Thursday, November 15, 2007

Choice and opportunity?

Met this morning with a member of KCC staff whose own son, at 14 has autism.  I wanted to hear from her about her experiences, and those of her son.

Her point is a good one. At 14, he may well consider leaving school and looking for a job. And yet, what would he do? He has not been offered any careers advice, nor is any work placement opportunity available to him. Why? Because he's autistic? Doesn't he have just as much right - indeed, arguably more than most - to be able to make informed choices about his future.

And yet I suspect that those who should advise him have already decided on his future. Stacking shelves, cutting grass verges, maybe a kitchen porter.

Because the choice, the freedom, the opportunity which seems so readily available to the rest of us, is conspicuously absent from the lives of those with a disability.

He is lucky to have an intelligent, passionate, vocal mother who will, I am sure keep going until she gets the best for her son.  But spare a thought for the many others who are not so fortunate, and whose lives will follow an altogether more mundane path.

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