Here is the second of three letters going to the Chief Exec of NAS. This one is about the young people with autism whose families are fighting to get them out of inappropriate placements.
I write to share my concern about the incarceration by statutory bodies of children, young people and adults with autism in inappropriate settings and to seek action by the NAS to challenge this practice.
Children are often being put in residential placements, hospitals or Assessment and Treatment Units that are hundreds of miles away from their families and are also too often run by organisations who apply policies and practices that fail to take account of the young person’s autism, thus making inappropriate, sometimes damaging, provision for the young person placed in their care.
You will be familiar with the current cases of Josh Wills, Stephen Martinez, Thomas Rawnsley, Claire Dyer, Jack Beres, Nicole Longhorn, Dave Ashby and Chris McCarrick – all young people who have been placed at great distances from their families and/or in placements that do not appropriately understand and support their condition of autism.
I am aware that the NAS campaigns to improve services for children and young people as well as adults. However, I believe that in cases such as those cited above - when some of these young people have suffered abuse as a result of their placements; when their human rights are being neglected or abused; when they have been detained under the Mental Health Act when in fact they are not mentally ill, but autistic - there is an imperative for the UK's largest autism charity to use whatever means possible to proactively support each of these families in their efforts to secure the release of their children and find alternative person and family-friendly supported living solutions.
The NAS has caseworkers. It has access to a legal network as well as access to politicians and other key influencers. It helped bring about the Autism Act. It is surely now time for the NAS to put the Autism Act to the test. The NAS is the organisation best placed to support families to bring legal challenges against health or social care bodies for being in breach of their statutory duty to provide appropriate services for children and adults with autism.
What is NAS doing to directly support each of the above families in their struggles to secure appropriate placements for their children?
End of letter. Any response will be published as soon as I receive it and if you want to write to NAS to raise your own concerns about this please do so. The Chief Exec’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org