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.