Should we put our disabled daughter into care?

My husband and I are currently facing one of the most difficult decisions of our lives. Do we place our disabled daughter in residential care? Parenting a child with any disability is extremely tough. We have to face many hurdles, from the lack of adequate respite provision to verbal abuse on the streets. Social exclusion also adds to the pressure on family life. Life can be extraordinarily bleak.

Autism, learning disability and epilepsy are Emily’s diagnoses. Her level of care needs are high and her medical needs are in a fluid state as we try to achieve the correct epilepsy medication for her. We are currently wading through the quagmire of side-effects, but for us it is her violence that takes the greatest toll. The lack of a tangible sign of her disability – such as a wheelchair – have led many people in public to wrongly conclude that she is a badly parented troublemaker.

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