Sunday 26 January 2014

Fabricated or Induced Illness and autism

There is a huge backstory to this post, but as the case is still in progress, it would be inappropriate to expand on it.  Suffice it to say that it seems clear, from talking to other parent advocates and organisations involved in supporting families of children with autism (including adult children) that there is an increase in allegations of 'Fabricated or Induced Illness' (what used to be called Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy) being used against parents - to control and/or intimidate - especially when parents are asking services for support or challenging service decisions.
Here are some things I have learned from supporting parents of a child with autism who have been accused of FII.  I am sharing this because from my 'travels' around this area recently, it seems that there are procedures that govern how allegations of FII should be managed.....and in most cases, it seems that professionals are not following these procedures. 
For anyone who has been accused of fabricating or inducing illness in their children or themselves, your local safeguarding board should have a procedure on establishing and managing FII. In the guidelines, there should be a very clear procedure to be followed, which usually involves:

a) Looking for alternative explanations for symptoms of FII, testing other hypotheses and documenting this

 b) Undertaking a core assessment on any children in whom FII is suspected

 c) Getting the medical practitioner responsible for the child's health to do an evaluation of the child and their 'symptoms'

 d) Establishing a chronology of (alleged) FII events

 e) Ensuring that there is contemporaneous documentation of FII 'events' in all agency records (signed by the professional and their manager)

If professionals haven't followed the procedure that is outlined in their Safeguarding Board's policy and your child/ren have been placed on a Child Protection Plan, then you HAVE A RIGHT TO APPEAL AGAINST THE CP DECISION. 
If you are not satisfied with the response at stages 1 and 2 of the appeal, it can go all the way to the Ombudsman or in some cases, to Judicial Review. Here are the national guidelines for establishing and managing FII. All local guidelines use these as a reference point, so if you cant find local guidelines, use these.

And don't forget to do Subject Access Requests to each of the agencies involved in the CP conference asking for copies of all reports, communications, emails etc. relating to you and your children. That way you will see exactly what they have been writing about you and your children and it could be evidence to help your case.

If you need help and support around allegations of FII or false allegations of other types of abuse, please contact Parents Protecting Children, False Allegations Support Organisation or Parents Against Injustice.  John Hemming MP is also campaigning in this field.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Dr Stephen Shore interviews an RDI Consultant about the RDI approach

Starting off the new year with a refresher look at Relationship Development Intervention.  Here Dr Stephen Shore (autism advocate, author, musician) interviews Dr Stacy Goresko (RDI Consultant).

Dr Shore asks what are the important features of RDI, how progress should be measured, what are the unique strengths of RDI and what makes it different from other approaches.