This week we are sharing a series of blog posts written by author and mother, Viki Ainsworth, who shares her experience of her daughter Tilly’s transition from children’s services to adult’s services. This is part 4, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here and part 5 here.
Stay tuned on our community Facebook page and Twitter account for each daily blog over the next week. You can also listen to a podcast on this topic recorded with Viki here>
We were edging closer to the end of our days in education and I was badgering everyone I knew with any knowledge at all of what services existed as options for Tilly. We didn’t really want to go residential, although not completely against the idea. We had a good respite package in place and I hadn’t done enough research into residential options… plus I had heard it was incredibly hard to get funding. So it was looking like community services or somewhere with a base that she could go to.
These options are becoming less and less as day care centres are being closed down in our area, the reasoning being that young people like my daughter should be having a ‘normal’ life out in the community. That’s a noble sentiment and I really do want us to live in a society where my daughter can go out and about doing regular young adult things without being stared at or complained about. But she does get exhausted and, as she is nonverbal and unable to articulate her needs and feelings, can then display behaviour that challenges in her efforts to communicate. So being out all day can be too much for her.
I eventually heard about a local company called The Inclusion Project, which was quite new and working with young adults with learning disabilities. The caveat was whether they had qualified to work one to one with individuals who had personal care needs. Still, it sounded hopeful and I emailed the Founder of the company explaining who Tilly was and what her needs were. Within minutes I had a reply to say that Tilly was exactly the sort of person they’d set the company up for and that they were able to offer one to one with personal care.
As we set up meetings for us all to get to know one another and got things in motion, it became clear that a lot of Tilly’s friends were already accessing this facility. Plus a lot of the group leaders knew her as well – this happens a lot, everyone seems to know Tilly! It was such a joy. We could choose her activities, some wouldn’t suit her or she wouldn’t be able to access, while others were ideal. Yes, it was out in the community, which was great, but there were also social clubs they went to where Tilly could just sit and relax if she was tired.
Her local Mencap provision were also happy to have Tilly for more days so I put together a proposal for county that Tilly do three days with the Inclusion Project and two with Mencap.
Next battle – finance.
Tune into the blog tomorrow to read about the process Vikki went through to ensure they could access the finance needed to support Tilly’s transition into this provision.