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Child in residential placement?

(5 Posts)
StiffyByng Sat 20-Apr-13 23:18:54

My stepdaughter, who suffers from a degenerative disease, will shortly be starting at a residential school on a 52 week placement. She has already been away from home since February at a secure psych unit. We cannot wait for her to move as she has significant medical needs that the psych unit is struggling to support. Also, contact is very stressful in a locked ward environment, particularly for her siblings.

I suppose though my questions are how do other parents cope with the fact that they don't have their children living at home with them? My poor husband is wracked with guilt. Everyone is agreed that we cannot cope with her at home but we still feel feeble for not managing it. How much contact do you have with your kids? At the moment we see her twice a week and speak every day on the phone. When she moves, I expect the daily phone contact to continue but she will be a 90 minute drive away and we don't think it would be fair on the other kids to visit her every weekend. Not just that, but we all find the visits hard work and feel like it would take over every weekend to go. But what sort of people don't want to see their child as often as possible?

Sorry, this is very rambling. But I'd love to hear from others who have faced this situation, and how you cope.

TimidLivid Sun 21-Apr-13 20:41:38

Hi my child is in residential, I never see anything on here about it its like its only me. It is hard and it is sad but you get used to it I guess, I have got used to it but I still seem to be grief or something buts its not as constant as the first 2 weeks. In out case it is voluntary but no autism school anywhere close would take him so he is an hour and a half away. We get home visits but they have mostly been disasters. your situation is different. it does get easier but I'm having trouble coping with it

TimidLivid Sun 21-Apr-13 20:52:15

I know what u mean about the visits being hard, when my ds is driven away I nearly always burst into tears. and then it hurts worse than phoning him or not seeing him. I don't have any advice as it has only been since January for us. People telling me its for the best or it'll be the making of him, just upset me more there is no right thing to say I understand that. I think it is just the difference between what we expect in life and we didn't expect this.

MareeyaDolores Sun 21-Apr-13 21:59:31

With a 90 minute drive, might it be feasible for one of you to go without siblings in an evening after work? The right to request flexible working applies up to age 18y if your dc is disabled <teaches gran to suck eggs>

Ideally there'd also be somewhere fun near the new school for a monthly or fortnightly family outing, with any (or all) of you also nipping in to see dsd. I think you're right to be considering the impact on every weekend; without looking carefully at the options, the other dc could end up like the just-come-for-the-ride-siblings of Olympic hopefuls.

I would imagine you'll all need the first month just to rest and get used to not being on high alert; you've had a total nightmare of a situation. And I bet you end up really missing her once the hideous pressure wears off.

krystalklear Sun 21-Apr-13 23:42:06

My DS is in residential school, he's in his third year now so I have got used to it. I still feel a lot of sadness that he's away from home, and frustration that we can't do 'normal' things - he comes home once a fortnight and his school is 38 weeks so he is home every holiday. But it means I can't take him to a weekly weekend activity and he has virtually no social network left in our home area. It does change your family dynamic - but then, having a disabled child means your family dynamic is very different anyway. He probably wouldn't be doing 'normal' things anyway even if he was at a day school.

I cope with it by knowing that he's in the best placement for him (we went through a SEND tribunal to get him there, and the process really drove home the point that nowhere else was suitable). I'm in a lot of contact with other families with SN children through a local group, and I have to admit I'm relieved that I don't have their struggles with local mainstream schools so that helps me put it into perspective. It would have been selfish for me to try to keep him in a local school, because from all the stories I hear from other parents, he would probably have failed in there by now. Residential schools are incredibly expensive and your stepdaughter wouldn't get funding for it if she didn't absolutely need it, so you shouldn't feel guilty that she is getting her needs met. In fact, you should feel proud that you've supported her in finding and securing a placement that is right for her, because it would be much worse to be left in an inappropriate placement, which many LAs will try to do to save costs.

I love having DS at home for holidays, but it's also incredibly exhausting. I'm still recovering from having him home for the Easter break. I don't feel guilt for not managing him; I know that the staff can only manage him at school because there is a strong team and they are on shifts, with a high staff/student ratio. I phone DS every few days and I send him letters and small gifts through the post (Amazon is brilliant for that). I visit the school a few times a year but usually taxi transport is provided for him to come home. I'd find it really tiring to travel up there every week so I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to do the journey that often. Would she be able to come home for some visits?

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