One of the reasons we decided to take Peter as a long-term placement was because we went to visit him and saw how much potential he had. It's unusual to be allowed to visit a child before agreeing to take a placement, but the social workers had painted such a bleak picture of Peter, his behaviour and his additional needs over the phone that we stood our ground and requested to be able to meet him first. We chatted to his previous foster carers before he came home from school, and spent maybe 15 minutes in Peter's company. By the time we left, we had already made our decision.
We found out yesterday that the paediatrician who was assigned to Peter's case at the time had told the foster carers that Peter had no potential. Zero. He would never make any progress, he would be unable to communicate or make meaningful relationships. He would achieve nothing. He would amount to nothing. This was about eight months ago. In fact, the foster carers were told that it was not WORTH them even trying to get through to Peter because he was a lost cause.
How dare s/he?
Thankfully the foster carers ignored the doctor's advice, and worked tirelessly with Peter day and night on his issues with food and sleep, reading to him, talking to him, involving him and loving him. They had no training or support, and felt completely overwhelmed and out of their depth, but Peter did make great progress with them. Fast forward to the present day and we're looking at a completely different child.
This was a medical professional. As far as I'm concerned, this is like telling a pregnant woman that the foetus in her womb has no potential. All children have potential. I wonder how often this happens - imagine the lives wasted if this advice was taken seriously by parents and carers.