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Learning Disabilities

(29 Posts)
BrunoMartelli Mon 15-May-17 19:41:10

Regular poster but NC for this in case it's outing. We were approved nearly 18 months ago and we have recently been approached with a possible match. The LO's mum has some kind of learning disability but we are not sure of the nature of this. Documents we have seen refer to her having first mild and then moderate learning disabilities and our SW can't tell us which it is or how this manifests itself. I know that some learning disabilities are inherited, while others aren't but I'm trying to find out more about the possible implications of this for a child. Does anyone have any experience of this or can anyone suggest any useful reading?
Our SW has given us very, very little info about the birth mum and I'm finding it really frustrating that they have told us so little. Perhaps I am being unreasonable, and I understand that the birth mother has some right to privacy, but I would like to understand more about her just so that I can try and understand more about the LO and if we are the right match. I accept that all that adoptions come with uncertainty, but after recent threads, I'm starting to wonder if social workers don't have the information, or if they are just reluctant to share it with us. Any words of advice, oh MN wise ones?

Hels20 Mon 15-May-17 19:51:51

Hi Bruno

I would ask outright - in an email - whether there is info on the birth mother's learning disabilities and ask to see the court judgment deciding on the placement order. I would also try and get your SW on side and I would ask for a face to face meeting with the paediatrician who may have met the birth mother. I would ask about BM's qualifications (if any) which may give a guidance, ask if BM stayed in mainstream school, what IQ BM has (when we were in the process of adopting DS1, we read a profile of 2 girls who the LA were keen to place with us - it noted on it the IQ level of birth grandmother and birth mother - so sometimes it is there).

also - you should know how LO is meeting its development milestones.

But demand face to face meetings with Paeditrician - nothing less...

BrunoMartelli Mon 15-May-17 19:57:20

Thanks Hels, this is really useful. I have asked about milestones though LO is very young, only a few months, so they didn't have too much information.
I have said to our SW that I would want to meet the paediatrician/medical adviser but I was told that they only do this if the medical adviser deems it necessary I.e. I can't request it. I wasn't very happy with this response at the time, so I will go back and challenge it and ask again. Thank you!

Pebbles17 Mon 15-May-17 20:47:42

This sounds insane. Whilst reading my daughter's PAR, it almost felt obscene to know BM & BD's life history. Everything was spelt out for us in great detail. A meeting with the medical advisor was also standard.

It is such a shame not all LA are so forward with information. Good luck with your decision

dimples76 Mon 15-May-17 21:14:08

My son's BP's have learning disabilities but I had always felt that this was something I could cope with.

I recall when I met the medical advisor (which I think you should insist on - it is standard in my LA) she said that she did not know BPs' IQs but that it was possible for a mother with a low IQ to have a child with a high IQ and vice versa. She said in my son's case that as both BP have learning disabilities (and he was presenting with developmental delays at 13 months) it would be very unlikely for him not to have a disability.

One thing that the SW should be able to advise you is whether or not the BM had legal capacity to participate in the legal proceedings (for the placement order). My son's BM was assessed as lacking capacity (not able to fully understand and participate in the proceedings).

My son's SW said to me unofficially that she thought his BM might have FASD. Obviously if the difficulties were caused by that then they would hereditory ..but on the other hand why was her BM abusing alcohol ..

So many uncertainties especially with a LO so young but your questions all seem reasonable.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 16-May-17 08:30:55

My DDs' BM has learning difficulties. We knew what school she had been to so could see what type of children they took. If the SW are being too vague I would wonder what they are hiding. Ask them some straight questions perhaps by email?

LD can stay hidden for quite some time.

AD1 (8 when placed) has dyspraxia which effects her motor skills, problem solving and processing speed. It really only became evident in secondary. However she passed 8 GCSEs (with a lot of support from me) and is now just finishing college.

AD2 came to us with 'global developmental delay' and it was unclear how much of that was due to early life and how much other factors. Now at secondary (no EHCP), but she doesn't find it at all easy and is in lower sets. I suspect an English GCSE pass will escape her.

So the question is, what will you do with any extra info?

Our rule of thumb was 'needs to be able to be in mainstream school'. DD1 was already there and coping, DD2 (age 2.5) we saw a video of and there seemed to be good understanding and communication going on so we went for it.

The younger the child the more unknowns but the earlier you get them the more influence you have.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Rainatnight Tue 16-May-17 10:10:31

Yes, push for more information and go through any paperwork they give you with a fine toothed comb.

We were linked last year with a baby whose BM had 'learning difficulties and autism'. We stumbled more or less by accident on a passing mention in an assessment of her of a really challenging genetic condition. This had not been mentioned in the child's CPR.

With great regret, we passed on the link but I'm so glad we found out.

Our criterion was 'able to live independently as an adult', which BM wasn't able to.

luckylucky24 Tue 16-May-17 16:14:37

Have you been shown the CPR? This should have all info on BM and BD including their medical history. WE had an hour long phone call with the medical advisor as standard even though there were no concerns.
I would be concerned about how much they are holding back. It would make me think they had something to hide.

Pookythebear Tue 16-May-17 16:42:04

As PP have said push for as much info as you can and see where that takes you.

We got our DS at 2 months and his BM was described as having 'mild learning difficulties'. We took a chance as we knew that it was something, if inherited, we could cope with.

FWIW Our DS is now 2 years old and is meeting all milestones as he should.

BrunoMartelli Tue 16-May-17 17:11:29

Thanks everybody, for all this advice, and the good wishes.
To answer some of the questions....
We haven't been shown the CPR, but it has been read to us! I'm not quite sure why we haven't been allowed a copy, is this usual? The information in it about the BM is very vague. The language they use varies from page to page (e.g. mild learning disabilities are mentioned first, but later this changes to moderate) but there's no real detail about how they affect her, and there's nothing about school or work experiences. There is also very little about her family background only a brief description about her current life.

We are meeting our SW tomorrow so I've made a list of questions and intend to be quite firm about our need for more information. We have both felt that the SW has been very keen to 'sell' this child to us but whenever we've asked questions about the BM etc, they haven't been answered and instead, she's talked about the benefits of having such a young child. I find this hugely frustrating and don't have very much confidence in the information we're being provided. As some of you have said, it makes me wonder if something is deliberately being held from us.

On the other hand, our LA is hugely chaotic with lots of ongoing staffing problems and over the past 18 months it's been hard to get the right information from them at the right time. Perhaps the lack of information is more linked to these issues rather than deliberate obfuscation but it makes things very challenging either way.

Sanders - you asked what we will do with any extra information and this is what we have to consider very carefully. Like you, we have always said that we would like a child who is able to cope in mainstream school and then go on to live independently as an adult. However, while we are prepared to accept some uncertainty and delay, the more I have read everyone's responses today, the more I realise how uncomfortable with I am with the lack of information we've been given.

We'll talk to the SW tomorrow and see if we can get any more information. Fingers crossed....

Thanks everyone for all the advice.

tldr Tue 16-May-17 17:50:08

You should absolutely see the cpr - you're its intended audience! We were shown a brief two pager, when we said we wanted to know more we got the cpr, no question. (SW had it in her bag ready to hand over.)

If you've only been speaking by phone though, that might be why - they won't send it by email.

Maybe wait til you've seen SW before judging too harshly but remember her aim now is to get you to say yes - you don't need to (and she doesn't have to live with the consequences of you saying yes to something you didn't mean to!)

BrunoMartelli Tue 16-May-17 18:05:57

Tldr - we have met the social worker about this child before but she wouldn't give us a copy of the CPR and just read it to us instead. I thought it was odd but I started to wonder if I had misunderstood things all this time and only got a copy after matching panel! This is our third social worker (four if you include the first one who did the initial interview) and the last one did show us a CPR about another child but I starting to wonder if she'd done it unofficially and we weren't actually supposed to see it.
It's very lucky I have you all to rely on to get the right information grin

dimples76 Tue 16-May-17 18:20:25

It is v odd that you have not had CPR. I had to collect a hard copy of mine from the office due to security but as others have said it is intended to be read by prospective adopters.

Best of luck with the meeting tomorrow

tldr Tue 16-May-17 18:23:05

Then that's def wrong and weird. Question it!

Rainatnight Tue 16-May-17 19:58:10

Wrong and weird is exactly if. Best of luck tomorrow - let us know how you get on.

(And I've just clocked your username - brilliant!)

Rainatnight Tue 16-May-17 20:00:20

Exactly IT, I meant, sorry

conserveisposhforjam Tue 16-May-17 20:35:54

Our LA had a secure email system through which they could send us documents.

I think it's madness to ask you to take a child into your family and refuse a half hour meeting with a medical adviser.

Uour LA sound absolutely barmy tbh. Sorry. They READ you the CPR?? hmm

BrunoMartelli Tue 16-May-17 20:58:58

Rain - Bruno Martelli was always my favourite - I think it was the hair grin

Conserve - yes, the CPR was read to us! I'm trying to rationalise it in my mind and wonder if maybe the SW hadn't read it properly beforehand so needed to read it to us as she didn't really know the contents herself. That said, it doesn't explain why she didn't leave it for us.

DINKY2016 Wed 17-May-17 07:46:49

Until we had a linking meeting we never saw the CPRs of any children we expressed interest in where SW sent CPRs to our SW. They were always read to us.

arielmanto Wed 17-May-17 11:33:45

We did foster to adopt and everything was read to us. BM has disabilites and BF has difficulties. LO definitely has something going on but our suspicions are that it is more related to the alcohol consumption of BM whilst pregnant. I'd say that's far more likely to affect an LO's outcomes in the future than inherited disabilites (personal opinion). Best of luck!

B1rdonawire Wed 17-May-17 11:59:55

Does the LO have a placement order yet? If not, they can't give you the CPR - my SW read out edited sections to me in a farcical meeting. In due course when the placement order was granted, they gave me the CPR and other docs to read and keep to make a formal decision about proceeding.

YY to meeting the medical advisor - so important, and if you're lucky they will have known the child for quite some time, so be able to share their observations and expectations too.

tldr Wed 17-May-17 12:40:38

Hmm, we saw CPR before placement order was granted....

B1rdonawire Wed 17-May-17 12:54:29

shock SWs making the rules up as they go along??? shock grin

tldr Wed 17-May-17 14:20:18

Sounds it!

BrunoMartelli Mon 22-May-17 18:56:14

Sorry for not posting with an update sooner but things have been mad at work and I had to work all weekend.
We met with our SW last week and after emailing in advance saying that we'd like to see the CPR, she brought it with her. However, it's very brief and there's not very much detail at all about the BM. It says that we went to a 'special school' and has moderate learning difficulties but not much more than this. We have seen a CPR before and the last one was really detailed but this one is quite the opposite and there are only 3 short paragraphs about her life. Our SW agrees that we need more info so we've given her a huge list of questions to try and find answers to before we meet the LO's SW.
What I am finding really hard now is the 'sales pitch'. Every time we ask a question of the SW I get the sense that she thinks we should be grateful for being offered a baby and just shut up and get on with it. I also get the impression that she thinks we should be happier than we appear to be - but it's hard when we still have so many questions and uncertainties. I'm trying to put my happy face but I am quite reserved by nature and don't wear my heart on my sleeve. Even if I was convinced that this was the child for us, I would probably still appear fairly calm about the whole thing as I'm not the type to get giddy in front of strangers. There is part of me which is excited at the thought of this child coming to our lives, but I'm also quite scared and worried about making the wrong decision.
This is so difficult. I always knew that the matching stage would be the hardest part of the process but I didn't appreciate just how challenging it would be.
How did you all decide if a match was right for you? Was it a gut feeling or did your head overrule your heart?

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