UK 20 Year Old With Autism: 3 Days Respite Turned into Removal From Home
An update today says Steven is home. http://samedifference1.com/2010/12/22/steven-neary-is-home/
Managing Editor's Note: A parent in the UK brought this case to our attention. We share it with you as the nightmare of the aging autism population continues.
As the parent of a child with autism the story in the following link is my absolute worst nightmare. Stephen Neary is 20 years old with a diagnosis of autism. He went for 3 days of respite care provided by the local authority because his father (a single parent) was too ill to care for him. A year later he is still not home with his father. The full story is here and link to a petition to the London Borough of Hillingdon for his release:
I know in the US if you don't get a lawyer to declare yourself guardian of your son/daughter at age 18, the state can move in and become guardian even if you are the parent.
I don't know if this fact enters into the case in the UK, but I know this is a fact in the US.
Posted by: Autism and Anti-Vaccine Advocate | December 22, 2010 at 08:15 PM
Steven and Mark are a case in point. The point being that this must never be allowed to happen again to anyone. I for one would welcome constructive suggestions for strategies which could be put in place to ensure that if ever a family is faced with a similar abuse of a virtual loophole in legislation the response from the community is swift, legally effective and emphatic. This is not acceptable practice!
Posted by: Judith Cefalas | December 22, 2010 at 06:32 PM
It appears by the article that Great Britain is still living in the Dark Ages---they have so many political trappings in this culture of the "Olde World", sad to say that it carries over to ignorant treatment of the mentally handicapped and disabled. Perhaps some influence by that age old rulership of royalty: Kings and Queens with divine right of rulership and "all that rot" as the British would say.
Here they had the perfect caregiver for Steven, his father Mark, and indeed the most cost effective situation for the government, but instead they spent a royal fortune keeping him under lock and key in the "bloody Tower". [No offense to John Stone or other British readers of AoA, as these are government issues and do not reflect the individual British persons; much like in America, as our government here also does not respect or reflect the logical wishes of it's people]
From the article: "...many of our greatest composers and artistes have been autistic so it is a mistake to see the condition as an entirely negative attribute."
Unfortunately the vast majority of children with autism do not fall into this highly functional category, and the majority who require ongoing specialized care should have the legal right to receive the first priority of compassionate care from their parents and other family members, who truly understand their needs, instead of some government official abandoning them in a government institution. Convicted criminals have more rights which protect them from "cruel and unusual punishment" than children or adults with autism???!!!
This reminds me of the movie "Evelyn" based on the true story of the man in Britain who was finally able to get the Supreme Court to repeal the laws that removed children from their parents for a ridiculous variety of "reasons" such as being a single parent. They carted off children by the thousands and forced them into children's homes, to be cared for en masse by the not always so friendly childless nuns, who often did not have a clue about compassionate care for children since they obviously had never raised any children of their own. Here were all these children who had parents who desired to keep them in their custody but the government and church "in cahoots" (as they said in the movie) said NO. Children with parents who wanted them then became coverted into "orphans" by the government.
In spite of this heartbreaking theme, this movie starring Pierce Brosnan was produced into a very inspirational story, and some brilliant screenwriter was successful in incorporating humor and even romance into this tragedy turned miracle. It's on my all time top ten list because it proves that the man on the street can fight the almighty government and WIN, when they are in the right and the government is WRONG.
Posted by: Autism Grandma | December 22, 2010 at 06:27 PM
perhaps the mods here would post an update in the original article (as per John's note - thank you John). Stephen is home - for good - it might be good to see a bit of that Christmas miracle evidenced right in the AOA headline...?
Posted by: Randy | December 22, 2010 at 04:33 PM
This is one of the most upsetting things I have ever read. Now I just read John's comments. TG he is going to go home. Please let us know the day this happens. Thanks, John.
Posted by: Maurine Meleck | December 22, 2010 at 01:33 PM
Why thank you for sharing this ending, John! Still it gives a shudder at how long this went on in the first place.
Posted by: Benedetta | December 22, 2010 at 08:38 AM
This is our very worst nightmare in the UK: the executive abuse that wrenches vulnerable young people from their families. It must be said that many councils and council officers act sensitively, but of course when they don't there is untold misery and trauma. The miraculous news in this case is that yesterday, just before the courts closed for Christmas, a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, directed that Steven be returned to father's care permanently.
Let's hope some important lessons are learnt from this affair, and also that Steven and his father Mark will be able to recover swiftly from their appalling trauma. In the real world we don't need stories that end happily for Christmas. We could simply do with more commonsense and humanity in the first place.
Posted by: John Stone | December 22, 2010 at 03:51 AM