Petition update

How Discriminatory Social Services Make Autistic Mothers Live in Fear

Autistic Parent
United Kingdom

Apr 19, 2017 — Dear Supporters,

I would be grateful for your continued sharing of the petition, as signatures have slowed right down.

In the media, there continue to be examples of discrimination against autistic mothers:

"Even once diagnosed, mothers with autism often hide their condition from the outside world, terrified their children will be removed from them if social workers misinterpret their autistic traits as indicating potential harm to the child.

“Their own autism, often undiagnosed, means they put professionals’ backs up and can be accused of causing or fabricating their children’s condition,” said Dr Judith Gould, the lead consultant and former director of the Lorna Wing Centre for Autism who developed the first and only female-specific diagnostic tests, and who trains doctors in how to recognise late-adult female diagnosis."

“Nicola, 39, was diagnosed at 34 after stumbling across information on autism and women when researching her son’s symptoms. My children are happy and doing well at school. What other measure can there be that I’m a good mother? But because of my autism, I live in fear. Society thinks that autistic mothers are, first and foremost, a safeguarding issue. I’m terrified that social services will take them away from me."

“Melanie Mahjenta was accused of a rare form of child abuse – fabricated or induced illness (FII) – by paediatricians and social services in 2015 during her fight to get her three-year-old daughter, Rosie, diagnosed with autism.

The team also failed to recognise that I was on the autistic spectrum, although I told them that I believed I was. They should have been able to recognise my behaviour – which I understand can be challenging – as typical of an autistic parent. Instead, in 2014, they held a safeguarding meeting to discuss whether I was exaggerating Rosie’s symptoms. This single area of concern led directly to a referral to children’s services and to Rosie being made a child in need, a decision that was taken without any formal review."

And councils behaving unlawfully towards autism families must be stopped:

"A Peterborough family has won a High Court legal battle against Peterborough City Council after the local authority unlawfully put their seven-year-old daughter under a child protection plan when there was no evidence of neglect.

The young girl, who has autism and cannot be named, stopped eating and drinking due to sensory issues a few years ago and a naso-gastric tube was fitted to feed her. In the following years a dispute developed between her parents and the medical team at Peterborough City Hospital about how best to treat her."

As the law firm said:

“Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident and as a firm we have seen other cases in the past where local authorities have placed disabled children on child protection plans instead of meeting their needs as a disabled “child in need”.

Your autistic children will be adults who may become parents, we must stop this blatant discrimination and law breaking.

These LAs need to be made an example of. So please do all you can to continue sharing so new signatures can be obtained. Many thanks.

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