service and most importantly, professionals. We have already met the ‘adult’ social worker, and some specialists at the hospital, but there are still some to come. The anxiety of the new and unknown is one that creeps upon you when you least expect it. I wonder if these services and professionals will make reasonable adjustments, so my daughter can access services and participate as fully as possible in consultations and decision making.

The drag at the moment is the repeating of perceived needs, the family situation, my daughter’s wishes and plans for the future. There appears to be little joined up working between services, it is usually a referral letter, or some such, but no specific handover, that is personal and person centred.

The one constant at the moment is school. Education remains the same, for the time being, but as the year progresses, this hopefully will also change.

Although I have talked about anxiety, the steps into the unknown, the drag of repeating oneself, I am also looking forward to this new year, 2019. It will hopefully bring to fruition the hard work, planning and discussions that we have made on our daughter’s behalf. I hope that we can sit back (for a few days at least), and enjoy the young adult my daughter has grown up to be. I hope we can see her move on to do the things she wants to, as independently as possible, with the right support and at the right time, offered by the right person or organisation, and that she has the ability and confidence to say what she wants and is able to ask and plan for that thing, whatever it may be, to happen.


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