Most of our children with learning disabilities will become adults with learning disabilities. This is the part of Toby’s life that worries me the most. While he is a child, and I am in good health, I can look after him. I can make the final decision about where he goes to school; I can look after him when he is sick; I can create a home life that makes him happy. But when he grows up, what will happen to him?
This is a genuine question. Does anyone out there have grown-up children living at home, or in supported housing, or anywhere else? Is it working for them? And have you made any plans for what happens when you die?
These are all questions that often remain un-asked. I suppose it’s a bit like talking about wills: we don’t want to think, or talk, about death, or dying. It’s too sad and too morbid. And yet for those of us with children who are likely to need assistance all of their lives, we have to think about that time, if we want our children to live happy lives when they grow up.
I once worked on a summer camp in the US for children and adults with disabilities. It was a very happy place, with loads of activities – swimming, dancing, singing, arts and crafts. There were weeks where elderly ladies came and we had tea parties and dances. There were weeks when young adults came for discos and American football. It was fun. It’s the sort of environment I would love Toby to experience when he’s older. I want him to be happy and active and surrounded by friends. I hope I can put the right plans in place now to ensure that happens.
So do get in touch with your thoughts, experiences, tips or advice about how to ensure our children have happy lives when they grow up to become adults. I can assimilate your responses and report back. Maybe there are things we can do, individually or together, to ensure all our children live happy, fulfilling lives when they become adults.