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Archive for August, 2009

Respite

I went horse riding today. In the middle of the summer holidays. This would have been impossible until this year when we finally have a good respite package set up. Accessing respite is not particularly easy, but can be essential. We struck gold this year when our new social worker turned out to be a bit of a gem and we now have what I would consider to be a fair package in place.

It is worth bearing in mind when you approach social services, that if you become unable to cope it will cost your local authority a lot of money to provide care for your child. A residential school placement for a severely autistic child costs in excess of £200 000 a year. So don’t feel guilty when putting in that request.

The rules surrounding access to respite are not always straightforward and can be less than transparent. Contact a Family provide a good introduction. Do note that as well as being entitled to ask for an assessment for your child you can ask for an assessment for yourself. When dealing with children social services are in the main a child protection agency, so sometimes you can access more help if you talk about the problems you, rather than your child is having. Controversial perhaps, and of course it shouldn’t be like that but ultimately the truth. Like anything involving social services it can take a while for the assessments to be processed.

I’ve written before about direct payments and these are accessed in the same way. We now receive a mixture of direct payments and centre based services.

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