Following the advice of the school and F's educational psychologist C and I decided to apply for the Disability Living Allowance for F and yesterday I got a bit of an odd - and more than slightly - insulting letter about it. The letter was basically saying that because we were applying for the DLA I had been put in charge of managing the money that F might be awarded and was full of rather patronising reminders that this was a position of authority and so should not be abused. No where in the letter did it actually say that F had been awarded anything.
On a hunch I logged into my online banking and found that we had in fact been awarded the DLA and been back dated since the middle of December. You can't imagine the relieife that I felt when I saw that; it means that we can now start planning a bit more for the future. Once we have the official confirmation letter outlining the details of the DLA that F has been awarded - how much he'll be getting, how long he'll be getting it for before it needs to be reviewed, that sort of thing - we can start planning what we're going to do with the extra money. It means that we can start saving on a regular basis for F's future, that I can maybe start driving lessons which would make life easier for all of us.
I have to admit that I was surprised when we were adviced to apply for the DLA; to C and I F doesn't seem to be disabled enough to warrant getting it. But then after looking into it we realised that it's not just for those with a physical disability; it's meant to make life easier for those with any sort of disability. Because F isn't neuro-typical every day things like going to the shops on the spur of the moment or suddenly deciding to go on a day trip out are impossible. Things have to be planned for in advance with near military precision and if things don't go as planned then it can be incredibly stressful for all of us. The best way I've seen ASD described is as a permanent state of high anxiety; F lives his life on the edge of a meltdown if the unexpected happens. As he grows older then he will hopefully be able to cope with this better. But there's no way of knowing what the future holds and if the little bit of extra money that we get can help him in any way then we'll take it.