I didn’t realise, when I went to the progress meeting on Thursday, that discharge was a done deal, that it wasn’t up for debate. The Commissioner, a shadowy unnamed figure that sounds more like a Batman character than anything else, decided that it was time, 2son should leave.
Hooray, he’s cured! No. He’s leaving because he’s not making progress there, because he’s been there six months and it’s very expensive. Somehow I think the latter mattered more than anything else.
I expressed my astonishment that there is nothing in between a mental health unit for teenagers who are at high risk of committing themselves physical harm and being supported at home. Surely there’s a need here. But no, it seems to be all or nothing.
They acknowledged that they hadn’t really got 2son talking, that he avoided the emotions group above all of their group therapies and that when he did attend any of the group therapies he said as little as possible. They seem convinced that getting back into school and the real world is much more important than talking about it, a sentiment I’m reluctant to share.
The ASD diagnosis seems an optional extra. They’ve decided on the diagnosis but we don’t have to talk about it if I don’t want to. It’s important to treat the patient, not the symptoms.
An EP (educational psychologist) turned up from the borough, as part of the statementing process. He observed. He or one of his colleagues will turn up to CATE to assess 2son as part of the whole process. But no decisions will be made until the end of October as to what 2son’s educational needs are and how they can best be met. He did point out to 2son that education was a legal requirement. Oh look, he’s been breaking the law for 3 years and you’ve only just noticed.
Social Services proved the most useful, with the social worker bringing along her line manager, offering a Protected Child Case Conference which in effect means that they can draw on hitherto unavailable resources. These will start off at providing transport to and from CATE or CAMHS and possibly providing someone to come to the house and help 2son with morning/evening routine. Other help could be provided as needed. Although he doesn’t actually need help in getting to CATE unaided (or hasn’t so far), actually having another person to share the responsibility will help. Having a stranger turn up to take him to school might well help encourage him to go.
They’re forced to offer a contingency plan in the paperwork. This consists of the out of hours telephone number for CAMHS and social services. What a plan!
So that was Thursday morning. As I wasn’t expecting to have to take 2son home straight after the CPA he stayed in overnight, which gave him the opportunity to say his goodbyes to the other patients. I picked him up, took him straight to CAMHS and onwards to CATE.
We had a good meeting with the family therapist and set up 4 weekly sessions. We talked about what’s going to work, help, hinder 2son and the fact that if he doesn’t get off his arse of a morning and go to CATE then we might have to repeat the whole process of removing him to the unit etc. He doesn’t want to go back but I’m not sure he’s ready to move forward. I then took him to CATE (which stand for Continued Access to Education) in time for him to meet his fellow students for lunch and take part in the afternoon sessions. They are truly lovely and 2son can do well there if he so chooses.
He’s supposed to be in Year 10 and this adds further pressure. He can certainly get half a dozen GCSEs at CATE but he’s got to start now if he doesn’t want to mess that timetable up. Once he hits 16 the provision of education becomes very different, as does the support and it all gets so much more complicated. Now is the time.
What about me? I sat at the CPA meeting listening to talks of discharge and got shit-scared. No other word for it. I thought to myself that I am now responsible for trying to get him to bed every night at a reasonable time so he can get up in the morning (he managed to get up on Saturday ten minutes before midday). If I don’t get him off to CATE at the appropriate time then that means my morning will be taken up with trying to get him up and out, with not just that time taking away from my plans but the stress just goes up and up when I’m trying to get him up.
Whether social services really will be able to offer practical help in getting him up remains to be seen. In the meantime, it all goes back to being down to me and 2son.
Scared? I’m bloody petrified at what this week might bring.
P.S. I’ve just noticed this is my 200th post. And it’s not about me. Typical.