Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Chemical coshes for dementia patients

Reducing the use of anti-psychotic drugs for dementia patients can only be a good cut to make surely? Yet on ITV News' Facebook wall everyone's complaining about it! They're missing the point. See my previous blog about the autism industry, in which I say that anti-psychotics are used as a one-size-fits-all drug that don't work for everyone & cause nasty side-effects. They can cause early deaths in elderly patients too. Some dementia patients are being given chemical coshes because they wander a bit & there aren't sufficient staff to cope. This happens to other vulnerable people in residential homes too. My daughter was sedated AS A PRECAUTION because another resident kicked off & staff worried they wouldn't be able to cope if my daughter started too! I found out what had happened because I'd come to take my daughter home for a visit. It resulted in a Safeguarding Alert, which is a meeting to discuss what happened & review procedures to protect vulnerable adults. What happens behind closed doors when vulnerable people don't have family or anyone else to watch out for them?

Sunday, 24 October 2010


How brave Min is for telling me her story about developing epilepsy out of the blue -in today's Sunday Mirror Magazine. I worked hard on this to get my facts right as, you may see from my previous blog, my daughter has epilepsy. I learned a lot by speaking to Min. It gave me an insight into how disorientated my daughter must feel after a seizure - she doesn't have the ability to tell me herself.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The autism industry

As a mum desperate to help my severely autistic child, headlines such as - ‘How diet cured my son’s autism,’ always grabbed my attention. I felt sceptical. Either the child had been misdiagnosed & wasn't autistic in the first place - or the parents were fooling themselves.

It's easy to get sucked into the huge autism industry that feeds on families like ours. Understandably, parents want to do whatever they can for their child, but some such claims risk giving parents false hope. I constantly felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough to help my daughter, Chrissy. I wasted lots of time researching treatments including vitamin therapies, speical diets & environmental medicine in the hope that it might help her but, as she has a history of adverse reactions to various mainstream medications, I feared alternative therapies could cause more harm than good.

A third of parents of autistic children have tried unproven 'alternative' treatment in their search for a cure and one in ten has used what medical experts class as a 'potentially harmful approach.'

I eventually tried Chrissy, who's now 27, on the gluten & casein free diet for several months. She became anorexic & it had NO effect on her autistic behaviours.

The truth is, there is currently no 'cure' for autism. My view is that we will eventually identify more chromosome anomalies that pre-dispose people to autism. Four years ago, it emerged that Chrissy’s autism and learning disability was caused by a rare chromosome anomaly. No diet or vitamin regime can treat that. You can adapt the environment & use communication strategies to help someone with autism cope better - but you can only go so far with these approaches. I hope one day someone will come up with more effective drug treatments than the one-size-fits-all anti-psychotic drugs that learning disability psychiatrists prescribe now. Anti-psychotics don't work for everyone & can cause nasty side-effects, such as increased agitation & substantial weight gain. Maybe when we know more about the causes of autism & have better treatments, we parents won't waste so much time trying to 'fix' our children.