Most mums dread the day when their children leave home. They worry about their university life, their first flat, the people they mix with.
It’s hard enough letting a fully-fit young person leave home, but when your child is disabled – either mentally or physically – it’s even more difficult to let go. Young people with learning difficulties or special needs of any kind often want to be independent adults, to live away from home and enjoy life away from their parents.
And, with help, that’s often possible. However, one of the biggest problems encountered by parents of disabled young people is that there comes a point, usually when children reach the age of 18, where parents don’t have much control over their lives.
Transition is the move into adulthood when life-changing decisions ranging from education and employment to housing are made. Parents of disabled children worry about how their offspring will cope in the world.
As the parents grow older, their biggest fear is what will happen to their children when they can’t care any more, either through ill health or perhaps through bereavement. But parents who support their children’s wishes to leave home often find that the new arrangements work well and their children flourish.
When new living arrangements have been put in place and everyone has adapted to the new regime, most parents find a fresh peace of mind.
They can still have regular contact with their child, but they can grow older themselves safe in the knowledge that their offspring will be well cared for when they can’t do the caring any more.
Where to get help:
The Progress magazine website offers all the transition support parents need for 13 to 25-year-olds with special needs. The website has details of care homes or independent housing options for disabled adults. Call 01223 207770 or visit www.progressmagazine.co.uk for advice and help.
Housing Options is a specialist independent housing advisory service for people with learning difficulties, their relatives and professionals. Call 0845 4561 497, or visit www.housingoptions.org.uk