NHS Failing Children With Autism: A National Autistic Society Response To The Kennedy Review, UK
Article Date: 20 Sep 2010 - 2:00 PDT
The National Autistic Society (NAS) welcomed the publication of the Kennedy review of how the NHS treats children, which recommends investment in mental health support. The charity says thousands of children with autism in England are needlessly facing a future of mental health problems, because the NHS does not know how to help them.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS said; "This important review crucially recognises the need for improvements in mental health as evidenced by the findings of our You Need To Know campaign. Our research found services failed to help two thirds of children with autism and in some cases even made their mental health worse.
Too many children with autism are developing preventable mental health problems and find themselves up against a broken system that doesn't understand them or their needs. All too often they receive inappropriate, ineffectual and sometimes harmful treatments. This has a devastating effect on families many of whom develop their own mental health problems as a result.
"This is a tragic waste of lives and money. Parents and professionals alike are crying out for more autism support. The NHS needs to know how to help, and the Government needs to know it can't wait. With the right help at the right time children with autism can have good mental health just like anyone else can."
- Over 70%* of children with autism have a mental health problem, such as depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other anxiety disorders, despite the fact that many of these problems are preventable.
-- Research by the National Audit Office shows that 80% of GPs want more training in autism
Over 450 parents surveyed for the You Need to Know campaign revealed:
-- 43% of parents whose children are currently registered with mental health services said their child's mental health had got worse because they could not get the services they needed
-- Over half of parents do not think that mental health services know how to communicate with their child
-- 83% of the children first experienced mental health problems before the age of ten and half before the age of five
-- Nine out of ten parents said that the mental health problems their child faced had had a negative impact on their own mental health and that of the whole family. Over a quarter of family members needed support from mental health services as a result.
- *Simonoff E. et al. Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2008; 47: 4: 921-929
- For the You Need To Know campaign the NAS carried out quantitative and qualitative research, covering parents and children affected by the issue, and professionals working in the field. This included a questionnaire about the experiences of children and young people with autism and their families, via parents and carers. A total of 455 eligible responses were analysed.
- Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. Peo
- Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
National Autistic Society