It is a little ways past midnight and I'm lying here trying to piece together the emotions of the past few weeks... so many emotions... so man questions, I think I go between a feeling of internal hysteria, anger and extreme sadness.
As a special needs parent I never found myself asking myself why me or why my child in respect of his autism diagnosis as hard as it was as hard as the journey was, autism was something to me that made my child who he was, I didn't love him any less (quite the opposite) and I didn't see it as being something that was "wrong" with him, as I understood it he was just wired a bit differently and that was a good thing not a bad thing, it was something he could grow from and we could learn from.
But after 7 years of fighting, 7 years of not getting the help we have pleaded and begged for, 7 years of trying everything and doing everything by the book and then not just to be sure that we had covered every base and quite honestly I just feel defeated, completely and utterly defeated.
A month ago today I was sitting in a court room begging a magistrate to put my son into a program that we believed was our best hope, we believed that this was our only option and we were so desperate for just a small sense of hope and of promise that we were willing to say that we believed our son deserved more than the care we could provide him therapeutically that we had exhausted all of our options and were therefore reaching out to the government to help us find answers and care, it it devastating as a parent to get to this point where you love your child so incredibly much and have and will do anything to ensure that your child has everything that they need, having to do this when you have been told over and over again that you have done everything that you can and should have, that the system has failed you but you now need to reach out to that very system and beg for help; as parents we were broken, facing losing our jobs from all of the time we have had to take off, no schooling options available to us and no form of care for him whilst we go off to work everyday so that we can afford the medications and therapies we have been told our son needs but to no avail when it comes to improving our home and family situation or my sons mental health and behavioral issues, we were so incredibly desperate.
I wish I could put into words what we have been through and what my son has been through in one post... I can't.
A week later and the day before my birthday we drove up to the program dead set in the middle of nowhere, upon our arrival we were sold a story of hope, we were told our son would be well taken care of and that after 8 weeks of continuous assessment by a panel of professionals who dealt with children with extreme difficulties every day we would be given a way forward.
2 weeks later we were back in court for a court order to have him removed from the program with immediate effect after visiting him over the weekend and arriving to find my son covered in bruises and abrasions/ open and healing wounds. His tooth had been knocked out, he had a black eye and had visibly lost weight (4 kg in 2 weeks), as we sat with him his hands shook and s he ran his hands through his hair- his hair fell out, to see your child in that state knowing that you cannot remove him without a court order was probably the worst parenting moment and experience of my life, to see my mother in tears, his brothers in tears, to hear my youngest ask me why we had put his brother in a place where he was getting hurt, I never felt more worthless as a parent and when I had to leave literally having my son puled of of me with a sheer look of terror in his eyes, every fiber of my being screamed and there was absolutely nothing I could do.
I had already voiced concerns over the welfare of him and the other children after he relayed to me his experiences in the program during our phone calls every second day which took and hour or so of constant redial to even get through as the nurses and officials would simply ignore the phone as they pleased, to be told by your child that he was wearing the same underwear even though we had sent at least 10 pairs (they left him with a single pair for 10 days strait), to be told that he had resorted to hiding a block of soap in a wall socket and that he could not sleep as he had been choked by some of the other children at night, to be told of the vulgarity and the racism and to be ignored when I inquired about these issues and telling myself that my son must be exaggerating only to arrive for visitation and to come to the sickening realization that my son was indeed telling the truth, to see another child with a bite mark under his eye and a black eye among with numerous other wounds on his face and body and to be told by the team leader that they could not possibly watch the children all the time and that this was how the children played... to say that I left that day completely and utterly distraught would be an understatement.
When you are told that this place includes the care of children in witness protection and children without parents to ensure that they are cared for and that their well being both mental and physical is ensured, it is completely devastating and utterly shocking.
After removing my son and on our drive home he laid his head in my lap as I ran my fingers through his hair and just thanked the universe that we were free of that place. We went to our gp and then the police station and since then it has been a constant back and forth between the hospital and the police station because we as a family cannot sit back and let that place carry on portraying themselves as therapeutic help for children or as a place of care and safety, and we have been informed that we are far from the only family with this experience and that to me is even more shocking because why on earth was our child or is any child being sent there if people; doctors, court officials etc are aware that the program is an issue and isn't safe. Why is it always left until the point that one family or parent makes enough noise that it can no longer be ignored, these are children and this is the standard of mental health care that is considered acceptable.
We have been apologized to but at the end of the day where does it leave us and leave Loghan, we are again at square one with no where to go, we are still without a plan and I just go between that state of extreme anger and disappointment because all I want is to get help and for someone to show us a way forward... so many promises that have come to nothing and I am now at the point of why?
Why my child, why my family?
We surely cannot be the only family and we have been told that Loghan is not the only Loghan out there so if this is the case then are there other parents, families and children going through the pain and frustration that we are, I just find myself wondering when we will get the help we need or if we ever will, will my son ever be able to lead a normal life, will he ever be able to go out on his own safely and that includes the safety of himself as well as those around him; or will it take a point of no return an episode of violence towards on of his family members or someone in public or even himself before someone actually helps us.
I am scared for my son and for our family... I just want a tiny bit of light, a tiny bit of verified hope....