Saturday, 18 December 2010

Letter sent to Eric Pickles MP, Chair of Conservative Party from one of our Supporters

One of our supporters has kindly given her permission to post her letter she has sent to Eric Pickles MP.

Dear Eric,

I remember that when I came to see you with my daughter on another matter, some months ago, you indicated clearly to us both that you well understood the difficult lives that those with Asperger Syndrome and their parents/carers live, and the lack of understanding and support that they receive from most quarters and indeed the obstacles that they (continue to) face.

As you must realize, most people with autistic spectrum conditions, because of their anxiety, fears phobias, OCD, social and sensory and many various other difficulties, live their lives AVOIDING life, in great part, because the stress would be too great to bear. Autism is not a mental illness in itself, but when those with autism are subject to the stresses of life and face a general lack of understanding and support, their mental stability is rapidly undermined. They can also rarely manage completely alone. Families have to watch over them to whatever extent necessary to support their safety and mental survival in a tough oblivious world. Their success in life is a fragile tenuous easily broken thing. They are fragile personalities. Their independence needs continuing support, a watchful eye, and care. Most of the world does not realize that there are other types of mind and perception. Misunderstandings on both sides are many.

This coalition government seems to have absolutely no idea about the situation of those with autism and their families, or they would not have done what they have done, if they had any conscience. They appear to have actively targeted those with autistic spectrum conditions for benefit cuts. I know of 11 people in Essex so far, with Aspergers, who have had certain benefits taken away, and who will have to face the ordeal of an appeal. Imagine being faced with a crucial interview and feeling axious and times that by about 20. Add to this the fact that the outcome witll affect your life and survival.

Also, DLA is being looked at by the Coalition – but it has not invited the National Autistic Society to have any input. As far as I am aware it is still true that the interests of those with autism are not represented at all with this discussion. Why is this? This is truly alarming for those of us who care about the human rights, mental health and indeed survival of those with autism. Apart from the fact that we love our kids with autism fiercely. Autism is a separate strand of disability that needs consideration in its own right.

We all know there have to be cuts, but why take crucial support, from vulnerable individuals, with such indecent haste and with no research AT ALL as to the effects on the victims? Cannot the cuts be spread more generally amongst members of society at all levels?

Please do not forget that most people with ASCs have been forced to attend mainstream schools under the banner of “Inclusion” ( an imposed and misguided – in my opinion - government policy) where because of sensory overload, lack of social skills, problems with understanding language except in the most literal sense, etc etc, they often could not cope, became highly stressed, even suicidal, so received a patchy, incomplete or severely compromised education – as with my own daughter, who spent months out of mainstream school. How are they then to survive in the job market, when so ill-prepared, plus another result is that they can become phobic about being in such situations?

The authors of these severe coalition cuts haven’t referred to recent history, nor to any studies of autism. There seems to be no rationale at all, no reflection or consideration.

They have not provided any alternatives or training.

As you know, even when someone with Aspergers does try very hard to be independent, despite past harships and rejections etc, and get themselves on to an into-work training scheme, (NAS Prospects, which I hear may be running down in any case??) it is still a long-drawn out process to get a referral from the Work Psychologist via the Job Centre etc.

Please could you use your knowledge and experience in the area of autism to influence your colleagues in government, so that they wield their uninformed and cruel axe away from the utterly defenseless, blameless and vulnerable?

Thank you,
Yours sincerely

1 comment:

TRI-DENTER said...

I have aspergers has do my two children.Our benefits have already been chopped by this government. Time they cut nuclear weapons and war, follow or contact for more support for act now.

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