Fear of the unknown

Most of the time I’m glad to live where I live. Here in Sweden we have “The Swedish Act concerning Support and Services for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS)” that brings me and my wife some extra assistance with our children. I’ve explained LSS earlier over here.

One of the more criticized parts of the LSS states that persons who fall into the “Certain Function Impairment” category has the right to aid with residence with special services for adults or otherwise specially adapted housing. The critique is not about the cost of these residences, it’s about the lack of functional and well managed residences that has been the talk among parents to persons with certain functional impairments so it’s always good new when someone decides to build or convert existing residence to a living for these persons.

On the other hand, when peoples ignorance puts obstacles in the way of a new residence for youths with autism and Downs syndrome, I feel a bit ashamed over living in a country where so many ignores others needs because of their own comfort. Last week there were reports in most major Swedish newspapers about a residential area called Glasberga, where the residents has signed a protest against the construction of a residence for youths with autism or Down syndrome. Some of the reasons for the protest where:

  • The value of the residents own houses will drop since a LSS residence would lower the neighborhood status. A number of people states they would never have moved to Glasberga if they knew about the plans of a LSS residence.
  • The residents can no longer let their kids play outdoors without adult supervision because of the youths at the LSS residence.
  • Someone has heard of several cases where persons from these LSS residences has managed to escape and obtained contact with “normal” people with assault and possibly death as a result.
  • They don’t trust Attendo’s (the caregiver) promises that the residence is aimed towards harmless, non-aggressive youths.
  • According to the knowledge the residents in Glasberga has on the subject Autism, it’s not uncommon that autistic youth often is frustrated and violent.

One of the comments from the residents in Glasberga is:
“We aren’t against LSS residences, but they don’t fit in our area that contains so many children”

Here we have a group of youths with Autism, Asperger and Dawns syndrome that is in desperate need of somewhere to live in order to go on with their own lives by moving out from their parents. Before this Glasberga protest I’d think a residence like the one being built in Glasberga would be ideal for my son once he is old enough to move to his own living, I would even reconsider moving to Glasberga myself to live close to my son. But now, after the residents of Glasberga have tried to tell me who my son and my daughter really are, I’m just ashamed to live so close to so narrow-minded people.

The protesting residents of Glasberga probably doesn’t even understand how much they have hurt parents and people covered by the LSS with their comments. They probably don’t understand the lack of reasoning in their protest. And most of all, by acting as they do they will probably force their children to walk in their footsteps and become as frightened of the unknown as they are themselves.

I feel forced to beg forgiveness on their behalf as they probably don’t understand they are doing something wrong, just as my son sometimes does …


2 thoughts on “Fear of the unknown

  1. spreadyourwings2013 says:

    Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog this evening whilst searching for geocaching related blogs. I have spent my entire evening reading your blog from the beginning to your most recent post. As a fellow geocacher i’ve enjoyed reading about your geocache adventures with your son. As a support worker for adults with learning disabilities i’ve enjoyed reading about your relationship with your son it seems to me he has a great quality of life, many of the individuals i support have little to no contact with family members. This most recent post saddens me deeply,it always amazes me how it dosn’t occur to people such as those protesting against the LSS residence that their next child, grandchild, niece, nephew etc could be born with a learning disability.
    In relation to your sons communication needs I was wondering if you had heard of Makaton, it is a kind of simplifed sign language that many people with learning disabilities use here in the UK.
    Anyway I just wanted to thank you for writing your blog I will continue to follow your posts and gain inspiration for my future travels.

    • galdrin says:

      Thank you for your comments; I hope you will enjoy future posts as well. I didn’t know about specifically about Makaton, but we have discussed sign languages and even tried a few really simple signs like “stop / end” but that never worked very well with my son. He understands pictures much better than signs so we have used PECS earlier and now we use pictures through his Ipad and Iphone. I think sign-language and autism is a bit of hit or miss while sign-language and Dawns syndrome is almost always a hit, but that might be old knowledge so don’t quote me on it.

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