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Behind Closed Doors

We can all be surprised by the sudden announcement that a couple we know have split. Especially when we feel that we know that couple – how they always seemed so happy together, threw great parties and wined and dined together and with others in a social circle.

But we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. We rarely get a glimpse of how a person’s life really is. And neither we should – our homes are our havens, our safe places. The one place where we should be allowed to be free to express ourselves.

Sadly this is often not the case and when incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse, murder and violence reach the media we are forced to re-consider what we thought we knew.

Of course within each house there can be closed doors. Literally and metaphorically.

The doors that are literally closed might have been shut from the outside and contain a child or adult who is not free to move around their own home. These are victims of abuse and these people are often mentally or physically disabled and/or have learning disabilities.

Then there are those who chose to shut themselves behind ‘closed doors’: under a duvet, in front of a TV,  because the environment in which they have been immersed has exhausted their energy reserves and rendered them devoid of coping strategies. Those with autism, depression, learning disabilities, or anxiety disorders who have bravely interacted with a society that has little or no time for their challenges.

Then there is the world of the online addict – be it social media, gaming sites, porn websites, gambling, the door is firmly closed on their activities. It might be innocuous, it is often all consuming  and can be dangerous. Young people and adults with learning disabilities are particularly at risk.  They might be quiet and occupied but are they safe?

I’ve been to a network meeting which focuses on delivering training and signposting for organisations and services who work with young people and adults with learning disabilities. We work collaboratively and share resources and opportunities to develop partnership working. It came as no surprise to me to learn that there is a large number of offenders in detention centres and prison who have a learning disability. Research is due to be published in the next year or two on this subject and I will be very interested in the result.

As educators, parents, carers, health professionals and service providers we need to continue to talk to each other in a proactive and effective way in order to build capacity and raise awareness of the needs of those in society who struggle to manage to be independent and safe.

We need to take a peek behind some closed doors.

Behind closed doors – a poem.

Through the chipped black door

behind the yellow papered wall

within those same four walls

you ache.

You quake and yearn.

To be heard,  to be safe.

You long to learn

to love and have faith.

Instead you watch and wait.

Until the day that dawns

to reveal your fate.

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