help with social services being against asperger parentgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Disabled Parents Network : One Thread
I have a mild autism spectrum disorder (asperger syndrome). I have only recently got psychologist report on this. When I phoned social services and wrote to them to ask for assesment of care for me, their response was to say that I put my child in danger by being possible of doing self-harm when looking after her. They seem to have no basis for this except that I have asperger/anxiety (they claim I have depression which I was told by the psychologist I do not although I take a kind of antidepressant for anxiety). I have never harmed my daughter. I don't smoke or drink and didn't when pregnant, I don't take drugs or hit kids, I breastfeed her till 9 months old. My kid is 100% healthy she has all immunisation and is fine on developement checks, she is talking now at 18 months. I never did anything to harm her and nor did my partner. We all love my kid. I once told the community nurse that I did not like it when she cries. As far as I know, no one likes it when their kid cries. However, now they have written me a letter saying they will not assess or help me, but that I am dangerous to my kid because I can't cope if she cries and so on. What can I do? I don't know what the law says about this? Can they take my kid away just because I don't like it when she cries? Don't they need to prove that she is going to be harmed (which she isn't)? Is there any way I can get help for my disability without them saying my kid is in danger?
-- Anonymous, May 17, 2003
Thought you might find the following site/contact useful: www.hi2u.org It is for people with hidden impairments, and offers a lot of support on ADHD, etc, and support for parents too. I have let Andy, the site owner know about your mail to this site also in case he can offer you further support.
-- Anonymous, May 21, 2003
I'm Andy, and I am a disabled parent with multiple impairments that include autism spectrum disorders. I understand what it is like when professionals start suggesting that due to one's medical conditions they don't think I have the capability of looking after my son. Anyway Chris my son is now 15 years old he has ADHD and high functioning autism. I think I've done a pretty good job looking after him. He loves drawing cartoons and won many competitions at a very early age. He also has got some paid work for his drawing skills and has had drawings published in the disability now National newspaper. So I'm very proud of him.
So I think its a shame that professionals have automatically suggested concerns about your ability to parent your child. I know many parents with autism spectrum disorders including some who self- harm and they seem to be doing a great job looking after their children. I say this because you mentioned social services saying you self-harm but I'm not sure if you are saying you self-harm or social services think you may.
Its so easy for members of society to stereotype bad images towards disabled parents and equally society stereotypes bad images towards people who self-harm. I believe you have to be positive and highlight your great skills to those people who think differently. Maybe like for many other disabled parents we have to say to our selves I'm a great disabled parent I'm going to prove those professionals wrong and show them what a great parent I am. If you have that sort of attitude it becomes much harder for professionals to think other wise. If you live in the UK you may be eligible for disability living allowance. If you would like I could start asking around mums I know who have similar difficulties to yourself to see if they can offer you any support or information that could be useful. I apologise if I've made any mistakes I use voice recognition software due to my dyslexia.
Anyway I must finish its been a long day and I'm tired. However I really wish you every success in parenting your child and showing those professionals what a great mum you are and I hope you get the support you need.
With best wishes, Andy www.hi2u.org
-- Anonymous, May 21, 2003
Dear Gaynor Your letter tells a very similar story to those of mothers and fathers I have met over the last twelve years. My work as a researcher has taken me into the lives of over a 100 parents who have learning difficulties and Tim Booth and I have set up a website to hopefully help these parents get better support from the health and social services. You may like to read it yourself but DO tell your social worker and community nurse about it.
I hope you get the assessment you are entitled to.
best wishes Wendy Booth Senior Research Fellow University of Sheffield.
-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003
I also have AS and I have two children (4 and 10 months). I have also had people assume I am potentially a risk to my children and incapable of being a responsible parent. I have virtually had to prove my competence as a parent. The person I found most helpful in defending me was my health visitor - if you are on good terms with yours I would suggest asking her to send a report to social services saying she has no concerns.
The process of removing children from their parents is generally long and complicated. If they have concerns social services should do an assessment of your child and you should have an opportunity to talk to them face to face and provide reports from other people. Volunteers can also be useful in backing you up - I have found homestart (ask health visitor or look for website) helpful.
As far as help for you is concerned. Adult social services MUST assess you if you ask them to (write a letter). Your local Advocacy service should be able to provide someone who will help, advise, and BE ON YOUR SIDE (very important qualification) - try the phone book or website for contacting them. Please feel free to contact me directly for support/advice. I don't know any other AS parents and would be delighted to know one ! Good luck to you and your daughter. By the way I also find my children's crying hard to tolerate but it doesn't make me hurt them I just respond more quickly than most parents. Oh and I have also self-harmed in the past.
-- Anonymous, September 11, 2003
Here's a site by an autistic mother with MS(multiple sclerosis). Her eldest son and her were diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome, her second son is autistic, and her husband hasn't been diagnosed but she says he's probably HFA. www.planetautism.com
-- Anonymous, February 10, 2004