Sunday, 20 April 2014

Story Thirty Seven - Unknown Antecedents

So - in the space of two weeks, Hillingdon had cancelled our holiday, stopped Steven's overnight visits home and revealed that they were planning on sending him to long term residential accommodation.

And yet we weren't allowed to have an emotional reaction to that news.

For months, the Unit had been sending me their logs of Steven's "challenging behaviour incidents". As you can imagine, this shot up over the two weeks of all the shattering news. But the majority of  incidents were classified as "unknown antecedents". I wrote back to the Unit, suggesting that perhaps, anger, upset, confusion or terror might be the antecedent but never got a response. They couldn't (or wouldn't) acknowledge that their decisions could in any way be affecting Steven.

I shouldn't have been surprised because that was the tone of the whole year. I never once saw a log that had the Unit take responsibility for any antecedent. It would have been nice occasionally to see something like: "We wanted to watch Wimbledon, so Steven couldn't watch Holby City", or, "We had prepared Steven for who would be on shift but at the last minute they went sick and we had to get a last minute unknown bank worker in", or, "Despite Steven asking for a male worker to do his bath, we decided he had to accept a multi gender environment and got a woman to apply his cream to his groin". Never.

But by this time (if ever) assessment had gone out of the window and they were just compiling evidence for their court application.

The manager's manager once told me that they work on the principle that "all challenging behaviour is designed to gain something". I wanted to punch him on the nose to gain a nanosecond of pleasure. But when everything is viewed through that prism, and a person's emotional life counts for nothing, then they are bound to come up with lots of "unknown antecedents".


  1. Crikey. "all challenging behaviour is designed to gain something"! I think any parent who ever was figures that one out. But what if the "something" is comfort, reassurance, understanding? Is it a plus when the individual stops expecting those things, and becomes passively, obediently, miserable instead?

  2. If you are an unhappy, lazy, and/or troubled person, you are often attracted to jobs where the people you work with are unable to express themselves or "tell" on you. I'm horrified that employers don't (or won't) recognise this and guard against it.

  3. Sauce for the goose... I don't suppose it ever occurred to them to consider how challenging their behaviour was for Steven, designed as it was to gain his total compliance by separating him from everything that was familiar and calming.