Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's all in the numbers

After much cajoling and threatening, we've eventually been told the number of people in our area who have a learning disability and the number who receive a service.  It works out at one in five - the rest are 'not known to Social Services.  I thought there must be some mistake, so went back and checked - had they included all the people they funded through other organizations, Direct Payments, etc. etc..  And yes they had.

What I found as worrying was the lack of concern about this.  Quote, they will mainly be people with a mild learning disability who don't need any service, and even people with 'moderate' needs no longer qualify for a service under the latest local cuts.  So, not a problem then!

Yes it is a problem then.

These are people, probably living with parents at home, who have a real disability.  They need help and it should be available.  And if it isn't, that's a problem.  How disabled do you need to be to need help?  These people haven't even been assessed (but maybe that's one other stress they're better without) so how do they know?

I'm told by Social Services that this level is about average nationally.  I don't know how true that is.  My main concern has been people with a profound disability and complex care needs - our son was in the 'critical' category, so wouldn't have been directly affected by this.  But there's only 'substantial' in between 'moderate' and 'critical', and some councils have already tried to limit care for 'substantial'.  Accepting these situations is what makes cutting services for everyone easier - we've certainly been told in the past to think ourselves lucky - if he'd been less disabled we'd have got nothing.  What sort of logic is that?  No one is lucky to be disabled.

For anyone interested, the total number with a learning disability comes from the Joint Strategic needs Assessment and is based on research, much of which is done by Prof. Emerson and friends at Lancaster and other Universities.


  1. That does seem the rough average, although in my area I think the numbers are around 1 in 10 for ASD children; there just isn't enough in our area done for them, and the years between 5-9 (which I'm coming out of now, thank the deities) is extremely difficult because there's a gap where there's no services available for ASD kids AT ALL during those years. Nothing. They admitted there was a gap, but they did nothing for it.

    Even though I am disabled myself, and my son is also disabled, we're just "substantial". And substantial gets nothing. The funds weren't ring-fenced and have already been absorbed to shore up gaps. It's a shambles.

  2. Up here services for children - mainly school - are better than for adults. 'Transition' (from children's to adult services) are a real cliff edge. Things you take for granted at school age suddenly stop when learning disabled people leave school - and the cuts are making it worse. At least 'substantial' are still entitled to a service here, not sure for how long. No consolation but although it sounds things aren't as bad here, they're also a shambles.