Autistic teens face 'barbaric' treatment, parents tell MPs

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 63
Gender: Male
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Location: Long Island, New York

28 Apr 2021, 3:20 am


The mother of a teenager with autism has told MPs that her daughter's treatment in the care of the NHS was "barbaric and inhumane".

Benji O'Reilly, who herself works for the NHS, described a "prison-like environment" endured by her daughter.
MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee also heard from Dr Sarah Ryan whose son Connor Sparrowhawk died in a bath in a learning disability unit.

Care minister Helen Whately said she backed better support in the community.

The hearing comes as a serious case review into Jonty Bravery, who threw a six-year-old boy from a balcony at London's Tate Modern, highlights a national shortage of specialist and residential care for children and young people with complex and high-risk behaviours

Ms O'Reilly, a former nurse who now works in healthcare planning, wept as she told MPs how her daughter had waited three years for community support.

In her last admission, in October 2020, the girl was forced to wait 30 hours in an emergency department before being transferred to an infant ward.

There, her mother says, she was "kept in a tiny box-sized, bland side-room for four weeks, with no fresh air, no exercise, no stimulation, no activities, not able to see friends, family, pets".

Unsurprisingly, she had a huge meltdown and started displaying some, what is seen as, challenging behaviour".
The teenager has been an inpatient for the past seven months, in a hospital "miles away from home", without access to her phone and cut off from friends, home, community, school and hobbies, Ms O'Reilly told MPs.
"She has been treated like a criminal at times. She has often asked why she's being punished."

Ms O'Reilly described how her daughter was "physically pulled away from me and restrained in front of my eyes", having been left "screaming and crying for her mum" when the hospital cancelled a planned visit at the last minute.

Dr Ryan said the only treatment her 18-year-old son was offered during the 107 days he spent at the specialist unit where he died, was a change in medication which increased his seizures.
"We are generating traumatic experiences for people and then puzzling about why we cannot release people back into the community," she said.
"There is absolutely no reason why anybody should be restrained or secluded in the 21st century for health-related reasons."
Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt suggested the UK needed a "radical change" in its care of people with learning disabilities and autism.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
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28 Apr 2021, 10:26 am

heart-breaking, infuriating, way unnecessary.

Hopefully, the light of publicity will bring the reforms which really should be damn obvious at this point.


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Joined: 14 Sep 2011
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18 May 2021, 11:51 pm

Is this the UK version of Judge Rotterdamned Central?


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Joined: 4 Dec 2018
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19 May 2021, 3:55 pm

After reading this article, it made me feel intensely upset as; it reminded, of how people back in the late 19th century were often deemed as being,'unfit' whereby, they would be shipped off and confined to a mental hospital. Oh, and not just that but cases where people whom; had, profound epilepsy or some other phenomena where, society didn't wish to deal with such were forcibly lobotomized.. I recall the following:"How a society treats its most vulnerable is always the measure of its humanity." :(

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