I can't imagine what it must be like to be kept away from your home, your family, your routines and all the things that help you feel safe for a whole year. And worse, to be held in a place where you feel unsafe and where nobody is interested in you as a person.
I am so proud of Steven's stoicism. To see him still trust people, leaves me in awe.
But there is definitely some trauma after the experience and I cannot forgive Hillingdon for not only causing it, but for repeatedly dismissing it since Steven came home. It is the main reason why I stopped attending meetings with Hillingdon's professional support team (positive behaviour support, the psychologist, the SALT, the OT) back in 2012. If they couldn't acknowledge the reality of Steven's trauma, then they couldn't be any use at all.
Steven is still terrified of being taken away again. He never understood why he was there, so even know, if he spills a drink, he cries and pleads: "not going back to M house?" Everyday, before he goes out, we have to reassure him that he's coming back home afterwards and not going to the Unit. If anyone mentions the name of the Unit, he yelps and starts to cry with anxiety. When we drive pass the place on the way to swimming, he turns away, closes his eyes and covers his ears. But that's not trauma!
He has never gone back to the respite unit either - it strikes the same level of terror. I don't blame him. It took a year after Steven came home for respite to be sorted because Hillingdon insisted the Unit was their only resource so had to be there. To illustrate the way their positive behaviour support works, they introduced "subliminal messaging" with him to get him to accept their plan for him to go back there for respite. It didn't work - Steven is far too fly for that.
I think those fears he has will be there for a long time to come. And they'll resurface when I'm no longer around to look out for him. But in the meantime, I believe Steven has the emotional fortitude to have a quality of life that is beyond the imagination of anyone involved in his care in 2010