Parent's moving article highlights the vital role of special communities

The mother of a severely disabled adult speaks out about the special environment which benefits her daughter. 

Meg Henderson's daughter Louise is not living in a Camphill community, but is happily settled in what her mother calls a 'special village' near Fife in Scotland. But Meg has come to recognize the unique value of this type of residential social care provision, after many long years of struggle to achieve the right kind of care and support for her daughter's complex needs, related to brain damage and severe autism. The following extract is from her article featured in the Daily Mail 28th November 2012.

"Louise was 16 when we finally abandoned the last shred of hope that she was ever going to live a normal life. She would never become independent. She is now 34 and lives in a special village near our home in Fife. It's a wonderful, leafy campus, staffed by trained carers, set up to house adults with handicaps of every type. It has two farms, various  workshops, a bakery, a cafe and a supermarket - all run by the residents.

Louise does live the best life she is capable of, working in the bakery and the shop. The local authority pays for her care but, like all parents in similar positions, we live in constant fear that government cuts will bring this stability to an end.

Louise has been there since January 2012 and for the first time in her life she has friends. Everyone there has some difficulty, and they all support each other. There's a closeness and friendship there which she has never experienced from the general public, and never would. She is valued as a person, not looked on with the pity, embarrassment or ridicule that have marked her entire life. 

So now she is happy - and so, for the first time, are we."