Impact on Adult Life

Sue Bush: Being Reborn

Sue Bush was born in 1948 in London. At the age of three she was sent to Chailey Heritage, a residential special school in Sussex, where she stayed until she was sixteen, then going onto college in London.

Here Sue describes the legacy of her residential schooling on her life afterwards.


I think, I was so kind of scared and timid and inexperienced with the world and people, I mean I'd only really mixed with my family, and other disabled people, yeah I know I'd mixed with sort of teachers and care staff that weren't disabled as such but, again it was definitely a them and us, situation there, I mean some of the staff were really nice and we got on really well and that, I mean some staff even said when they after they'd been there a while when they were new, 'We were warned about you!' and 'We think you're really nice, you know, we don't know what they're saying'.

I mean when we were at school, when you was at school, twice a week clean clothing appeared on your bed, you never actually saw the mechanics of how this was done, you never kind of, you never watched it going round in the washing machine or being hung out to dry, and if you can imagine that from when you're three to when you're seventeen, you just thought that there was some sort of like, higher power that arranged all this, you know, food appeared on the plate, on a trolley, it came out of this kitchen which was most mostly vile, and then when you left school you kind of felt, it was like being reborn.

I know it sounds awfully cowardly, but I thought 'How can I how am I going to manage? How? Who's going to help me undress and dress?' But I did learn really that the only person that'll help you is yourself in the end, you can't really expect, no, no, it's unreasonable. Well because of my experiences there really I think. But no I didn't learn that, not there it was afterwards, and I'm still fighting it, I'm still fighting, this kind of feeling that there should be somebody there keeping an eye on me.

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