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Child with ASD sent 300 miles away from family

(18 Posts)
BirdinFlight Tue 08-Mar-16 21:57:44

I've just come across this story on my local BBC News website. I can't believe there's not a better solution for this child than to be sent 300 miles away from his family. I have a DS with ASD & the thought of having him sent that far away is unbearable. I'm no stranger to the issues with the NHS but 300 miles?! How is that supposed to help a vulnerable child?! Surely children need the stability & love of their family around them, it can't be good for his MH to be separated.

I got a little angry on their behalf & needed somewhere to vent. On her petition page his mum says he was put in one place & there were concerns about his care, then they talked about moving him closer to home but that couldn't be set up soon enough & he had to be moved sooner, which is why he's now 300 miles away. That was back in Sept 2013, why couldn't they have continued planning to move him closer?

This has really touched a nerve for me. We're having problems with my DS's behaviour, but at least I get to be there for him when he's stressed, even if it is difficult. sad

BeckerLleytonNever Fri 11-Mar-16 18:25:07

Absolutley agree 100 % with you OP.

My child has ASD and multiple other issues too and over my dead body would they EVER get taken even down the end of the road away from me, never mind across the country.

The childs parents shouldn't have allowed it, Im sure the council could have provided a carer part time at leats.

PeppasNanna Fri 11-Mar-16 18:38:28

The parents didn't have any choice in the matter. There are many similar cases on the UK. The parents lose their legal control/ powers when the the child is sectioned.

I have 2 ds with ASD & ADHD. Social services won't provide a Carer. Both boys have Personal Budgets that will pay for a playcsheme place for 12 days per annum.

There for the grace of God & all that...

It could happen to any of our vulnerable children.

waitingforgodot Fri 11-Mar-16 18:58:35

I agree with peppa and think folk are too quick to blame the parents.

BirdinFlight Sat 12-Mar-16 18:30:00

Sorry, in no way did I intend to imply the parents were at fault. As far as I can see they were just doing their best & trying to get him the help he needed. It's the system that's failed him, not his parents.

Yy, Peppa, it could happen to lots of vulnerable children. I've been googling & found quite a few other stories out there, although this seems to be the most extreme in distance/time. There just seems to be a lack of understanding - you can't take a child with ASD out of one situation & plonk them in another, further away from their family, & expect them to be fine with that. A NT child would struggle, let alone one who has difficulties communicating their anxieties.

zaryiah Sat 12-Mar-16 19:32:29

"The parents lose their legal control/ powers when the the child is sectioned."

I just wanted to comment on this because it is categorically not true and I wouldn't want parents to be afraid. If someone is sectioned under the Mental Health Act, their nearest relative (NR) is consulted. There is complex legislation and case law surrounding this but assuming you and your child's birth father are married, the oldest parent is the nearest relative. The law demands that the NR is consulted/involved. You can contest the section, although in some cases, if there is risk to the ill person's life, it can be overruled.

However, it is a disgrace at the national shortage of mental health beds. It is not acceptable. I feel it's inhumane to take mentally ill people so far away from their families. There is a crisis, yet it rarely makes the local news, let alone the national news.

BirdinFlight Sat 12-Mar-16 22:20:44

There's a few more stories here.

Interesting to know a bit about the legal stuff, although knowing that parents can be overruled is a bit scary. I'd like to assume that only happens in the most extreme cases... but then I'd assumed vulnerable children were kept with their families, or at least nearby if they need more care.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sun 13-Mar-16 08:28:11

Eddie has been diagnosed as autistic, with ADHD and dyspraxia. In 2012 he was placed in a residential school near his home for a trial period with support for his challenging behaviour.
But he did not cope and harmed himself as well as causing damage to the school.* (from the link)

I always wonder if the residential school plays some part in this sort of problem? Institutions such as residential schools for the mentally disturbed are not well known for looking after people with respect.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sun 13-Mar-16 08:31:36

If someone is sectioned under the Mental Health Act, their nearest relative (NR) is consulted.

Does consulted mean that the wishes of the NR are met, or does it mean the authorities did a tick box then carried on regardles of what the NR wants?

frikadela01 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:40:22

Does consulted mean that the wishes of the NR are met, or does it mean the authorities did a tick box then carried on regardles of what the NR wants?

I'm an RMN admittedly only work with adults but in my experience it's a tick box exercise. NR have the power to appeal a section however ultimately it comes down to what risks the person sectioned poses to themselves or others.

The law isn't the issue here though imo. It's the shortage of mental health beds and in particular specialist services for people with LD. I work in West Yorkshire and have known patients be sent all the way to the south coast as that's where the beds were. Last year a ward in my trust had 2 people sleeping on sofas because there was not a single NHS bed available in the entire country. Yet as pp says it never makes the news. It's makes me so mad.

zaryiah Sun 13-Mar-16 09:52:44

This blog gives an excellent and accurate outline of the NR's rights:

In the vast majority of cases, the NR agrees that their loved one needs psychiatric treatment. The issue is lack of beds.

Actionforeddie1 Sun 13-Mar-16 16:39:31

i am desperate to raise awareness of such a difficult situation - my son has complex disabilities bipolar and epilepsy - he is forced to live in hospital one that is a 600 mile round trip for us to see him.
I know we are not the only family doing this - there is no facility here in the south west and I am really wanting to get this petition to government to look at how there is a need in the southwest for a facility to treat children like my son. He was 13 when he left - we were told 9 months treatment tops .... It's 3 and a half years later -
If you could sign and share this petition that would be amazing -

Actionforeddie1 Sun 13-Mar-16 17:08:00

iv been reading through the comments - thank you all -
Just to say the whole journey has been tough and unless you are going through it , it's hard to comprehend-
All I know is that through every thing that has happened I have always had my son and his health as a priority.
When your child is so distressed and the professionals say a month at a residential school with a specialist program would help make him well ,you jump ! - Amazing help at last as so many other things have failed ... Daily carers - rest bite as well as schools refusing to take him
When your child struggles with the move the new school , the fact that staff were agency staff nothing familiar or regular , it was a brand new school, it was Christmas and no one involved in his care was available, add to that he was very unwell and not rational in any way - when told (the night of Christmas Day ) because your son gets so upset when you leave each day he is very destructive and actually not to visit any more .... It is just heart breaking - this is your little boy. Just 13 mentally about 5
After a few days you get a call saying he is so unstable he needs to be sectioned and receive treatment in hospital -
Of course with out a doubt I said no - the reply to that ... If I didn't sign to agree it would be seen that I did not have his best interests at heart and a process to take me to court and have him put in the care of social services would be made - this would leave me with very little , if any , input in his life.
And now he is in a system ... An institution - one so far from any thing we thought would be for our son. Just a 13 year old boy . My son.
Because he is a child his section is always contested ...
The issue isn't around the section - it's around the distance we have to travel . How it affects him.
Even under a section bespoke places can be made (more and more examples of this as previous patients of winter borne view are having personal packages created)
We miss him
We regret asking for help
Of course it goes without saying we would do anything to change things.
And that's why I'm trying to get it out there ! For the world to know - what happens if you have a child that through no fault of his own (or his parents ) is disabled ,has a learning disability... If they need mental health treatment to- the southwest has nothing !!!
Hospital placements that also house criminals ... Not the therapeutic help a child like mine needs - it's simply the only place that will take him ....
I would ask you put yourselves in my shoes as a mum without her child - I gave bith to him , I made him ... I feel So much guilt it's beyond comprehension-
But I wouldn't wish this on anyone .
The system needs to change -

tootiredtothink Sun 13-Mar-16 17:15:44

I know how horrific this process can be but i was one of the lucky ones who managed to get dd out after a couple of weeks....and I only had an hour round trip.

Actionforeddie1 Sun 13-Mar-16 17:19:02

Thank you so very much for signing X

anonacfr Mon 14-Mar-16 13:21:37

Just signed. I have a 7 year old with severe autism and your post made me cry.

CurrerBell Tue 15-Mar-16 09:24:25

Have signed the petition. Am also in the south west and have a 9 yo with ASD... I have some experience of fighting the system, but I had no idea that a family could be put through this. It's horrific.

BirdinFlight Thu 17-Mar-16 18:56:33

Thanks for coming to chat to us Actionforeddie1. Please know that you've got lots of support - this shouldn't happen to any family & there are people who are willing to try & help you get him closer.

Just bumping this again in case anyone else wants to sign. The petition is rapidly approaching 7000 signatures! smile

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