Child Protection for the Autistic Child - A Resource
This is a reflective post so no answers, only questions.
I’ve been thinking about whether the problems we face as families when adolescent autistic children go into crisis are just too difficult for services. Obviously the reasons why crises happen vary from family to family but too often if families are getting help from professionals it seems to come with a big serving of blame. As a parent you may be told ‘Stop projecting your anxiety onto your child’, ‘You seem very stressed, is that impacting your parenting ability do you think?’, ’Your view of the problems does not align with your child’s. We listen to the voice of the child so thank you and goodbye’ or ‘Tell me about your childhood, were you parents available emotionally? Do you think that maybe you should be more available emotionally to your own child?’ These are only the subtle criticisms. Clinicians may diagnose a mental health condition in your child as a result of your parentingor even your own adverse experiences and there will be no 'right to reply'. Anyone who is less than perfect as a parent, by having their own difficulties for example around poor mental health, low self esteem, povertyand learning disabilities are likely to face the most horrendous criticism of their ability to parent, often without the right help to overcome these same difficulties.
Maybe the perspective needs to change to looking at difficulties (or ‘challenges’ in ‘happy-person speak’). Some families really are doing very well in extra-ordinarily difficult circumstances but this is unlikely to be sustainable over a long time without the right help. Maybe the right help is just not out there, Maybe it is just too difficult for services to understand what is needed, Maybe trying to cope without help is better than asking for help and getting the wrong help?
Are we just too difficultand our numbers too small and our lives too unimportant? Maybe blaming us for our children’s difficulties is a lot easier than really engaging? Maybe people working within services and people responsible for services cannot cope with the reality of our lives so they pretend that reality dos'ent exist? Maybe it is too difficult for them? So what really needs to change?
Maybe an early diagnosis, responsive support including help for parents to support children, a good inclusive school andgood quality accessible healthcaremight be where to start? Is that really so difficult?