Right, it's that time again. I have to fill in the form to renew my disability living allowance. Interestingly, I know filled the form in a few years ago, but I really cannot remember a thing about it. It is as though I have wiped it from my mind for some reason. Why would I do that?
Ah well, not to worry. I'll make a start now, it should only take ten minutes or so. Gosh, it's a big booklet though isn't it? Maybe half an hour...
Name of child
No problem there. If all the questions are like this then this is going to be a doddle
Child reference number
Ha ha! Also no problem - that was on the letter they sent with the form.
Date of birth, sex, address, nationality,...
This is going to be easy
In the last 12 months, has the child seen anyone apart from their GP about their illnesses or disabilities?
He has seen loads of doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, not to mention the experts they have at his special-needs school. If I tick the "yes" box though I am going to have to find out all their names, addresses, phone numbers and area of speciality. Bugger. How am I going to do that? I just took him along to all the appointments they arranged for him. Maybe his mother will know. I will come back to this question.
Do you have any reports, letters or assessments about the child's illnesses or disabilities?
I think there was something about a year ago. Now where did I put it? Oh dear, I am starting to get a sinking feeling about this. How many questions are there on this form? ...(flicking to back of booklet) ... Sixty four!!! Holy crap, this is going to take all weekend.
Statement from someone who knows the child
Well I know him, can I do it? I suspect not but it does not say either way on the form. I guess I am going to have to look in the information booklet ... (checks booklet)...well that was no use at all. Sigh. I suppose I could get one of his teachers to make a statement next week.
List the child's illnesses or disabilities
I was wondering when they were going to ask that. He's got Down's Syndrome and autism, just like he had the last time I filled in this form a few years ago. Is there a box I can tick that says nothing has changed since the last time I applied? No, of course not.
How long has he had the disabilities?
Since birth. Well actually, since before birth - I believe something went wrong in one of the very first cell divisions. How accurate do I need to be? I think I'll just put "from birth"
What treatment does he have for it?
Treatment? What does that mean? Does special school count?
How often does he have treatment?
Can he physically walk?
Oh yes, he can walk. However, he prefers to RUN. Yes, he runs like a gazelle evading a pack of hungry lions. You just take your eye off him for a second and he is off. Where to? It does not matter - towards busy traffic, open water, a sheer drop - he doesn't care, it's fun.
How far can he walk?
I will tick the highest box - over 200m
How long does it take him?
This isn't really relevant. Walking really isn't a big problem, as I have mentioned.
What is his walking speed?
There isn't a box labelled "gazelle".
Does he need encouragement or help to go to the toilet?
Oh this is depressing. I am going to have to tell them I am still wiping his arse. At least he has stopped smearing poo on the walls now.
Does he have any hobbies?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Does smashing his sister's toys count as a hobby?
Lots and lots of questions about bedtime, mealtimes, dressing, eyesight, communication...
Oh I have had enough of this. He's got Down's Syndrome with severe behavioural problems - surely the people reading the form know what that means.
I really can't face this anymore. I can feel my soul dying inside me. I no longer fear death as much as I did an hour ago (Throws pen across room).
Let's just not claim shall we? We don't really need the money, we aren't poor. How much money is it anyway? How much? Really? Oh.
Pass me that pen please.
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Don't tempt me.