I have largely given up blogging as I have very little more to say about the abject failures of our authorities, but having seen the usual platitudes about Carers Week I’ve been tempted to write.
Earlier this week an autism page reposted a poem I had written about our lives with autism. The post was 5 years old. You can read it here. Reading my words again I realised that nothing had improved, in fact services and supports have become harder to come by and the struggle for autistic people and their families has gotten much worse. In over 5 years of providing autism support and attempting to raise awareness in our community what have I achieved?
Well I know that I have won many small but highly significant battles for individuals but overall the war has been tough on me as an individual and alas little headway has been made. Autism awareness training? I can’t give it away. Dialogue with service providers? Largely a waste of time. Our local autism strategy? In any other walk of life those running it would have been asked to resign or sacked. Engagement with local councillors, MP’s and our MSP? IF lucky enough to get a response or acknowledgment, NOT ONE, would put their head above the parapet, unless there was a chance for personal gain or to discredit an opponent. For so many it’s simpler to write off the outspoken by marginalising and ignoring them. The difference is this is our lives while for so many it’s simply about picking up a wage packet or ingratiating themselves with their superiors.
Where do we go from here? Apart from gritting our teeth and trying to hang on in there , I can see no easy solutions. Personally I do not believe that the rapidly decreasing levels of social justice in our society can be stopped under the current governing structures in the UK or Scotland. My instinct tells me that to have any chance of improvement we require to sever our ties with the corruption, greed and inequality that are the hallmarks of Westminster. Devolution is turning out to be a case of simply giving us enough rope to hang ourselves. This lack of meaningful autonomy has stifled any notion of social justice it seems. The legislation and policy Holyrood has produced on health and social care has been at best weak and at worst uncaring and devious. That the incumbents of our Scottish Parliament have not embraced a new approach that could have put our citizens’ rights and wellbeing before political ideology is sad but ultimately predictable.
My precious boy is twelve now and his childhood is rapidly running down. Our concerns for his future, like so many others, are increasing year on year. His generation of autistic children have lived though a decade of enforced austerity that they can neither understand or be said to have caused in any way. Can we ever dare to hope for something better?