My son is aged 15 and has Down’s Syndrome. He currently attends a special school on a day basis, and we’re starting to think nervously about the future! We are a very supportive family, and love him to bits - and so want to support him in his outcomes in the same way we support his siblings.
He has consistently told us he wants to move out when he is old enough, to get a job and get married etc. Whilst the married bit may be aspirational (!), there doesn’t appear to be any good reason why he should not be able to achieve the other two objectives with our support - who knows, he may get married one day too!
If it is his and our settled intention that he leaves home when he believes he has the skills to do so (post 18), who’s responsibility does it become to support him to achieve this, particularly financially? I can imagine that a non-learning disabled youngster leaving home could get a job, rent a property etc without any issues, and then if they fell on hard times the benefit system is there to provide a safety net. But for a young man such as my son, does the state oblige parents to fund his independent lifestyle, or does the combination of benefits provide an “adequate” level such that he would neither be living in poverty nor affluence if he left the family home, even to live locally to us?
Is this something we should be engaging with adult social care around now? So far throughout his life he has not had any need to be supported by social care as he is part of a strong, stable and loving family unit. But in the same way that I expect my other children to leave home and relinquish their financial ties to us at the appropriate point, I want the same for him - not from a negative perspective, but because that’s the right thing to do.
I have previously had work in a senior role in residential care provision for those with severe learning disabilities, and in many cases there the provision was very good, paid for by the state through the social care budget, and (most) parents did what “normal” parents do - provide some nice-to-have things, visit, take days out etc. These were primarily individuals for whom living with parents would have been a very significant day to day challenge, and I can’t make that case with my son - he’s very easy going (mostly!).
Some guidance as to how to make these first steps would be really useful!
Thanks for taking the time to read!