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Re: [IPk] Help from Social Services

As a quiet memeber of this list (not on a pump yer but ever hopeful, so still 
here just in case) I noticed this topic. I have to reply and say that, as a 
mother of a child with autism/ADHD and another child with ADHD, we get no 
help whatsoever from social services. Any thing such as baby sitting is 
expected to be done by family/friends and is not seen by social services as a 
necessity. Even when I was ill myself after major surgery and with two 
special needs kids, although one only a baby, I got no help. In the end, I 
had to beg and plead and was allocated a home help for half an hour reach day 
to get the kids up and bathed in the morning, but I had to pay for this 
despite not working. Any care out of hours was not provided. Even people with 
severely disabled children find help in short supply. I find that, like 
diabetes, autism needs someone with experience in this area so anyone who 
does care for my kids needs to have experience. Any respite care was about 60 
miles from here, and, again, was only for children with a severe physical 
disability or severe mental problems. The onlu other alternative I was 
offered when I was ill was short term foster care, but for obvious reasons, I 
turned that down!

What I'm trying to say here, is not that this is right, but that the services 
are sadly lacking and money is, as ever, short for this area. Good luck if 
you do get any help, but don't bet on it. What we do have in this area are a 
couple of voluntary groups. One is for families with children under the age 
of 5 or 6 and is called Homestart. The idea is a volunteer with experience of 
children comes out and spends time with the kids while you do whatever you 
want, for, say, and hour a week or so. The other is called the Befriending 
service, run by the Leonard Cheshire foundation, and is for kids with a 
disability, to give them someone to spend time with on a 1-1 basis. My son 
was offered a volunteer for this and had one for a couple of years, but my 
daughter was not deemed 'disabled enough' for it so I don't know if diabetes 
would qualify. Certainly, as a person with diabetes since the age of 8, I 
have never seen myself as disabled. The latter group did offer a babysitting 
service but it did cost a small amount per hour and was at the discretion of 
the allocated volunteer. But, as ever with voluntary services, there is a 
shortage of people to help and for this reason there is no-one for my son at 
the moment. We have to rely on my parents or my in-laws to help out, but they 
are elderly and in poor health so we maybe only get out together about twice 
a year. This doesn't bother me so much now as it used to. We find other ways 
to be together. 

I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but as I say, it seems to 
be the way things work here.
Good luck..
Helen Mc 
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