So today, only 3 years and 2 months after our initial referral, social work finally completed their assessment of our support needs.  (I am being unfair.  It took 8 months for the referral to be picked up and only the last 8 months were spent actually assessing us.  What the purpose was of the many visits during the remaining time only the social worker can know.)

The Depute Head at R’s school has said on a number of occasions that he thought the lengthy delay was most likely due to the perception that we were coping. It strikes me that social work must set this threshold far higher than most reasonable people would.  Weeping at meetings and sobbing on the phone are apparently the markers of a coping mother.  I have no memory of behaving like this before Rett (perhaps I am of unusually robust character and most people do this all the time).

The social worker was noncommittal with regard to how long it would now take for the recommendations to be considered and the decision to be conveyed but she indicated that she had discussed our needs with her manager. She seemed (I think) to be optimistic that we would be offered a package to address both R’s needs – to access social activities – and our need to access respite.  She discussed with R and me how respite would work.  I explained to R that it would be a bit like Brownie camp or a sleepover.  Which it is.  But I feel so guilty.  We need the break.  The guarantee of a good night’s sleep, if only twice a month, would benefit G and I enormously. There would be a knock-on benefit for the children. I hope that we would be a bit less grumpy and we would be able to spend some time with F and EB.  At 8 and 1/2, R might well have been going to her first sleepover about now (Or not.  I hate sleepovers.  There is never nearly enough sleeping.) She will probably have a lot of fun. Still, today’s news doesn’t feel like success.  It feels a lot like an admission of failure.  And I so wish that we didn’t need this as much as we do.


One thought on “Respite

  1. Maybe you need to send the other two on sleepovers at the same time and pretend you’re being like (some) couples who have completely child-free time now and then. I know several parents who have child-free nights regularly (children with the grandparents or on sleepovers with friends) and they don’t seem to feel guilty at all. In fact, I sometimes get the impression that people see our lives as a little odd because we have never done that! Quite a few parents seem to need respite from their children, even if the children don’t have any health or ability problems. One couple I know pays for an overnight babysitter so they can away for the weekend without the children, and they appear to be very loving and attentive parents to the children, they just need to have some adult time sometimes. I guess you’ll probably feel guilty for a bit until you can see the benefits of your nights of respite flowing through onto all of your family (including R). Fingers crossed all goes well.

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