Petition update

Local Professional Failings Before SS Referral

Autistic Parent
United Kingdom

Nov 14, 2016 — Dear Supporters,

some of you will have experienced similar things that our family has experienced. We have to ask, how 'professionals' who have committed gross failings and neglect, can have their opinions (no matter how wrong) automatically accepted as respected and honest? Please see the following, regarding local failings to see what I mean by that.

CAMHS

Brighton & Hove Healthwatch published a damning 2014 report on our local CAMHS (nothing has improved since that time):

"Putting the Pieces Together: An overview of people’s experiences of CAMHS services in Brighton and Hove"
http://www.healthwatchbrightonandhove.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/final_draft_with_responses_-_26.11.14_final.pdf

A research article about CAMHS and autism, which explains how devastating such failings can be and why the need for autism expertise is a high priority:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21053660
"One in 10 children and young people who use Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) has autism. Recent research by The National Autistic Society (NAS) into the effectiveness of these services has revealed a serious lack of understanding and support, with some families reporting that they have had to wait for years to receive help. The research involved a survey of 455 parents of children and young people with autism, together with qualitative findings from parental and young people's focus groups, a survey of CAMHS professionals and visits to CAMHS sites. Responses from parents, young people and professionals indicated that CAMHS did not have the knowledge or the skills to identify or treat mental health problems in children with autism.This can have profound consequences for the health and well-being of the whole family. Autism is a complex disability that can make it harder to diagnose concomitant mental health problems. It is a condition that can make it more difficult for professionals to develop successful, trusting relationships with children, and requires services to be adapted to the individual child. Mainstream interventions and treatments, if unadjusted, will usually fail to improve the mental health of a child with autism and may even make things worse."

Specifically, Brighton & Hove CAMHS failings towards autistic children, as surveyed via local parents very recently:
http://media.wix.com/ugd/58c8f1_0318f3e12cca4f738f01a7bd7b84e956.pdf

Professionals who had provably failed our family diagnostically (both with autism and co-morbid mental ill-health diagnoses caused by school struggles), were present at social services' illegal strategy meeting, to criticise me as a parent and autistic adult, simply for trying to get our children's needs met in the face of these failures and lack of autism expertise. Where our children have suffered due to failings, of course I would persist in trying to get resolution for them as any dedicated parent would. Lies in the referral, lies at the strategy meeting and lies in the subsequent social services report. Fabrication and wholesale distortion, written as fact. Doing the opposite of what they claim they do, about supporting children.

Local media from 2014 about the service failings towards autism families (again, nothing has changed still):

‘Harrowing stories’ suggest experts have been failing Brighton and Hove’s autistic children"
http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2014/04/25/harrowing-stories-suggest-experts-have-been-failing-brighton-and-hoves-autistic-children/

"Brighton and Hove parents of autistic children face unfair criticism"
http://thelatest.co.uk/brighton/2013/09/17/brighton-and-hove-parents-of-autistic-children-face-unfair-criticism/

LOCAL AUTHORITY

Regarding the LA, like many autism parents across the UK, we have experienced:

* The LA refusing to assess autistic child for statement of SEN despite failure to cope in school;
* The LA fighting parents on an alternative provision despite breakdown of 2 consecutive mainstream school placements for one autistic child;
* The LA fighting on a special school placement despite documented professional evidence on child's inability to cope in mainstream for other autistic child with complex needs;
* The LA disputing support required for specific SEN autistic child has, which resulted in school-refusal in child;
* LA EP direct breach of law: Section 7:75 "If their child is to be examined or assessed, parents must also be informed of their right to be present with their child at any interview, test, medical or other assessment which is being
conducted..." https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/273877/special_educational_needs_code_of_practice.pdf not only did they not inform us, but the EP made me leave the room and this was detrimental to our child who was highly anxious and uncomfortable.
* LA chaos and ineptitude - telling us our child's ASD diagnosis was not autism, lengthy delays to processes, mistakes, generic copy and pastes irrelevant to our child, failure to specify SEN and action required in EHCP etc.

The NAS report "School Report 2016" evidences how UK schools just aren't supporting our autistic children even adequately, let-alone allowing our vulnerable children to thrive and reach potential:

http://www.autism.org.uk/schoolreport2016
"New report shows parents still face long battles to get right support for children"

AUTISTIC ADULTS RIGHTS

"Autism Strategy statutory guidance"
http://www.autism.org.uk/about/strategy/statutory-guidance.aspx

"The Government published a new statutory guidance in March 2015, which replaced an existing guidance from 2010.

It clearly states that local authorities and the NHS:

*should provide autism awareness training for all staff
*must provide specialist autism training for key staff, such as GPs and community care assessors"

Protected characteristics in law:

Equality Act 2010
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/protected-characteristics
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

The Disability Equality Duty (DED). This is statutory for all public bodies and their employees:

"The duty requires that, when carrying out its functions, a public authority is to have due regard for the need to:

* promote equality of opportunity between disabled people and other people
* eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Act
* eliminate harassment of disabled people that is related to their disability
* promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
* encourage participation by disabled people in public life
* take steps to meet disabled people’s needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment.

The DED applies to all public authorities"

So WHY are the LA targeting this autistic parent? There are multiple laws being breached.

CEREBRA RESEARCH ON SEN PARENTS

The Cerebra booklet for parent/carers of disabled children (including autism) (available here http://w3.cerebra.org.uk/help-and-information/stress-helpline/) quotes:

"When parents request help from Professionals they are devastated if they receive a negative response."

"In a small number of instances parents actually feel that the Professionals are working against them."

"Mothers and fathers of disabled children are fulfilling essential roles and society, local authorities and the government need to give them as much support as they possibly can to fulfil these responsibilities."

"The survey results show that the Professionals who are employed to help the parents, in some instances, actually increase their stress levels."

"Relationships with social workers are not as good. Less than half of those interviewed had seen a social worker in the previous twelve months and some had never met a social worker. 60% did not even have a key worker. Social workers are the group of Professionals that cause the most stress in parents as they either are not in regular contact with the families or do not seem to actually do anything to improve the situation."

"Additionally, parents thought that the Professionals did not listen to them or, if they did listen, little action followed."

Note the comment about social workers causing the most stress? Imagine you are autistic and you can magnify that further.

The difference it makes when parents are treated as partners and respected and how they should approach seeking their child's needs to be met:

"An empowered parent:

»» knows the rights of his/her child and knows the channels to use to seek justice for his/her child;
»» can contribute to the resolution of the problems the child faces and will not just take instruction from Professionals, being afraid to air their views;
»» insists his/her child is included in family and community life and will explore laws and policies to find out how they can protect their son/daughter, and
»» understands and insists that a child with a disability deserves the same dignity as another child.

The more knowledge and information the parents have, the easier it becomes to cope with the ‘system’."

Yet for being an 'empowered parent', I have been maliciously targeted. A light must be shone on these horrors. Please continue to help share this petition for signatures, unless people stand up to this, it will continue to harm more families across the UK and elsewhere.


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