Briefing Paper

Incompetent, Abusive, or both? - Scottish Executive policy and legislation on Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - `Autism Rights` Briefing Paper April 2007
The following document is a full picture of the various pieces of legislation, regulation and policy emanating from the Scottish Executive that have been concerning Autism Rights for some time now. As time has moved on, the cumulative impact that will be wrought by this new legislation, regulation and policy has become abundantly clear and goes further and faster than legislative change in the rest of the U.K.. We do not believe that government is unaware of the potential negative impact of these changes on the human rights of people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. We are not prepared to accept government's bland assurances of good intentions, nor are we prepared to suffer political `spin` as a replacement for repeal or reform of this policy and legislation.


Amongst the provisions of the Adult Support and Protection Bill , a local authority has the power to take an adult with ASD out of their family home, against their will and without the right of appeal. There is also the power to imprison any of their family members that resist such a measure. Given the absence of any knowledge of ASD, let alone expertise, amongst virtually all the relevant professionals who would be dealing with such a situation, and given the fact that there is a great deal of intimidation in the system which is used to deny services to people with an ASD, there is ample scope for disaster as far as families of people with ASD are concerned. We are extremely concerned about the potential of this Bill on its own, let alone its interaction with legislation such as the Adults with Incapacity Act and the Mental Health Act, the latter of which makes provision for enforced medication in the community of people (i.e. adults and children) who have a `mental disorder`. The Scottish Executive has classed ASD as a `mental disorder`4. To put this into context, some of our members have been struggling for years to get their adult sons out of mental institutions where their physical and mental health is being destroyed by drugs. These drugs are particularly dangerous for people with ASD, because of the medical problems that they suffer from5. There is little understanding or recognition of the nature of ASD within mental hospitals and so drugs are used inappropriately.


The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) produces clinical guidelines for the Scottish Executive: it is the direct equivalent of NICE, which operates in the rest of the UK. The SIGN guidelines on ASD6 were due for publication in the winter of 2006, the projected publication date was moved forward to the end of March 2007 and will not now be published until 2-4 weeks after the Scottish Parliamentary elections, which are on May 3rd7. As the draft of these guidelines promotes the use of drugs for the control of adults and children with autism, as against dietary change (such as the gluten free / casein free diet) or nutritional supplementation, we do not expect the final version to deviate from these proposals. We know that the SIGN guidelines on ADHD have resulted in a large increase in prescriptions for children with this label8, we also know that there is a major push by pharmaceutical companies to expand their business into the `treatment` of children with ASD9. The Scottish Executive has shown its support for such expansion, through the clear bias towards pharmaceutical `treatments` that were presented at the Scottish Executive's conference on ASD in November 200510.

Using drugs to control people with ASD is in direct conflict with the European Charter for the Rights of Persons with Autism11. The only application for the drugs that are recommended in the draft SIGN guidelines is to control autistic behaviours that result when the child is under stress from inappropriate educational or healthcare provision12.


Autism Rights supported a petition13 to the Scottish Parliament that they adopt the European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism, which was adopted by the European Parliament in 1996. The Petitions Committee passed this on to the Health Committee to include it in its consideration of the Adult Support and Protection Bill14 (and, in the process, disregarded the fact that the Charter applies equally to children as to adults). The Health Committee has failed to do this, and has taken evidence from the National Autistic Society (NAS) instead as a substitute for this15, in spite of the fact that the NAS failed to sign the petition to the Scottish Parliament on the European Charter. The NAS did not even have the courtesy to reply to 2 separate requests from the petitioner and from myself that they sign the petition16 - even though the NAS were one of the organisations that originally supported the adoption of the European Charter by the European Parliament in 1996. Notably, the NAS failed to flag up the concerns we have outlined on the powers that are proposed to force an adult with ASD out of the family home against their will and instead pressed for advocacy to be made available to people with autism17. The NAS provides a limited advocacy service for education via a telephone helpline.

As if the balance of power were not sufficiently in favour of the government, the governing party in the Scottish Executive has seen fit to precipitate the closure of the Cross Party Group on ASD of the Scottish Parliament and has substituted this with an Informal Parliamentary Network on ASD that excludes service users such as ourselves. This `network` was established by the autism charities and by the MSP who had resigned her convenership of the Cross Party Group (CPG) some months earlier and had its first meeting on 11th May 2006. The CPG was closed by a decision taken by some Office Bearers, the former convener and by executives from the autism charities on 1st June 2006. The establishment of the Informal Parliamentary Network gives the lie to the claim made by MSPs and the charities that they could not muster enough political support amongst MSPs to keep the CPG going. The full, documented details of the events surrounding the closure of the CPG on ASD are available from Autism Rights, but a summary is appended in the numbered references at the end of this document18. Although Autism Rights pursued a complaint against the closure of the CPG, the regulations on CPGs and the conduct of MSPs are inadequate and can do nothing, for instance, to censure MSPs who close a CPG without following the universally accepted practice of holding an Extraordinary or Annual General Meeting (in other words, at least a full meeting of a group) before closing a group.


Part 3 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Bill19 has at long last received some scrutiny from MSPs, as can be seen by the most recent press coverage on the Bill20. However, the concern expressed re. `data sharing` does not centre on the data sharing on the children themselves, but on the adults who will work with them. MSPs decided to postpone consideration of Part 3 of this Bill and to include it instead within scrutiny of the proposed Children's Services Bill. These legislative changes are the only ones at Scottish level that are indicative of Executive policies on data-sharing. These policies are already in force and are being implemented within the framework of assorted pieces of Executive documentation which, on examination, reveal that the Executive's proposals for `reforming the children's support system` conflate `child support` with `child protection`. Indeed, the data sharing IT systems that are in development specifically dovetail these areas into each other. These policy documents make provision for `data sharing` on all children21, but hold particular concerns over the way they will collate and distribute professional opinion on children with disabilities22.

In practice, given the current level of ignorance amongst professionals23, and an extremely intimidating system24 for parents to negotiate to try to access service provision, these policy measures will result in even more parents accused of creating their child's `problems` and yet more damage inflicted on children with autism. Quite apart from the virtual absence of any powers that parents have to elicit service provision for their autistic children, legal aid is now virtually impossible to obtain, and is specifically ruled out of the new Additional Support for Learning Act25, which also supports `service integration` - but not service provision. Under the ASL Act, it is now virtually impossible to obtain appropriate educational provision for a child with ASD.

A test case in the Court of Session26 has now made it abundantly clear, even to those who have not studied the Additional Support for Learning Act, that all legal options to fight for specialist provision for a child with SEN are closed. The ASL Act enables local authorities to contest a case for appropriate educational provision on the basis of cost – and this latest legal decision means that cost will always overrule the interests of the child with SEN.

The recent HMIe report on educational provision for children with autism27 was a whitewash. Our criticisms of this report were comprehensively covered in an article written for the Sunday Herald and in our comments appended to the online version of the article28. Contrast this report with the recent statement from the Children's Commissioner in England that the education of autistic children was `shocking and appalling`29, together with the conclusion by the House of Commons Select Committee on Education that special education for children in England was `not fit for the purpose`30. One of the authors of an NUT sponsored report on inclusion described inclusion "as a form of abuse" for some children, who were placed in "totally inappropriate" schools where they inevitably failed31. It is simply not credible that autism education in Scotland is so much better, given that it has the lowest per capita spending on special education of the nations of the UK. Indeed, given the knowledge we have from our members of the current treatment of their adult sons and daughters, particularly within the mental health system32, we are deeply concerned at the damage being done to the mental health of autistic children through inappropriate healthcare and educational provision. Our own research and the PHIS National Needs Assessment on Child and Adolescent Mental Health confirm that there is a significant rise in mental health problems amongst children with an ASD33. The government is in denial about the damage that is being done by an educational system that is wholly incompetent to teach children with an ASD. In the 21st century, we should not still be in the position where there is no mandatory teaching qualification in SEN, and no teaching qualification at all in ASD. Over and above this, teachers in mainstream education are not expected to obtain any specialist professional qualification, even when teaching children with a severe and complex disability like ASD. It is usual for a few day release courses to be the sum total of training deemed acceptable for teaching professionals. Additionally, there are no quality indicators specific to the needs of children with an ASD, nor any adaptation to curricula to reflect their needs or strengths. It is not surprising to us that the absence of standards in the education of autistic children should result in harm to their physical and mental health, as many other parents have communicated this to us, formally and informally, over the years.

Although we have major concerns about the above noted government policies towards the human rights of people with autism, it is in the history of government policy as regards Munchausen's Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP) that we find most to worry us specific to children with ASD, because of the overlap in the features of MSBP contained within government guidelines with the international clinical criteria for ASD34. Given the absence of research data on this `syndrome` and proper peer reviewed research35, it cannot be considered to exist. Whilst we know that accusations of MSBP are disproportionately directed against parents of children with autism, and that an unknown number of autistic children have been taken into local authority `care` on the basis of such an accusation36 (through the Children's Panel system), we also know that this is the tip of a very large iceberg, where professionals often accuse parents of being responsible for their child's autistic behaviours or genuine medical problems, even where a diagnosis of ASD has been made.37 Most parents recognise that this is a defence mechanism against parents who have greater expertise in matters related to autism than the `professionals`, and is used when parents are attempting to access services that are more appropriate to the needs of their child.

We have concerns regarding other pseudo-medical diagnoses – especially Reactive Attachment Disorder38, which is at the core of a major Scottish-based research study (of 12,000 subjects) into child development linking RAD to autism.39 It is the best opportunity yet to reinvigorate the `refridgerator mother` theory for autism, and we are convinced that it will be used to bolster the continued denial of an explosion in numbers of children presenting with autism, both as regards the future and retrospectively.

The Consultation on the draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill , which is intended to support the implementation of Getting it right for every child and is due to end on 31/03/2007 is of concern.40 This proposed legislation would seem to show that the Scottish Executive is trying to put a gag on media interest in Children's Panel proceedings41, as well as denying parents the right to challenge the grounds of referral to a Children's Panel in court - the Sheriff will merely examine the paperwork42. The implications for cases which involve the complexities of ASD are that miscarriages of justice will be far more likely, where the evidence of local authorities cannot be directly challenged by parents in court and where it will be impossible to cross-question witnesses, expert or otherwise. Taken in the context of the links that are made between ASD and pseudo medical diagnoses such as RAD and MSBP, there is scope for many more tragedies affecting the families of children with ASD. We believe such a change in the law would breach the right to a fair hearing and also the right to respect for family life, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and, as such, is open to legal challenge.

In conclusion, no standards of competence exist that are specific to the needs of people with ASD, even for services as basic as school education, and enforcement of the laws that do exist, in relation to the rights of people with disabilities, are made impossible, most specifically because of the unavailability of legal aid and the generic nature of disability law in relation to a disability that is unique and about which there is very little understanding within public services. As a direct consequence of this, there are huge disincentives for service providers in providing services that are appropriate to the needs of people with ASD. Until these basic truths are recognised, and until there is repeal and reform of the regressive and oppressive laws and policies detailed in this paper, all claims of government support for the human rights of people with ASD will ring hollow.

© Fiona Sinclair, Wednesday 4th April 2007
Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill
- Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill, as passed - SPICe briefing:
SB 07-07 Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill: Parliamentary Consideration Prior to Stage 3 (pdf 261kb, posted 26.01.2007)
- Health Committee calls for “Fundamental Changes” to Executive Bill
CHEAL008/2006 | 10 November 2006
The Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee has demanded fundamental changes
to draft Executive legislation in order to ensure the proper protection of
vulnerable adults in Scotland.
The committee has supported the general principles underpinning the Adult
Support and Protection Bill – to prevent abuse of older and vulnerable
people – but only on condition that substantial amendments are made to the
The committee report argues that “the Bill has the potential to fill a gap in
the current legislative framework. However, key definitions within it, and
its relationship with existing legislation are problematic. The Committee
believes that fundamental changes are necessary if it is to be a useful and
effective piece of legislation.”
The committee convener, Roseanna Cunningham, commented:
“The committee has major concerns over the Bill and in particular the new
powers which, in certain circumstances, permit adults at risk to be removed
from their homes against their will. This raises fundamental issues about the
balance between the reach of the state in its duty to protect, as against the rights of the individual.

- Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
- Explanatory Notes to Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

- Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 -
Mental Health Bill will do nothing for public safety, research shows By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor Published: 08 March 2007
The biggest reform of mental health legislation in 50 years will be thrown into disarray today by research showing a key aspect of the proposals is unlikely to work. Government measures to force patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals to continue taking their drugs, do not improve the safety of patients or the public, according to an international review of research.
This research was a Department of Health commissioned review of 72 studies on Community Treatment Orders (CTOs), which are one of the most controversial parts of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act and which allow enforced medication in the community. CTOs have been used in 6 countries around the world – in some of them for as long as 30 years..

- Explanatory Notes to Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
16. Mental disorder is defined at section 87 and the definition is the same as
in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, section 1: mental illness or mental
handicap however caused or manifested. Following the Mental Health (Public
Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999, personality disorder is included in
the definition of mental illness. In line with the 1984 Act, a person should
not be regarded as mentally disordered by reason solely of immoral conduct,
sexual deviancy or dependency on alcohol or drugs nor does the definition
cover people who simply act imprudently. People who are temporarily under the
influence of alcohol or drugs are not to be regarded as mentally disordered,
although those whose mental faculties are impaired due to past alcohol or
drug abuse do fall within the definition.

87 Interpretation - EXCERPT
"mental disorder" means mental illness (including personality disorder) or
mental handicap however caused or manifested; but an adult shall not be
treated as suffering from mental disorder by reason only of promiscuity or
other immoral conduct, sexual deviancy, dependence on alcohol or drugs, or
acting as no prudent person would act;
Part 23, Section 328 would appear to contradict the above, except that autism is frequently but erroneously described as a learning disability, where it should properly be described as a developmental disability:-
328 Meaning of "mental disorder" (1) Subject to subsection (2) below, in this Act "mental disorder" means any-
(a) mental illness;
(b) personality disorder; or
(c) learning disability,
however caused or manifested; and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

- Children with autism have distinctly different immune system reactions compared to typical
children Article Date: 06 May 2005 - 9:00 PST
- Autistic children's abnormal metabolic profile findings Article Date: 03 Apr 2005 - 6:00 PST
To give an idea of the kind of effect that these extremely powerful drugs have on someone who has a normal immune system and metabolism, please read the following article about the death of a young blind woman in a psychiatric institution - `Look what they did to my Janis`, By Olga Craig 12/11/2006 :-;jsessionid=YM1MVEXA32WN1QFIQM...
A book has been written by the mother of this young woman, giving an account of her `treatment` - Take My Hand by Audrey Revell is published by Trafford.

6 – link to SIGN's programme for publication of guidelines. Although they are no longer available online, a copy of the draft guidelines are available as an email attachment from Autism Rights

7email communications from Safia Qureshi to Fiona Sinclair, 14th February & 3rd April 2007.

Concern over rising use of 'chemical cosh' on disturbed youngsters The Scotsman Wed 20 Dec 2006
MORE children than ever in Scotland are being prescribed drugs to treat
hyperactivity, figures revealed yesterday.
Statistics show prescriptions for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) increased by almost 16 per cent in 2005-6, with 49,528 handed
out by doctors.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said: "New mental health treatment
services for children have been developed across Scotland over the last year,
and this has led to an increase in awareness of ADHD.
"There is no evidence to suggest that the prevalence of ADHD has in creased,
but awareness of the condition and compliance with Scottish Intercollegiate
Guidelines Network guidance has, and this explains a rise in prescriptions in
the last year.
"We would not expect to see a similar rise year-on-year over the next few
years in the prescribing of these drugs."
- So, logically, we can expect the SIGN guidelines on ASD to spur a huge rise in prescribing these drugs for children with ASD.

- ADHD Medication Might Also Treat Hyperactivity Symptoms in Autism
Main Category: Autism News Article Date: 22 Nov 2005

- Scot Exec link to Aviemore conference and PHIS report, etc. The Aviemore conference was supposedly held to share information on biomedical interventions for autism, but was packed with Psychiatrists who concentrated solely on drugs. The Exec. had to pay parents to attend, as they would have had hardly any if they hadn't.
- another link to report on Aviemore conference on ASD which was sponsored by the Scot. Exec.

11 The European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism can be found at this
- links to each section of the Charter. This charter was adopted by the European Parliament in 1996 and it provides
the best framework there is for the human rights of people with autism. To give just a few examples, it states that it is unacceptable to control people with autism by pharmacological means, that they should have equality of access to healthcare, that they should have the means (through legal aid) to litigate to protect their rights, that assessments of educational need should at least in part be undertaken by someone independent of the service provider, etc. etc..

12 - Teachers to be taught how to restrain violent pupils - February 17 2007
- Peer exposes the 'horror' of Labour special needs policy 18/02/2007 ` (Baroness Warnock)
Autism Rights' extensive communication over the years with many other parents and more formal feedback from our education questionnaire reveal the mess that is health and educational provision for children with ASD, and the consequences of that for the mental health of children with ASD.

- Petition by Christine MacVicar calling for the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Executive to recognise and adopt the European Charter of Rights for People with Autism.

- Public Petitions Committee Minutes of Proceedings PE/S2/06/10/M
10th Meeting, 2006 (Session 2) Wednesday 31 May 2006

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Tuesday 19 September 2006 Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 – oral evidence from the NAS
Relevant section:-
European Charter of Rights for People with Autism (PE952)
The Convener: PE952 was first considered in May 2006 by the Public Petitions Committee, which referred the matter to us. The paper itself outlines the main points of the European charter of rights for people with autism. We have already received evidence from the National Autistic
Col 3064
Society Scotland and the Scottish Society for Autism in relation to the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill and, indeed, someone from the National Autistic Society Scotland took part in this afternoon's round-table discussion. It is recommended that we consider the National Autistic Society Scotland's views and take them into account in our stage 1 report on the bill. Are members content with that approach?
Members indicated agreement.

16email of 5th March 2006 with subject headed `Call for signatures for E-Petition on the European Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism`, sent to Robert McKay, Robert Moffat and others in the NAS Scotland office and email of 12th March 2006 from Christine MacVicar with subject headed `Petition for the adoption of the European Charter` sent to Carol Evans and Robert McKay, amongst others. It is notable that the signatures of senior officials in other national and international autism organisations were sought and obtained, including the chief executive of the Scottish Society for Autism, the president of the National Autism Association of the USA and the vice president of the World Autism Organisation. A committee member of the NAA also passed on our request for signatures to fellow parents of children with autism in the USA.

Health Committee Adult Support & Protection (Scotland) Bill Inquiry SUBMISSION FROM THE NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY SCOTLAND
Scottish Parliament Health Committee Tuesday 19 September 2006 Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 – oral evidence from the NAS

18It is very clear to us that, because the ruling parties in the Executive could no longer count on the passivity of parental members to force through yet more woolly and dilatory affirmation of the Scottish Executive's policy and practice on ASD, that they were determined to exert full control by closing the CPG, after establishing the Informal Parliamentary Network. It has taken many months for the NAS to invite its own branches to make their input to the network via the NAS. The sequence of events in the lead up to the closure of the CPG is one of the best indicators of the determination by the ruling parties in the Executive to prevent service users from participation in the process of informing MSPs about Autistic Spectrum Disorder:-
17th May – notice of AGM scheduled for 8th June emailed to CPG members
30th May – agenda issued for AGM
31st May – amended agenda issued for AGM
1st June – meeting of some of the Office Bearers, the former Convener and executives of the autism charities
2nd June – CPG members notified of closure of CPG
within a week – CPG on ASD webpages, including minutes of all previous meetings, are erased from CPG webpages
It should be noted that other CPGs have not had formal meetings for 2 years and are still in existence. In spite of excellent attendance by service users at every CPG on ASD meeting, and virtually every meeting being a formal quorate meeting, the indecent haste displayed by politicians in closing the CPG on ASD is the best indicator yet of their growing apprehension at the rise and rise of the `autism issue`. The resignation of the CPG on ASD's former convener arose out of her opposition to the publication of minutes which reflected badly but truthfully on her refusal to permit a vote between the CPG undertaking a time consuming adaptation of the NAS' Westminster `manifesto`, or adopting an `emergency action plan` advocated in a presentation to the CPG by a parent member in conjunction with adoption of the European Charter for the Rights of Persons with Autism. Because of the closure of the CPG on ASD and its webpages, the controversy surrounding these minutes has been stifled, as they have not yet been published.

19 links to Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill
- Bill as introduced
- Policy Memorandum for Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill
Delegated Powers Memorandum - Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill – Part 3

Child protection bill 'may cause more harm than good' ROBBIE DINWOODIE December 21 2006

21 The policy below will effectively create a national database on each and every child - it stresses again and again that there should be a record for every child.
- getting it right for every child: Proposals For Action
Section 3: Integrated Assessment Planning and Recording Framework ( IAF)
The Whole Child: Physical, social, educational, emotional, spiritual and psychological development The framework builds on the work done by the Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills and Home Office (2000) and sets it within the Scottish context 1. It takes account of the
important principles set out in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 with particular focus on the requirement to listen to and take account of the views of children and young people, and to working in partnership with parents.
There is, likewise, an unfortunate linkage being made in Executive policy between children in need (i.e. who have greater need of services) and children who are deemed to need monitoring for reasons of child protection.
Framework for Standards (in Child Protection)
- eCare Conference 2005 - Robert Brown MSP Keynote Address - 26 September 2005
- eCare Framework v1.0 Release
The eCare Framework is the name given to a cohesive set of technology standards, architectures, infrastructure and software that enables multi-agency information sharing within the public sector in Scotland. The eCare Framework provides public sector agencies, and their technology partners, with a single strategic approach to secure electronic data sharing in Scotland.
links to conference documents on E-Care and to recent Exec. documents on this - crucial update, which confirms the move to databases - information sharing being central to the Exec's `thinking` over some time. See `Conference Presentations`, especially Robert Brown's Keynote Address.

22This permits extensive information sharing on ALL children, regardless of their background, but holds particular dangers for families with children who have disabilities or who have greater need of services. Given the emphasis on information gathering by a wide range of people, there is ample scope for `happy amateurs` with no specialist knowledge of ASD to instigate the kind of action that precipitated disaster in Debbie Storey's case – see numbered reference 24.
getting it right for every child: Proposals For Action: Section 3 Integrated Assessment, Planning and Recording Framework: Supporting Paper 1: The process and content of an Integrated Framework and the implications for implementation
Chapter 2: The Content and Process of Assessment
Family and social relationships
For some children it may be necessary to record the following: Interactions between family members, evidence of attachment; positive engagements and guidance; disagreements, family hostilities, violence and so on Significant reports or expressions of concern from other people such as family members, members of the public, neighbours or other agencies, such as the police, voluntary organisations
EXCERPT - examples both of pie in the sky and intrusion into confidential information on health
Being healthy
This includes full information about all aspects of a child's health and development, relevant to age and stage. Developmental milestones, major illnesses, hospital admissions, any impairments, disabilities, conditions affecting development and health. Health care, including nutrition, exercise, physical and mental health issues, sexual health, substance abuse. Information routinely collected by health services will connect with this.

Learning and achieving
This includes cognitive development from birth, learning achievements and the skills and interests which can be nurtured. Additional support needs. Achievements in leisure, hobbies, sport. Who takes account of the unique abilities and needs of this child? Learning plans and other educational records will connect here.

Being able to communicate
This includes development of language and communication. Being in touch with others. Ability to express thoughts, feelings and needs. What is the child's/young person's preferred language or method of communication. Are there particular people with whom the child communicates? Are aids to communication required?

`ability to express thoughts, feelings and needs` - even the relevant professionals are completely incompetent when it comes to identifying this!!
See also:-
getting it right for every child: Proposals For Action: Section 3 Integrated Assessment, Planning and Recording Framework: Supporting Paper 2: Mapping template

23Autism Rights education questionnaire, plus views of parents gleaned from internet discussion fora, email lists, news media and personal contact. The absence of professional qualifications tells its own story.

- Friday, 23 February 2007, 11:33 GMT 'Autism link' to Asbo youngsters
More than a third of children given Asbos have underlying brain disorders such as autism, according to a survey. The study was carried out for the BBC with the Somerset charity for brain-injured children, Bibic.
- Lisa Blakemore-Brown's account of how MSBP got started.
EXCERPT 'Guidelines increasingly encourage social workers to see autism - and think attachment disorder.'
- copied from the Herald - article about evidence by Paul Shattock to Scottish CPG re. parents who claim the MMR has caused their child's autism having their children taken away under an accusation of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). This talk was apparently given at the inaugural meeting of the CPG on ASD - when Lloyd Quninan MSP was the Convener.
- Three-year-olds to be assessed for antisocial behaviour BRIAN DONNELLY February 15 2007
CHILDREN as young as three are to be assessed for anti-social tendencies under controversial plans. A new review of persistent offending suggests the radical move could give children from difficult backgrounds a better chance in life, shepherding them towards a suitable level of support.
Proponents of the plan at Edinburgh City Council, which commissioned the research, said it would also help uncover medical problems such as autism. Children would be assessed either via a nursery or health visitors to ensure none was left out. The Breaking the Cycle report was written after over a year's research taking evidence from dozens of experts in the field, the council said.
Marilyne MacLaren, chair of the committee that commissioned the report, said: ".....There are precise indicators for people who might need support such as conduct disorder and aggressive behaviour."
- She was arrested, fingerprinted and had her house searched - just because a neighbour said she didn't give a ball back
By Nick Britten (Filed: 06/10/2006)
Mr Hickling, a tiler, said the episode had been particularly hard on Haydn,
who had special needs and relied heavily on his mother.
Haydn is the son of this woman - one wonders if the fact she has a child with
special needs might have had something to do with this whole incident.
- this revealed that a growing number of potentially autistic children have been placed on the Child
Protection Register
an article about how parents of children with autism have been accused of MSBP, and an unknown number have had their children taken away from them
Foot Note 2 Anti-social services – copied from the `Private Eye` Issue No: 1131 29 April - 12 May 2005
`It is hard to envisage more ignorant or unsympathetic treatment by the “caring
professions” than that meted out to the Storey family of Rayleigh, Essex.` -
I was on an email list with Debbie, and I know something of the background to this case, where she was accused of having MSBP and her two sons (who have Asperger's Syndrome) were placed on the children at risk register, because she and her husband were not willing to let their boys suffer dreadful bullying at school. The Daily Mail also covered this story on 3rd June 2005 (`Fatal Devotion`), after Debbie's death from renal cancer, which had not been diagnosed in time, because of lingering accusations about MSBP. - The bodies of a mother and her 12 year old autistic son are found in the Humber estuary. It is believed that they may both have jumped from the Humber Bridge. Other news media have revealed that the son was being very badly bullied.
- Helen Rogan, who jumped to her death with her son, who was also severely autistic. She had apparently been frightened that social services wanted to put her child into care.
ALSO:- - Suicide mum 'let down by system' October 4th 2002 Evening Chronicle

The BBC also carried a story about a mother who revealed that her social work department had suggested that putting her child into care was the `best` solution - this being much cheaper than a specialist placement:-
Letting go to get care Parents' dilemma: Give up custody for mental-health treatment.
EXCERPT A recent report from the U.S. General Accounting Office found that more than 12,700 parents temporarily severed ties with their children in exchange for mental-health care in 2001. Advocates and the GAO say the numbers of parents forced to trade custody for care is actually much higher, since 32 states did not respond to the survey and no formal tracking of such placements occurs.
We are going to get to this state in the UK, if there is not a significant re-distribution of power between parents and authorities. The state custody of children is the end consequence of intimidation used as a denial of the provision of an appropriate service.
Consultation on the draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill Consultation, which is intended to support the implementation of Getting it right for every child. Consultation to end on 31/03/2007
6 - Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes
Chapter 5 - Issues for consideration
Home educated children and children taken out of school because of bullying or Health and Safety issues are subject to referral, irrespective of parental reasons for withdrawal or the shoddy treatment they have received as a family at the hands of a local authority.
- research by Brunel University reveals high levels of stress to parents of autistic children caused by local education authorities.
a groundbreaking article from the Sunday Times Magazine about how local authorities avoid making provision for children with SEN in general.
- link to letter from special school heidie (dyslexia) about the nastiness and of the way LEAs treat children with SEN – the rampant intimidation, etc.

JACK MCCONNELL-LAND (North Lanarkshire)
Council ordered to apologise to disabled teenagers TOM GORDON, Scottish Political Correspondent January 31 2007
A council has been ordered to pay compensation and apologise for the "bureaucratic and unsympathetic" way it treated two severely disabled teenagers and their families.,,1945957,00.html
- School faces court battle over restraint of girl, six
The parent of a child with special needs claims that teachers repeatedly used excessive force on her daughter. Anushka Asthana reports Sunday November 12, 2006 Observer
A mother in Bedfordshire has launched a controversial legal action against a school alleging that her six-year-old daughter was physically restrained repeatedly by staff at her primary school. Jade Chambers, who understands language at the level of a child half her age, was held down or 'handled' at least 25 times by staff over a six-week period, according to her mother, Michelle, who was told nothing about what was happening.
- Pupil restraint policy challenged
A rethink of the physical restraint of pupils could be prompted by the legal case of a girl with special educational needs, campaigners say.
campaign site of Michelle Chambers, Jade's mum.
- Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 09:10 GMT
Bullies 'target disabled pupils'
The study uncovered alarming cases of bullying
Children with disabilities struggle to protect themselves from bullying because they lack confidence and friends, a study suggests. The study, carried out by the children's commissioner for England, also found that many victims were left feeling suicidal. The paper, to be published on Monday, will highlight cases where disabled youngsters have been bullied. It will also include recommendations on how to deal with bullying. Researchers examined the experiences of children with disabilities, visible illness and learning difficulties and found alarming examples of bullying.
- Punished, betrayed, sidelined - our 'lost generation' of autistic children Mon 29 Jan 2007 Autism Rights comment - post no.21
- Herald article on exclusion has found its way onto this webpage – Autism Rights gets a mention
some schools are now threatening to expel hyperactive children whose parents refuse to medicate
them with Ritalin. It should be noted that in the US, parents are being served with child protection notices if they refuse to let their children be medicated with drugs.
The BBC's Gill Higgins reports - "There have been threats of exclusion or even of having children taken into care"
Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
evidence on the ASL Bill

Some examples of the negative effects of the ASL Act –
The criteria for obtaining the replacement for the old Record of Needs, the Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP), mean that many children with Asperger's Syndrome will fail to be eligible for a CSP, in spite of the severe problems they share with other children on the autistic spectrum. This will also enable the Scottish Executive to fiddle the statistics for the incidence of ASD, as one of the means to ascertain the numbers of children with ASD has been through the numbers of children who have been given Records of Needs.
Legal Aid is specifically ruled out for both parents and children in taking a case – whether for a placement request or appeal on the terms of a CSP – to Tribunal. Local authorities, however, are free to use taxpayers' money to employ a QC, as one local authority has already done.
In spite of claims that `new powers` have been created for parents, such as to request an assessment, the Executive does not have the honesty to fully explain that local authorities have the power to deny that request. Moreover, the previous requirement under the Record of Needs system to undertake medical and other assessments where required is dropped – they no longer have to undertake any assessments of a child.
All but one member of the Tribunal is a current or former employee of local authorities. This scarcely makes for an equitable system – indeed, not one parent has so far won their case at Tribunal since they were set up.

- Ruling will restrict schooling choices ANDREW DENHOLM, Education Correspondent January 22 2007
LEGISLATION designed to give thousands of Scottish parents greater choice over where their children go to school could end up restricting their options following a landmark legal ruling.



- Schools 'fail autistic children'
The children's commissioner for England has said it is shameful that the country is failing to provide adequately for children with autism. Sir Al Aynsley-Green - who recently met families with autistic children - said it was "shocking and appalling". Prof Aynsley-Green is critical of the treatment of autistic pupils

30 Commons Education Select Committee Report judges special education `not fit`.

- The National Union of Teachers dramatically reversed decades of support for "inclusion"
and demanded a halt to the closure of special schools. It called on the Government to carry out "an urgent review of inclusion in policy and practice".
The union issued a report by academics at Cambridge University, which suggested that inclusion was harming children with special needs, undermining the education of others and leaving teachers exhausted as they struggled to cope with severe behavioural and medical conditions. John MacBeath, one of the authors, described inclusion "as a form of abuse" for some children, who were placed in "totally inappropriate" schools where they inevitably failed. Pupils with special needs were nine times more likely to be expelled and teachers were leaving the profession because they could not cope with the pressure of working with them.
Children with ASD are 20-29 times more likely to be excluded from school than their non-autistic peers.

32A Frontline Scotland BBC TV programme was made about the issue of incarceration of autistic adults within mental hospitals. Fife Health Board took out an interdict to prevent its screening. One of the autistic adults in this programme has been held for more than 11 years in a mental institution in Fife. The programme has never been screened. Another Health Board will not recognise parents' power of attorney for their adult son and refuses to speak with the parents about their son's health. There are other similarly horrendous cases that are known to Autism Rights, some amongst our membership. Also:-;sessionid=30TLKUSYM2YGPQFIQMF... - Asperger's man is released from Broadmoor By Daniel Foggo 07/08/2004 A man suffering from Asperger's syndrome who was wrongly sent to Broadmoor after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia has been released after a campaign by The Telegraph. Piers Bolduc, 28, was put on powerful drugs which he did not need and held at the hospital for the criminally insane since he was 19, despite not suffering from mental illness or having any convictions. Asperger's is a mild form of autism which is fundamentally unresponsive to drugs, because it is a condition and not an illness.
This man was incarcerated in Broadmoor for 10 years, after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Even after he was correctly diagnosed, the Telegraph had to campaign for his release from Broadmoor. Before Asperger's Syndrome was recognised, schizophrenia was the usual diagnosis for people with Asperger's. Only one health board in Scotland has begun to find out how many people may have fallen into this trap - and they have so far found over 450.
Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK Autism misdiagnosis 'ruined a life'
- about a young man with Asperger's Syndrome who was detained in mental institutions for many years. It also says that a recent study of patients at 3 high security hospitals revealed that 5.3% of their population had autism or related disorders, which is more than three times the rate of autism in the general population.

33 This report noted the significant rise in mental health problems of children with ASD, but failed to investigate why this should be. All the evidence that we have collated points to inappropriate educational and healthcare provision as the prime causes of these problems. Responses to the Autism Rights questionnaire on school education back this up.
- this is a link to the Public Health Institute for Scotland's report on `Child and Adolescent
Mental Health`, which report a substantial rise in the number of children being referred to CAMHS who have an autistic spectrum disorder

- Lisa Blakemore-Brown's account of how MSBP got started.
EXCERPT 'Guidelines increasingly encourage social workers to see autism - and think attachment disorder.' See also:-
- The NAS was informed that the government had drawn up `guidelines` on MSBP that overlapped with several of the international clinical criteria for autism. They held a meeting with a civil servant in the Department of Health, pasted this webpage on their website, and tried to `persuade` the government to change their guidelines (the latter information obtained in emails between myself and the NAS's PR person).
Note - no campaigning, no wish to embarass the government into a change of policy, no desire to highlight such a flagrant violation of human rights (the only way to find this webpage on the NAS website is to do a search for `MSBP` it does not feature in the site map and cannot otherwise be navigated to).

- if you read no other article on Sir Roy Meadows and how he did what he did, PLEASE read this
one. It includes how he came to prominence during the trial of Beverley Allitt, how he shredded his research notes, and comments from his ex-wife,who says he is a misogynist. Whilst we dispute the existence of a `syndrome`, as described in the guidelines for MSBP, we would not dispute that there are parents who seek to harm their children, or who neglect them. What is worrying about MSBP, the overlap with ASD clinical criteria aside, is that it disregards medical incompetence or ignorance and offers a way to shift blame for medical mistakes on to parents.

- this revealed that a growing number of potentially autistic children have been placed on the Child
Protection Register
an article about how parents of children with autism have been accused of MSBP, and an unknown number have had their children taken away from them
- copied from the Herald - article about evidence by Paul Shattock to Scottish CPG re. parents who claim the MMR has caused their child's autism having their children taken away under an accusation of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). This talk was apparently given at the inaugural meeting of the CPG on ASD - when Lloyd Quninan MSP was the Convener.,,23729-2195803,00.html
- The Times May 25, 2006 Secret witch-hunt syndrome Camilla Cavendish NEVER HAVE THE powers-that-be collected more information. But never has it been so difficult to find out what they know. It took months of questioning by an MP on the Public Accounts Committee to expose the foreign prisoner debacle; Whitehall twisted and ducked. Now another committee of MPs is being fobbed off in answer to a question that could prove to be of similar importance. The question may not sound like much. It is how many people are being accused by social workers of having the psychiatric disorder Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MsbP).

37Autism Rights Questionnaire on school education and contact between ourselves and many other parents over the years.

38 These are 2 weblinks on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) found through Google:-
- online medical journal's description of RAD.
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) description - note the overlap with autism clinical
criteria, but the omission of autism amongst those disorders with which RAD might be confused.

- surf this to see the psychiatric/ pharma/ genetics bias of the research group lineup. ABCD Newsletters links are available through this link.

The lead scientist for this study is none other than Prof. Chris Gillberg, who is giving his native Sweden a wide berth for now, for reasons that will become apparent when you read the next link:-
Gillberg fined by Swedish court
biog of researcher on ABCD study into autism and RAD
- conference associated with Prof. Gillberg and favouring the `pill popping` approach to managing ASD.
Of course, Gillberg gave his assurances at the Cross Party Group (CPG) that there was no intention to redefine autism as Reactive Attachment Disorder, or to resuscitate the `refridgerator mother` as an abusive mother (which would be awfully handy in fiddling statistics on autism incidence, even retrospectively), but the attached CPG Briefing Paper on the Scottish ABCD study tells a different story, as do the ABCD webpages. His presentation to the CPG claimed that the study would once and for all give a definitive answer to the question of the incidence of autism.

CPG briefing on Scottish ABCD study appr H.Minnis - 26 1 06.doc - SEE ATTACHMENT

See also -
- Scotland's flagship children's reporter system is close to collapse after almost 55,000 young people were referred to it last year, an all-time record. Only 11% of children referred to the reporters by police and other public protection agencies end up in front of a panel, raising questions about
whether they should have been brought to the reporters' attention in the first place.

41Consultation on the draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill, Chapter 6 - Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes, Part 2 Amendment of the Principal Act Disclosure of information - Section 14
6.60 Section 14 introduces a new section (46A) to the 1995 Act and enables a Children's Hearing to withhold information about the child where disclosure would be significantly against the child's interests. This applies at any time prior to disposal of the case.
6.61 New section 46A(2) provides for the application of this new power relating to disclosure, notwithstanding any requirement obliging an explanation to be given, or information to be provided about the case, or reasons for a decision to be given. In terms of section 46 of the 1995 Act there is a duty on the Children's Hearing to explain the substance of what has taken place to any person who has been excluded from part of the proceedings in order to obtain the views of the child or protect the child from significant distress. The Hearing need no longer provide such information if to do so would be significantly against the interests of the child. When giving reasons for a decision, other than a decision disposing of the case, the Hearing need not include information the disclosure of which would be significantly against the interests of the child.
The interpretation of `where disclosure would be significantly against the child's interests` is the crux of the matter. Such secrecy is not in the best interests of anyone. With Westminster politicians beginning to see the injustice of such secrecy within the Family Courts in England, there should not be a retrograde move towards greater secrecy in Scotland's equivalent of the Family Courts – the Children's Hearing.

42Consultation on the draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill, Chapter 6 - Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes, Part 2 Amendment of the Principal Act Procedure for establishing grounds of referral - Section 16
6.69 Section 16 provides for an expedited procedure to determine whether the situational condition (see grounds for referral above) is established where the relevant person has accepted the situational condition but where the child is not capable of understanding or has not understood the explanation of the situational condition. The section amends the 1995 Act to introduce new section 68ZA.
6.70 Subsection 2 introduces a new section 68ZA to the 1995 Act. New sections 68ZA(1) and (2) allow the establishment of grounds for referral by the sheriff without a hearing being held for the purpose.
6.71 New sections 68ZA(3) to (6) make provision for when hearings before the sheriff on evidence are to be held. New section 68ZA(7) allows the sheriff, when having a Hearing, to dispense with the hearing of evidence unless satisfied that in all the circumstances of the case the evidence should be heard.
6.72 New section 68ZA(8) sets out time limits for the determination of an application to the sheriff under the expedited procedure. Provision is made for a time limit of 7 days to establish grounds for referral when there is not to be a hearing and if there is to be a hearing for the application to be heard within 28 days. New sections 68ZA(9) and (10) provide for amendments to the 1995 Act apply relevant parts of section 68 of that Act to the expedited procedure.
6.73 Subsections 3 to 5 of section 16 make other adjustments of a technical nature to sections 41, 69 and 85 of the 1995 Act, to include reference to the new section 68ZA.
It is, therefore, left entirely up to the Sheriff as to whether or not a hearing is conducted, or whether a study of the paperwork attached to the case will suffice.