We listened with great interest and empathy to a report on BBC Radio 4 about the problems in the care system when it comes to meeting the needs of  people with learning disabilities; in particular autism where they exhibit  challenging behaviour and  end up in secure hospital units rather than being offered supported care in the community.

It was sobering to hear parents recounting what it is like to feel at crisis point with their children as their behaviour becomes a police matter and the care environment treats them as criminals while their condition is not improved but made even worse.

There was even the example of one person who has to live off the grid in Africa rather than risk being taken away and locked up in a psychiatric unit in this country, medicated and restrained against her will. 
We understand only too well the need to take a personal approach to the individual where there are complex and profound needs to find a pathway of care which enhances their lives rather than reduces them to almost inhumane levels of existence.

There was one happy experience though, of a patient being housed close to her family in a facility where she felt safe and cared for but with enough freedom to be herself and mindful of her neighbours.  With a tendency to burst into song at times of anxiety, the walls were thick enough and set far apart enough for her to perform as often as she needed to.

To listen to the broadcast in full, follow this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v0fvc