Reading this piece and watching the video in The Telegraph this morning has led me to revisit something that happened to Emily. I'm posting it so that people are not mistakenly believing that this is only something that can happen in America. My heart breaks for this boy and his mother.
On 22nd November in 2016 at her home Emily went into a meltdown. A care worker phoned the police who arrived at Emily's home, with the blue lights lit. They were let into the property by the same care worker and after period of time where she didn't calm and things didn't de-escalate, Emily was placed in a prone restraint on her bedroom floor and handcuffed.
The care worker declined to press charges against Emily and it's a good thing she did, because as I understand it, Emily would then have been taken by the police to the local psychiatric hospital and sectioned.
I live in fear of that happening again. I'm so frightened I can't begin to even tell you what that is doing to me. I can't begin to imagine what this must have done to our beautiful girl.
Apparently with her hands still handcuffed behind her back, Emily went into the living room, picked up the sky remote control and put Thomas the Tank Engine on the TV. The incongruent mix of those two images is making me cry as I type.
When we found out we went to see her. She had marks on her wrists and she put on a youtube clip from 101 Dalmatians of the scene where the maid is locked in a room by the two villains and shouts "I'm calling the police"
Emily said "They called the cops Mummy."
I can't imagine ever making that choice myself. Even when I sustained broken bones and alone with Emily in full meltdown, I never made that choice. I'm not better than the individual care worker who made this decision, I just know that the police have a course of action and a protocol they must follow in an emergency. That's why I never called them.
The police aren't social workers, they're not care workers. They deal with emergencies and they deal with criminals and in any acute situation they have to contain it for everyone's safety. That's what they did. Crucially however the police should never have been called in the first place.
We've been offered a meeting with the police and I'm going to accept because this is a reality for learning disabled people in our country and around the world.
Lots of people are talking about lessons being learned from this. What this is supposed to have taught Emily, or anyone with autism, I have no idea.