Give young autistic people living in care homes the chance to see their loved ones again

Give young autistic people living in care homes the chance to see their loved ones again

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 I am writing to you on behalf of my family who are becoming desperate to see my autistic brother after four months of separation. We recognise what difficult times the government have been working through and appreciate that the measures put in place have been to keep people safe, however at this point things feel very unfair and neglectful. 

Jack (my brother) is a non verbal autistic but otherwise fit and healthy 29 year old man. He lives in a residential care home with five other similar aged people and before lockdown lived a full life of attending college courses, going on day trips and spending Sundays in his family home with his parents.

Obviously all of these things had to stop during lockdown which we understand was necessary as we all had to put our lives on hold, however Jack and his fellow housemates would not have understood and would have found this extremely difficult to adjust to, especially considering autistic people understand their lives through structure and routine. 

However now lockdown has been lifted in nearly all areas of society, allowing people to visit shops, pubs and restaurants, return to schools and other work environments, travel abroad and even those in the most vulnerable shielding bracket are now able to rejoin society, still nothing has eased in the restrictions for my brother and the other young autistic people living in care homes.

As a teacher who works specifically with people with autism I want to be Jacks voice and stress how damaging this is on his and others like hims mental health and well being. He does not understand why he has been kept away from the people closest to him for so long. It must feel like he has been inprisoned for four months for being autistic. 

Jack and those he lives with are young and strong and no more vulnerable physically than you or I, so it makes no sense to group them in the same category as those in elderly care homes. Various people work with him at the care home who are allowed to see and do what they wish in their spare time so are surely a higher risk to the residents than a trip home to stay for one night a week with with his desperate parents who have predominantly been in isolation would be.

They have been offered no time frame of when they can be reunited with him and I’m concerned for the impact of this on all involved. The only suggestion is that if he comes home he would then have to isolate in his room for two weeks, has the person making this suggestion ever spent any time with someone with autism? This would be so frightening for Jack that it is not an option they can consider. 

I’m sure I don’t just speak on behalf of my own family but of all of the families of people with special needs living in care homes. They deserve to be reunited with loved ones after all of this time, like everyone else has been and not locked away and forgotten because they have little means to express their suffering in this isolation. This mental torture is far more dangerous for them than the virus. I understand each case is different but family members should be given some say over what is best for their loved ones.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!