I was deeply moved as I watched Letting Go on BBC1 last night. It was an eloquent and passionate plea for more provision and care for young people with learning disabilities as they move towards adulthood. Campaigner Rosa Monckton gave us an insight into the plight of several young people who cannot look after themselves and will never be able to, including her daughter Domenica who has Down’s syndrome. All face enormous problems, and rely very heavily on parental support. One young man managed to make the move away from home only to return to his mother’s care because of the level of hostility he faced from local people. A woman in her twenties with the mental age of a child lives in her own flat, but needs daily intensive help from her father and her mother. Monckton graphically highlights parents’ dilemmas, as they attempt to ensure their children achieve the level of independence that is appropriate for each of them, and look to a future when they will not be there for them.
Domenica loves dancing, and in a lovely section we see her trying for a place at Chickenshed Theatre, an arts organisation that works brilliantly with children and young people with a wide variety of physical and learning disabilities and with none. I was delighted to see it showcased, and can’t wait to go there tomorrow to see their latest production, Shakespeare’s Island.
This is Monckton’s closing statement: ‘If you judge a society by how it looks after its most vulnerable, then we are really truly lacking.’ For anyone with an interest in learning disabilities, this is an important programme. Catch it while you can. It’s only on i-player till 20 March.