Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Messy play

At last I have a moving date for C - in 6 weeks. Which is a huge relief. And this time I feel more prepared as I have some idea how C will react. But I also have different concerns this time as C has regressed in so many areas since his first move and after 11 months is not yet back to where he was. But I know the new home will be more suitable in the long run so hopefully C will settle quicker this time and begin to regain what he has lost.

Over the years I tried many messy tactile substances in messy play to deter C from smearing. But never found a good enough substitute! He still smears but these days it is thankfully a bit more contained. Trying to keep C’s nails clean though as he won’t let anyone cut them since he moved is very difficult. Any advice gratefully accepted!

This weekend my sister and her husband went away and I looked after my nephews J (3.5) who is Autistic and O who is just 10 months. So I put my messy play to good use. It is great for gross and fine motor skills, coordination, concentration, observation, communication and stimulation of all the senses.

J has never liked the feel grass under his feet but really enjoyed getting his feet gooey. We enjoyed pouring, scooping, grasping, transferring, catching, placing, exploring all with lots of eye contact.

And without even realizing J was soon walking on the grass! I do love being an aunt!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Animals have more rights...

Unlike child abuse and animal abuse (The Children's Act and The Protection of Animals Act), there is no single piece of legislation that deals with the abuse of vulnerable adults.

We all know a vulnerable adult, a disabled or elderly member of the family or a neighbour. So this concerns everyone.

Through out out history people have abused their power like Hitler. Or their trust like Dr Shipman. Or parents like Josef Fritzl. Or so called specialist centers like the Judge Rotenburg Center. (Facebook group)

It is still happening today. Every day. Abuse takes many forms. A young man Jesse Moores tragically died. His death could have been prevented (Facebook group) if someone had just spoken out.

No Secrets is the current Government 'guidance' in England

Guidance does not carry the same status as legislation; instead local authorities have their compliance assessed as part of a statutory inspection process. With ‘good reason’ a local authority can ignore such guidance. As a consequence vulnerable adults do not have the same statutory protection as either children or animals.

Such crimes as mistreatment are regularly committed 67% according to Action on Elder Abuse in care settings and by carers
There is a raft of legislation keeping people safe from harm (Human Rights Act 1998, Care Standards Act 2000 and Regulations, Mental Capacity Act 2005). However, prosecutions are very low.
Most councils have recognised that protection (safeguard) of vulnerable adults is paramount and have implemented multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.

It is our duty to look out for the signs and to do what we can to prevent it. Staying silent is not an option.

Vulnerable adult definition
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or maybe unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

Everyone has a right to:
Live free from violence, fear and abuse
Be protected from harm and exploitation
Be independent – which may involve some risk
Say 'No' to anything they don't fully understand

Forms of abuse
Institutional abuse
Institutional abuse can occur in a care home, nursing home, acute hospital or in-patient setting and can be any of the following types of abuse:
Physical abuse.
Sexual abuse.
Verbal abuse.
Discriminatory abuse.
Psychological and emotional abuse.
Financial abuse.

Neglect of a vulnerable adult can be any of the following:
Not having the help you need to have a bath or shower if you are unable to do so by yourself.
Not getting enough food or drink.
Stopping you from accessing needed care and/or medical services.
Not being given the medication that has been prescribed for you.
Being given medication to make you sleepy when it has not been prescribed or giving you the medication at the wrong time or in the wrong quantities.
Not getting help to stay warm and dry.
Only having old or dirty clothes to wear.
People not caring for you properly.

Professional abuse
Professional abuse happens when a professional does any of the following:
Takes advantage of their client or patients trust.
Exploits their vulnerability.
Does not act in their best interests.
Fails to keep professional boundaries.
Abuse may be:
Professional abuse always involves:
Betrayal of trust.
Exploitation of vulnerability.
Violation of professional boundaries.

Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Discriminatory abuse
Abuse of individual rights is a violation of human and civil rights by any other person or persons.
Discriminatory abuse consists of abusive or derisive attitudes or behaviour based on a person's sex, sexuality, ethnic origin, race, culture, age, disability or any other discriminatory abuse - this includes Hate Crime.

Elder abuse
Can be any of the following:
Physical abuse.
Psychological abuse.
Financial abuse.
Sexual abuse.
Abuse can occur anywhere:
In some one's own home.
A carer's home.
In a day care centre.
In residential care.
In a nursing home.
In hospital.
Both older men and women can be at risk of being abused. The abuser is often well known to the person being abused.
The abuser may be:
A family member.
A friend or neighbour.
A paid or volunteer care worker.
A health or social worker, or other professional.
Older people may also be abused by a person they care for.

Financial abuse
Can be any of the following:
Someone making you take your money out of the cash machine for them.
Taking money from you.
Borrowing money and never giving it back.
Stealing your belongings.
Someone getting you to sign something and you don't know what it is.
Someone taking your pension or other benefit.
Someone asking for money for visiting you socially.

Physical abuse
Can be any of the following:
Being restrained in a chair or locked in a room.
Punching or kicking you.
Throwing things at you.
Grabbing, pushing, poking or slapping you.
Hitting you with an object.
Pulling hair or biting.
Tripping you up.

Psychological and emotional
Hurtful criticism.
Name calling.
Pressure tactics.
Lying to you, or to your friends and family about you.
Persistently putting you down in front of other people.
Stopping you from seeing people you want to see, including friends and family.
Never listening or responding when you talk.
Monitoring your phone calls, emails, texts and letters.
Checking up on you, following you, not letting you go out alone.
Frightening you into doing things you don't want to do.
Making you unnecessarily distrustful of other people.
Upsetting you on a regular basis about things that don't matter to the extent that you may even feel unwell.
Psychological and emotional abuse is generally part of other forms of abuse such as:
Domestic abuse

Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse can be any of the following:
Someone touching you where you don't want to be touched.
People getting too close to you.
Someone making you feel uneasy and upset.
Someone hurting you and making you feel scared.
People not listening when you say no.

Additional factors
Any of these forms of abuse could either be deliberate or the result of ignorance or lack of training, knowledge and understanding. If a person is being abused in one way they are often being abused in other ways too.

What to look out for:
Unexplained injury
Signs of fear or distress
Theft, fraud or financial exploitation

What you should do:
Do act if you suspect a vulnerable person is being abused
Do talk to the person – listen carefully
Do give the person your full attention
Do telephone someone

What you should not do:
Don't ignore it
Don't promise to keep it a secret
Don't put it off
(there needs to be better whistleblower provisions )

Autistic children grow into Autistic adults all too fast. I have been very grateful over the years when staff have ‘off the record’ told me things that have happened to C. I hope with greater awareness of Autistic Adults because of campaigns like the NAS I Exist and Safeguarding adult’s and better quality controls things will continue to improve.
After all we could ALL end up in a care home one day.

Safeguarding Adults is every body's business. Your action could prevent abuse.

Every day, people say nothing!
Please say something.
You could improve someones quality of life or maybe a tragic death could be prevented.