They’re just total jerks!

This is what my 14 year old son had to say this morning when he saw the news about the Panorama programme last night.

He is 14, has autism and a learning disability, and I am thankful every single day that he is at home with us, living a happy life.

He saw the news and asked why it was happening but of course I couldn’t answer him. Like he said, these people are just jerks and how do you explain jerks?

He asked a lot of questions about the programme and wanted to know why they had to be so far away from home and why they couldn’t just live with or near their parents.

So is he just being lazy?

I explained about Hancock and his role and how complicated he seems to think it is to make this happen. Even my son, with his autism and LD, could smell something was off. “So he’s just being lazy then?” he asked. I nodded. “He doesn’t really care, does he?” he said, “It doesn’t look that way” I replied.

I explained that he will probably just ask for yet more reports – which looks as if he is doing something but in fact means he is doing nothing.

But why?

“Why does he need a report to know it’s just rubbish and they are just jerks? I can tell him that children need to be near home and I’m just a kid.”

Again, I had no answer.

A snap shot from my son's EHC Plan, where they asked about what a bad day at home would look like and he replied "I honestly don't think I would have a bad day at home"
And this says it all.

Not Complicated

Let’s be honest, it’s #notcomplicated at all. When a 14 year old boy with ASD and LD can see this, then why does Mr Hancock fail to?

Check out the link above to the hashtag on twitter and share your images and videos of how #notcomplicated it is for our children and young people to have good lives in their local community.

This is not new news.

Alicia Wood has written a great post about all the past reports and investigations. Frankly, more reports and reviews are just box ticking exercises, we don’t need them and we definitely don’t want them! They are just words on a page.

Words mean nothing

What can you do?

The families behind Rightful Lives have come up with a simple 8 point plan. Start sharing it.

8 point plan to get people out of ATUs and stop more people going in.
8 point plan from @rightfullives

Send it to your friends, family and colleagues on social media.

Send it to your MP and ask them what they are doing to ensure that their constituents with any disability are being cared for in their local community – and ask them not to send the template letter. (MPs appear to have a letter writing company who provides them with template responses to difficult questions. This was something that became apparent during the Justice for LB campaign when many of us wrote to our MPs and many of us received exactly the same response – word for word – except for the signatures)!

Get behind #HumanToo campaign – “Autistic people and people with a learning disability are #HumanToo. They deserve ordinary lives & homes not hospitals. Use the hashtag to share the message.”

SEND Crisis

One of the recurring comments we hear from our amazing Stronger Together families is how it all started to go wrong in education and it never got back on track after that.

Funding needs to be provided and quickly, so that the SEND Crisis in Education does not inevitably lead to so many more of our children ending up in these institutions.

We talked about when schools are just sh*t a few weeks ago.

There is a national SEND Crisis march organised for 30 May. You can find the details of your local march here. As they rightly say “it’s time we all united and stood up to the powers that refuse to provide our young people with the education that is rightfully theirs! “

Parent Blaming

This has to stop. Sadly it’s not just from those in power, it’s also from other parents. Think before you tweet. When you say “how can these parents be so calm” or “I would never let this happen to my child” – what you are saying to these parents is “you are somehow to blame”.

You probably don’t mean it but put yourself in their shoes and think how those types of comments could be interpreted when you are at your absolute lowest.

Please don’t help to perpetuate the myth that this is anything other than a systemic failure. The parents did nothing wrong except ask for help.

Find out more


This week, several reports made the news.

CQC – Interim report: Review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with a mental health problem, a learning disability and or autism

LeDeR report – LeDeR 2018 annual report indicates ongoing concerns over deaths

Children’s Commissioner – Who are they? Where are they? report

You can also read reports we have produced with our Stronger Together families

Chris Hatton’s The Great Disdain

Listen to families with lived experience

This week, several parents with lived experience of their child or young person being in one of these institutions have been talking to the media.

The Today show

Jeremy Vine show

Radio 4 – You and Yours

Sky news

There were many many more, please feel free to send us links so we can add them to the post.

Read Responses

CQC’s response to Panorama

Norman Lamb MP – Urgent Question (he raised the question at 11.30am and the discussion lasts for 30 minutes – be prepared for lots of “warm words”)

Cygnet do not appear to have put out a response (I may be wrong) but two things stood out on their website.

1) Whorlton Hall is no longer on their site. Searches take you to “no results found for your search” page. As if it never existed or happened.

2) You’ll be delighted to hear they have launched Mental Health First Aid training for their staff. “At Cygnet we understand that the mental health and wellbeing of our staff is just as important as the support we provide for our service users.”

NHS England also do not appear to have put out a response – again, I may be wrong but if they have it’s not very obvious.

UK Parliament Human Rights Committee response

Final Words

Mr Hancock’s department don’t appear to have put out a response.

He apparently couldn’t make it to the Chamber for Norman’s urgent question – his absence spoke volumes.

It would appear his focus is getting those Brexit votes today.

What a joy it was, this morning, to read “Don’t forget that only one party can deliver Brexit” but absolutely no reference to the “total jerks” we had seen on our screens last night.

Seriously Matt, if you cannot deliver on a promise made 8 years ago to just 3000 families on something everyone appears to agree on, then what hope are we supposed to have of you delivering Brexit?

Shall we write you a report on why we think this maybe is #toocomplicated ?

Debs Aspland

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN. Transplanted from the NW to the SE. Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

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