Challenging behaviour

We have a 20 year old son with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder. He was diagnosed with this at age 8 by the school special needs teacher.and consequently was referred to a speech and language therapist and the local health centre, where he had many appoinments over his schooling years. Any support like this ceased when he left school.

He recently lost his job due to his behaviour at work and his employer not making adequate provision for his disorder.. He loves IT and his job was to solve IT issues over the phone. He did not disclose his condition due to fear of being labelled or marginalised and his employer only made minimal adjustments for him in the latter months of his employment. He is appealing his dismissal on discrimination grounds.

He can be the most caring, helpful and loving person, but then his behaviour can be very challenging when he is in stressful situations, such as going to the job centre. It is so frustrating as sometimes you just cannot reason with him and feel like disowning him. Obviously we would never do this but that is how we feel sometimes.

Does anyone know where he can get a formal adult diagnosis of his condition and to see if he has a more significant form of autism other than SPD? He is now out of work and has difficulty facing up to the reality that a job is not going to come to him. He thinks all he has to do is email his cv off and the phone will ring. He is very loath to accept any help and advice we offer but is not able to handle some situations on his own.

Any advice from others in similar situations would be most welcome.

Thank you

Parents Reply
  • Welcome, Hat Man.

    A familiar story no doubt.

    Sadly, yes.

    Do you know if it is easy getting disability benefits, or how to do it?

    Well, I have to be honest, no it isn't easy, but given the degree to which you have to support your son, I think it would be a good idea to apply for them. There are essentially two adult disability benefits now...

    • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This is equivalent to JSA (which maybe he gets now from the JobCentre?); intended for regular daily living expenses, but without the same compulsion to look for work which might be inappropriate. There are various levels of it depending how seriously a person is affected by their disability. It is means tested, so if he is living with you, this might affect what he's entitled to.
    • Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is awarded to help with the additional costs of living with a disability or long-term illness. Again, there are multiple levels. It is not mean tested, so can be claimed by any disabled person, even if working.

    Getting these awarded can be hard work, and it's common for the DWP to try to brush people aside by not assessing them fairly - especially for mental health and developmental conditions. It's not unusual to have to appeal an initial decision (roughly 2/3 of appeals are won, which shows how flawed the system is.)

    Note that with both of these, a formal diagnosis may help as supporting evidence, but isn't strictly necessary, and may even be completely ignored. Claimants are supposed to be judged on the actual, practical impairments which they experience, not their formal diagnosis.

    You can find out about applying for them with a quick web search to find the government websites for them. However, what I would advise you to do is to look for a disability support organisation to help you through the process - having an advocate who knows the system and can provide supporting evidence is a big practical help, and the moral support is even more beneficial, IMHO! If a web-search doesn't turn up anything obvious in your area, pop in to see your local Citizen's Advice Bureau - they are incredibly helpful, and often have staff who specialise in the issues faced by disabled people.

    Best of luck!