Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Experiences of Social Services Disability section(24 Posts)
I'm a sort-of oldie, DS dx at 2.9 and he is now 4.2 so er... well I've been here for a while under various names.
I've heard of many regulars having bad experiences when trying to get their entitlement from SS ie being referred to the CP team
My specialist HV, regular HV and family support worker from the LEA have all mentioned accessing help from SS and I have always turned it down.
Should I bother? Are direct payments a thing of the past? Will I be instantly referred as "not coping" if I even ask?
DS has autism and is off to a fantastic special school in September. Weirdly I would actually like to be monitored by SS due to other issues within the family, namely my DD who has a medical condition which may trigger more complaints as she gets older and fewer people know why she bruises so easily.
Have to admit i have avoided SS so far ds in also starting Special school in sept for me social services would be a last resort. My friend has a social worker and she has been wonderful but for me the idea of having to justify myself, family and son and the power they have just scares me.
I had to fight for 9 years to get a SW from the disability team, ( DS now 18 ASD ) he is now in adult services and has another one but the one he had from childrens services was a great help, organising trial biking during the holidays, helping filling in forms, organising respite and befreinding etc, i dont see it as not coping, i see it as making sure my DS gets all the help possible, SW from the disability team are a lot different from normal SW, they are there to help you and dont interfere in your routine, my DS went to a SN school too and the SW attended the reviews and always listened to my suggestions, we did have a clash of opinions on a couple of occasions but i always felt in control and never felt judged, she was always there on the end of the phone if i needed any help or advice without poking her nose in my business IYSWIM.
Autism isn't considered a disability to our SS dept so unless I was up for a fight I wouldn't be allocated a SW anyway.Like Utah I have avoided them so far because I can't help worrying that I'd get some SW who was power happy and totally disagreed with my methods.
When you read on here where parents have been subject to child protection investigations because they wanted support for a disability issue it makes me even more wary of ever approaching them tbh.
I'm wary I have to say. Thanks for the replies.
I have a more positive tale... we asked for an assessment when DS2 was about 6 or 7 and have been having direct payments since then.. ok not a lot (3 hours a week..whoopee) but he gets one day out a fortnight and it has been very good for him to have an independent time from us.
I NEVER went down the 'I'm not coping' route. Instead I very politely but firmly insisted that we needed direct payments in order for my son to access the community .. I quoted my own district's pamphlet on the reasons for getting DPs for my child to have access to stuff 'typical' kids had..however I did add that the rest of my family also needed some DS2 free time for us to give them the support they needed. I have always found the SW cheerful and helpful actually. The disability team are different from the generic SWs that heavens!
I also felt it was very important for DS2 to be 'in the system' as a child in the hope that as an adult he will be transferred , not a new 'who the heck is HE' issue! As he's 14 now adulthood looms...
I would go ahead and see what happens
I would also say go ahead.... I straddle the divide, IYSWIM. my son has LD and ASD, my husband is physically disabled so have dealt with both adult and children's disability teams and I have worked as SW as part of children's disability team.
CP stuff in social work is about is this child 'at risk of significant harm' (section 17 Children Act.) that mean's harm from things like abuse or neglect. Children with disabilities are 'children in need' under the same act. The SW will be looking at (and for) different things when they assess, and will have access to different forms of support.
We were knocked back when DD1 was 3.4, and finally accepted into the Children with Disabilities team a few months ago, she is 5.7.
We are just coming to the point of hearing how many hours DD1 will get.
We have avoided Social Services with ds. As he has health issues we were always told that any respite would come through the nhs respite home anyway. Our only dealings with SS is that I take ds on some of the activities they run in the holidays - they are called "short breaks" but most of the ones ds goes on require parents to be there so not much of a break.
I find it interesting insanity that your ss don't consider autism as a disability - where we are most of the short breaks run by ss seem geared up to children with autism rather than those with physical disabilities.
ASD is only a qualifying condition if accompanied by a recognised disability so if there is SLD, CP or Downs Syndrome alongside then it would be but because mine have bog standard moderate autism then it isn't. Absolutely ridiculous IMO but I don't have the time or the energy to argue tbh and so focussed on getting ds's Tribunal right that I don't even think about it nowadays.
We avoid them like the plague.We just get on with life we fill out our own forms and fight all our battles ourselves.We see our sw once a year so she can tick her boxes for respite provision and then we don't see her until the following year.
We've been fine. They've not been 100% useful (because of budgets, and because so much of the little money there is has to go on infrastructure and arse-covering etc.) but we've had no problems.
I'd agree that by and large the disabilities team will be separate from the at-risk team and looking for/at different things. Where you get issues I think, is where kids have "invisible" conditions and Social Workers have been trained to believe the parents are "labelling" the child unecessarily (because believing this is a great excuse for not giving help). Unecessary labelling is bad for the child, hence this must be a bad parent, hence what else are they doing that might harm the child...? It doesn't help if you put the SW's back up by being obviously brighter than them or pulling them up on mistakes - remember that they are grossly overworked and underfunded and ime unsupported by their own management. I find a little bit of not pointing out when they have cocked up goes a long way. They are only human.
Anyway, I'd say if you have a clear diagnosis and reasonable expectations about what they can achieve given the bureaucracy they are burdened with, go for it. Otherwise, it's a judgement call.
It seems to depend a lot on your area/ LA. We have a specific asd SW here, and she's mostly pretty good. You'd certainly be missing out on a lot of services here if you didn't go through SS, eg respite, DP's, carers assessments, core assessments etc etc.. all aimed at ensuring your and your families needs are met in as many ways as possible- doesnt always work OF COUrse, but its a step in that direction.
PS- no DP's are not yet a thing of the past, I'd be in a psych ward if it wasnt for ours
We had a positive experience. We got a new keen member of the team who was persuaded (after I had read up on contact a family website etc) we needed some respite so we could spend time with our other 2 boys doing things DS could not tolerate / helping with homework. We have had 2 hours a week (I know woo hoo!) since he was about 3, and get 3 hours a week in the school holidays. We save it up and do half day outings. DS has moderate-severe ASD but no LD or any other problems.
Some services here are limited to ASD + SLD or severe behavioural probs (eg overnight respite)
DP can be for the child eg to access leisure; for siblings, or just respite as a carer. A new short breaks duty came in this year and Lib Dems made a big deal that every carer would get one week a year off so you should get 2 hours a week.
We have friends who get 10 hours a week because they had twins one with ASD and one without and had to take them to activities separately because it wasn't safe to have a 1 adult to 1 child ratio.
what we have found is even getting a very small amount of help has a drip drip effect and as the child gets older you find out about other things.
That was why we got in the system.
So this year we qualified for a new sitter service once a month as well.
And the other boys are joining a sibings group where they go on days out for free eg cinema, adventure playgrounds etc
Next year DS will qualify for the council holiday play scheme for children with disabilities.
It helps if you can identify something you need eg 1:1 helper for swim lessons or cubs; or time for you eg with partner / other children
I was going to ask for respite so DH and I could go for counselling at one point when we were both really depressed about stuff, but never got round to it!
Ensuring you can carry on with your carer role is a reason to get DP.
Its best to read up on it first and as Medusa says identify what you want and how DP would help you get it.
eg we had someone from DS nursery we could employ lined up so had a clear plan of how it would work.
However, I accept eligibility criteria have tightened recently - but remember they must do an assessment and cannot apply criteria rigidly. They must look at the individual needs.
dd has a sw form the childrens disabilty team and he/they(we have had a few) have been a great help. they sort respite and stuff like that, so I would recommend it
We requested social services. They didnt help at all. I just got a report blaming me for being anxious and labeling my son. The report will make nice chip paper.
I have to say, I would consider contacting social services in any way, as inviting the devil into my home. Once they're in they are in control.
We were referred to them by our health visitor as we had a few problems, our son's behaviour and problems, and we were being evicted.
My kids are now on the children in need register.
On the first visit a social worker looked around our home, which we allowed noproblem.
Didn't realise my son's bed was wet from where his nappy had leaked. (the 4 yr old which develomental delays and an autistic diagnosis coming up.)
That social worker went away after meeting us once in our lives and told everyone in our CAF team that it could have been a sign of emotional distress because I'd admitted me and DP argued sometimes, big mistake.
Our preschool worker said to us that they'd implied domestic violence may be going on in our home, and that don't worry they don't see any reason to think that.
Social services are now coming round to snoop around our house whenever they want to, we have no control.
I'm constantly anxious if there's any mess, when the kids hurt themselves.
We asked for extra nursery hours once and almost got laughed at in the face.
The social worker said there's absolutely no money for them to give us any help.
Another reason for getting the disability SW involved is for when they become adults, my own DS 18 ASD is unable to work and is in the ESA support group, without his SW i think he would have been chucked on job seekers and i would have had (another) almighty fight on my hands, the SW holds a budget for each client and has got my DS a placement in an internet cafe in our town for 2 days a week, without her he would be stuck at home, there is soooo much stuff you need to know when they become adults, its a whole different ball game and i dont think i would have managed without SW, she is brilliant, quite young and new to the job but bang up to date and eager to do her job properly.
I've had good and bad experiences. Good when I lived in another borough, and now sadly incredibly bad to the point where I have ongoing complains at stage 2 with a solicitor backing me (basically their ineptitude and incompetence not to mention the lies and deceit I get)
I think it depends on the particular SW and also the area in which you live.
Might be worth an ask but they are all budget led, dpesite their protestations that they are needs led so don't hold your breath and rely on anything they say.
Legally they have to inform you of your rights to a carers assessments of needs, plus they should also assess your child for their needs too.
If they don't inform you of this right then they are incompetent to start with.
Wow, thanks for all the responses. I'm inclined to leave it for a few years now. I see the sense in getting DS in the system before he becomes an adult but while he is so young and <whispers> still likes the odd BF and is still in nappies I don't want to open myself up to any accusations.
I've been referred spuriously by the very people who were supposed to protect us (DD's medical team) and those few days were the most horrible of our lives. Nothing came of it but it "had to be done according to guidelines"
I'm very sorry for everyone who has had bad experiences. It is truly shameful that concerned and caring parents are being targeted when desperately vulnerable children are being ignored.
PS - My name is a reference to a family of characters in the excellent television series (based on the novels by George RR Martin) "Game of Thrones".
here is one of them.
I was also still breastfeeding when DS was 3. AND CO-SLEEPING. double shocker.
After a few reactions from 'the authorities'.
I felt like a criminal doing it in secret.
God knows what would have happened if the heroes at childrens' services had found out.
What with their preoccupation for catching baddies, by using their immaculate knowledge and judgement on what's right, normal and correct parenting.
Oh God I had forgotten about the co-sleeping
Still, at least DS' bedclothes are always immaculate. He's never in them!
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