» Adulthood

Help us to get our lives back

I was prompted to write by Margaret Gowler’s article in the October Reaching Out.

My son, Andrew Paul Smith, now 25, was born (3lb 10oz) with mild CdLS; we have attended conferences at Weston-Super-Mare and Birmingham, as well as a family day at Bristol.

Andrew still lives at home, had a girlfriend for a year and now has a paid job, working part-time for the Plymouth Disabled Fellowship as a domestic.

He can shop unaided, buy a round in the pub, read TV magazines and the weather page. He can shower and dress himself, but like Mrs Gowler, we have good and bad days with Andrew and lately the bad times have outweighed the good.

In September, Andrew physically attacked me twice and I called the police after he had dialled 999. I was given a crime number although I declined to have Andrew arrested.

The support from the Plymouth Learning Disabilities Team isn’t enough for Andrew’s needs, although he has regular respite at a council-run home where he is resident DJ! But there has been disruption to his respite care for reasons beyond the local council’s control. Steps are being taken for Andrew to have Supported Living, on his own, and he is also awaiting CAT and MRI scans to investigate symptoms like mini strokes.

I now have stress-related symptoms and feel, that, at 51, my life should be given back to me.

Like Mrs Gowler, I wonder why a seemingly happy loving child can suddenly turn into a fiend I hardly recognise. Andrew is currently not on medication and I wonder if anyone can recommend something appropriate for a CdLS sufferer to take.

Trish Martin
Plymouth, Devon