Not shocked but wearily sad is the way I felt this morning when I saw the front page of The Irish Times. Why do some carers not care? Why is it that people with disabilities, who are so very vulnerable, are treated so badly by some of those in whom we place our trust? I know children and adults in residential accommodation. I also know parents who have made the difficult decision to move their children into such places because they can no longer look after them at home. How must they feel today? As the sole carer and Mum of a 13 year old girl with severe physical and intellectual disabilities, it has been suggested to me that I should consider this as an option. Sometime I do think about it, and the freedom it would bring to my life, and to the lives of Smiley's brother and sister. I am not trying to moan here, just explain. When you have a new baby, you cope with the sleepless nights, the endless feeds, the treadmill of nappy changing because you know it will stop and because babies are just so adorable! Now Smiley is still adorable, and loved by just about everyone who has ever met her, but she is like a baby in almost every other way as well - just bigger. So you get very tired, and sometimes you really really want to get off the treadmill. If I had challenging behaviour to deal with as well, the pressure to put her in residential could be difficult to resist.
But then you read stories like the one in the paper today and your resolve is firm again - maybe that's the idea as resources are so short. Perhaps these stories are fed by the Government to encourage more families to keep on caring at home, even when it seems impossible. I cannot even get my head around the idea that carers would abuse or neglect people who may not understand or be able to talk about what has happened to them. I feel bewildered and deeply hurt that our children could be treated so badly. I just so hope that Smiley never has to go into residential care. I don't think I could bear it.