You may have seen discussion on social media about a case where a pupil at one of our schools is now in an assessment and treatment unit (ATU).

At a time when our charity is campaigning about ATUs, we understand why people are concerned and distressed by this situation. We want to explain as far as we can while keeping details confidential, how this can happen and why we think this makes our campaign to stop the inappropriate use of ATUs even more urgent. We are in touch with the parent concerned and are seeing what information we can provide to help with the current situation and also to see what we could have done differently up to this point.  

Our schools and services are places where autistic children and adults should be safe and thrive, and our staff work hard to ensure they do. When we find that a school or service is not the right place and they are becoming distressed and unhappy, we don’t try to keep them there. Their home council is responsible for finding them somewhere new to live or study that does suit them, and we will work with the council, the person concerned and their family as much as we can to help this happen. Our role is to support the person’s transition to whatever service the local council agrees – and we do not have a role in choosing the service.

We are very aware that there are just not enough of the right services for people to move into. This is a national disgrace and we are actively campaigning to push for more community-based services, so that people don’t end up in inappropriate mental health services, where they can end up being traumatised through a lack of staff knowledge about autism. You can read more about our campaigning for better community-based services and holding the Government to account for its promise to reduce the number of people in ATUs here.

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