I am dedicating this week’s blog to our annual Family Conference which took place last weekend. We had some great speakers at the event including Matt Groves from Mencap talking about the things to consider when making a Will or Trust for a person with learning disabilities. We also had Katie Clarke from charity group Bringing Us Together who gave top tips for avoiding crisis and admission into Assessment and Treatment Units (ATU’s). Unfortunately this happens far too often these days and there have been some high profile cases in the news recently. Katie outlined a case study where a parent, whose son had a diagnosis of Autism, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and admitted into an ATU hundreds of miles away from home, where he was heavily drugged and his health and behaviour declined rapidly. Thankfully this particular parent had the wherewithal to fight the system, including appearing in recent television documentaries and she was eventually able to bring her son home, but it took years.
In the afternoon, we held 3 workshops. One on ‘relationships and sexuality’, one on ‘building resilience’ (staying strong when the system knocks you down) and ‘autism from a parent’s perspective’. We were also treated to an excellent performance by CMG’s drama group, the Brelade Players.
We had some great feedback from the day with everyone who filled out an evaluation form strongly agreeing or agreeing that the day was helpful. Here are just some of the comments we received from family members who attended:
“All the speakers we heard covered subjects about which we had some concerns. It was so good to be provided with pathways to solutions/improvement.“
“Really informative and enjoyable day”
“Very worthwhile conference thank you”
“A thoroughly enjoyable, informative day”
I would also like to mention a lovely young lady who lives at our Hervey Road service in London. Lucy Parrin is 19 years old and before coming to CMG in November 2015 used to reject all the support offered to her and was never willing to engage in any activities. Lucy is a very talented singer but did not believe in herself and suffered from anxiety so would never think that she could sing or perform in front of an audience. With the structured support she has received from the dedicated staff at Hervey Road, she has since attended a college of performing arts, has sung at a show and is due to sing at CMG’s annual Black History celebrations next month. You can hear Lucy sing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLZEfPSm4KI . Well done to all involved for such a great outcome.