Sunday, 18 May 2014

Story Sixty Seven - Testimonials

Let's have a cheerful post.

Day to day people from Steven's life really came up trumps during 2010. Especially after the council announced that they were moving Steven to Wales.

Completely voluntarily, several people decided to write to the council, providing testimonials of Steven. They wrote about their experiences with Steven. And they wrote about how they thought the move would badly effect Steven. They wrote about they would really miss Steven if he was sent away.

This must have been so challenging for the social care team. Not only had they decided that Steven doesn't have friends but they had also been able to dismiss any external view that didn't concur with their own. I wonder how they dealt with a sudden rush of people describing Steven as a "funny, talkative, friendly, inquisitive, wise, young man".

So thank you to Margaret who runs the Mencap Pool and talked about her knowledge of Steven over 11 years. Thanks to Rosa, the mother of another autistic dude at the pool, who wrote about Steven's normal behaviour at the pool. The staff at Flex gym, where Steven had been going for five years wrote a great letter, expressing how important a member Steven was of the club. Some of the members got wind of this too and they also wrote about the "hard working and engaging young man" who was such a pleasure to know. Two men from the Virgin Active pool wrote and talked about the chats they have with Steven and the way he throws himself into In The Navy during the water aerobics class. A couple of the cab drivers wrote also (although their letter never got sent because I think their firm was worried about losing their contract if they were seen to be critical of the council). They wrote about the songs Steven greets them with when they arrive to pick him up.

You can imagine I was in floods when I read all these wonderful letters, from wonderful kind people.

The real tragedy was it made no difference whatsoever. I suspect they were thrown in the bin because they never appeared in the court records later that year. Steven was now "It" - these letters revealed a real human being, not in keeping with an It.

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