115 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Mary Hardie, Jeremy Hunt MP, Sheralee Turner-Birchall

Save Calderstones Hospital from closure! Turn it into a specialist autism medical centre!

Calderstones Hospital, more recently known as Specialist Learning Disability Division at Mersey Care Whalley, is threatened with closure. At present, Calderstones is a secure facility in Lancashire for people with learning disabilities and autism. While our charity does not in any way support long-term hospital care for people with learning disabilities, we feel it would be a waste of resources to close the site down. In view of the massive increase in the rate of autism in recent years, we would like to see Calderstones converted into a specialist centre dedicated to the investigation and treatment of the medical conditions associated with autism. To date, there is no such facility in the United Kingdom. Research shows that there are a large number of medical conditions, such as seizure disorders, acid reflux or migraines, which are far more common in autism than in the general population. However, these conditions may be difficult to diagnose in people with autism, especially those who are non-verbal. People with severe autism may express pain in an atypical way, for example, through aggression or self-injury. Our charity has received numerous reports of such symptoms being attributed, without investigation, to 'autism behaviours'. The consequences can be devastating. For example, children later found to have painful—but treatable—acid reflux have been prescribed antipsychotic medication, which is totally inappropriate, and has serious potential side-effects. And who knows how many families have taken the agonising decision to put their child into residential care due to behaviours that may have been caused by treatable medical conditions? The human cost of such needless suffering is incalculable. What is more, some of the medical conditions associated with autism can be life-shortening. Shockingly, the average life expectancy for a person with severe autism is only 39.5 years. When professionals dismiss symptoms of medical issues as 'autism behaviours', they are failing this vulnerable group of people. In light of the statistics, this failure could, in some cases, prove to be a death sentence. It is for these reasons that we call for Calderstones Hospital to be converted into the first national specialist centre for comorbid medical conditions associated with autism. Given the diversity of such conditions, the centre could bring together specialists in gastroenterology, immunology, neurology, allergies, errors of metabolism, mitochondrial disorders and endocrinology to assess and prescribe treatment for children and adults on the basis of the underlying medical causes of their behavioural symptoms. This could potentially improve the quality of life of thousands of people with autism, and would establish the site as a world class centre of excellence for autism-related medical conditions. Autism has recently been shown to cost the country a staggering £32 billion per year, more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined. These costs are likely to rise even higher in the future, due to the skyrocketing autism rates. Much of the economic impact arises from the cost of the high level of care required by many adults and children with challenging behaviours. This means that there is scope for enormous savings to be made by providing appropriate treatment which could potentially reduce some of the most disabling and difficult to manage symptoms associated with autism. We believe that, in the long run, these savings would easily cover the cost of setting up and running the specialist autism centre. It is time for people with autism to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, and to be provided with the timely and appropriate medical treatment to which they are entitled. A specialist centre at the Calderstones Hospital site would be an important first step towards this goal. Further reading: Medical Comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2014 Health and service provision for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2016 Autism is the most costly medical condition in the UK, 2014 Hirvikoski T, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Boman M, et al. (2016) Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder. Br J Psychiatry. Mar;208(3):232-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.160192. Schendel DE, Overgaard M, Christensen J, et al. (2016) Association of Psychiatric and Neurologic Comorbidity With Mortality Among Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Danish Population. JAMA Pediatr. Mar;170(3):243-50. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015. 3935.          

Treating Autism
10,462 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Damian Hinds, Robert Goodwill MP

Time to stop pushing KS1 into our reception classes and extend "Early Years" to 7!

What are the essential skills for life in the 21st century? What do our children really need to know?  What do they need to understand?  Does the current English system give them this? does not. Our children need communication skills, personal, social and emotional development, physical skills, embedded literacy and maths skills, an understanding of their world and the people in it. They need characteristics such as resilience, perseverance, creative thinking, the ability to solve problems, think outside the box, independence, risk taking, make connections. They need confidence and the ability to learn from mistakes as they grow in a world which is a challenging place to be...and becoming more so by the day. The irony of all of the above is that we currently have a curriculum in England that delivers much of the above and more. It is the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. The only problem is it ends when children leave Reception classes. For many children, it is ending in the Reception classes due to pressures to be so called "National Curriculum" ready!  This notion of moving children towards KS1 during their Reception year was highlighted in OFSTED's recent report into the Reception year: (  It was seen as positive that Reception teachers were starting KS1 learning in their Early Years classes in a bid to make children ready for Yr1 expectations, expectations that are developmentally inappropriate! How can this be right? Many of these children are still 4 years old.  Every child in reception is entitled to an early years education, not a watered down pale imitation. Surely its time to stop pushing the flawed and inappropriate KS1 curriculum into our Reception classes and time to push up a curriculum that is tried, tested and proven. A curriculum with relationships, environments and child development at its core.  The early years of life do not end at age 4 or 5.  They end at 7 or 8..and that is the age when learning should become more formal. This is when most children are developmentally ready for such approaches.  Look abroad at nations like Finland where this is just what happens.  Their children are thriving and out performing ours.  Our children (and their families and teacher's) are tired, stressed, pressured and fed up. Children as young as 4 are switched off and see learning as boring....    Time to stop the testing our over tested children. Time to stop making children do things they are not ready for. Time to make a change for our children, their families and our educational workforce. Let's stand together to make a change for the future. WB Yeats stated that: "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire". It's time to find the matches...

Keeping Early Years Unique
32,025 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Human Rights Campaign, Theresa May MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Birmingham City Council

Let my son be with his family

Where to begin. First and foremost Birmingham Children's Services have themselves stated my son has NEVER come to ANY harm in the care of his mother/myself. My son was placed on a child protection register at birth due to me having convictions for violence 4 years previous, he was kept on child protection aged 3 months due to the fact he was "a very advanced baby" and this "may have led his mother to expect to much of him which might cause significant emotional harm". From July 2014-September 2014 my son , his mother and myself lived a happy peaceful life the days were spent loving,nurturing and enjoying our cheery,happy perfect baby ,however we made the grave error of reporting the fact social worker NADINE REDSHAW was turning up clearly intoxicated and had pictures on her Facebook of her friends babies drinking cans of carling, after that Children's Services embarked upon a smear campaign with the aim of stealing our son for adoption. We were branded "bizarre and paranoid" for refusing to strip our son naked in front of a room full of 10/12 strangers, his mother was labelled as "having a learning difficulty she struggled with" - she has genius level IQ (Children's services declined her offer to take an IQ test), we were branded "tremendously defiant" for refusing to sign our son over to my abusive mother , his mother simply asking for the law to be adhered to meant she had "personality difficulties" and quiet unbelievably our next door neighbours were asked to sign a statement "telling a little white lie" - the "little white lie" being that my son's mother had gone out and left our son in the house unsupervised. Back in December 2014 my son was illegally and viciously seperated from his mother by Birmingham Children's Services and my own mother who has a history of abusing children. 2 days before Christmas his mother went to collect him only to have my own mother refuse to hand him over whilst screaming PPO (police protection order) at my son's mother so his mother rung the police to retrieve our son only for the social worker SYEDA TAHERAH AHMED to lie to the police and claim my mother had custody. The reason Social Services gave for so brazenly breaking the law was "the child may be harmed" due to the fact that his mother and myself had had a verbal disagreement when our son wasnt in our care. His mother wanted to take our son to her fathers home in a different city without me. She kept trying to get our son back for the same thing to keep happening until we were taken to court. My mother made up a pack of lies to try and keep our son for herself. Social Services advocated for her relentlessly and the courts put our son in the care of this woman despite the fact at the time she was under police investigation for serious child abuse allegations perpetrated against her own children (me). Thankfully an independent social worker highlighted what a danger this woman was and my son was removed. Me and his mother PASSED a parenting assessment, we proved all allegations against us to be lies and his mother offered to take our son upon him being returned to her care to live at her fathers home away from myself (the "problem"). However Children's services decided to press for adoption due to facts we are still unsure of. At the Final Hearing the social worker was proven to have lied repeatedly about his mother and so had the guardian ELAINE BENNETT. After a 5 day hearing and a 2 week wait we were told our son would be placed for adoption due to the fact his mother had "drawn a malicious picture" of the social worker and because his mother had asked the social worker SYEDA TAHERAH AHMED and manager RUTH EVELYN HILL to apologise for the fact she had been told she could not care for him as a vunerable single parent. Barbara Carter of Barbara Carter Solicitors was the judge behind this scandalous decision she made findings on things his mother was not even questioned about,falsely claimed my sons mother accepted threshold and felt it appropriate to describe him as 'a very attractive baby to adopters' (one of the reasons the order was given according to Barbara Carter). Legal Aid solicitors CARTWRIGHT KING and BLAIR ALLISON colluded with BCS to remove our son for 'potential risk of emotional harm'. My son has until March to be rescued from the clutches of strangers, strangers who follow a completely different religion to him, strangers who are ripping a child from a loving mother to help fill a void in there own lives. My son is not your baby to have, He has a family who love and want him, he is the centre of the whole family and without him it is pointless. His mother says her home feels like someone has died without him in it. He doesn't deserve to be punished for my actions, his mother doesn't deserve to be punished because of my actions and he definitely doesn't need ripping from his family until he is 18 for things his mother "may or may not do" based on MY past. His mother due to Birmingham Family Courts decision to refuse to process her appeals for some unknown reason now has to wait to oppose the adoption order. Enough signatures will get my son's voice heard and just maybe if his voice is heard loud enough he might just might be returned to where he belongs and the courts might stop ignoring applications put before them and see justice done. If the family courts weren't secret he would have NEVER been removed. I quote Paul Pennington-Wilson (independent social worker) : "The parents present as loving parents who's lives revolve around their son" and finally i quote judge Barbara Carter "the mother is clearly a very bright,intelligent,engaging and fiesty young woman with much to offer those around her including her son." Tom Latimer

Tom Latimer Snr
6,979 supporters