Disabled activists have welcomed “timely” new research that concludes that the government’s “fitness for work” process has caused a deterioration in many people’s mental health which they have failed to recover from, and has even led to thoughts of suicide.
The research, Mental Health And Unemployment In Scotland, was carried out by academics at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Napier universities*.
Researchers spoke in-depth to 30 people across Scotland with mental health conditions who had experienced the work capability assessment (WCA) system, as well as staff from advice and advocacy organisations.
They concluded that the assessors, employed by the US outsourcing company Maximus, “do not appear to have appropriate expertise in mental health”.
And they added: “The WCA experience for many, caused a deterioration in people’s mental health which individuals did not recover from.
“In the worst cases, the WCA experience led to thoughts of suicide.”
Professor Abigail Marks, one of the report’s authors, said their research showed that WCAs were “fundamentally discriminatory to people with mental health conditions”.
The research emerged as disabled people’s organisations gave evidence this week to the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities about the UK government’s failure to implement the UN disability convention.
Source: ‘Fitness for work’ test has led to deterioration in mental health, say researchers | DisabledGo News and Blog
Current laws that aim to ensure disabled people are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully are “in crisis” and need to be replaced urgently, according to the government’s advisers on law reform. The current system has led to tens of thousands of people with dementia and learning difficulties being detained in hospitals and care homes without the appropriate independent checks that their rights have not been breached, according to the Law Commission. This week, following a public consultation, the commission published its final report on Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty, which includes proposals for new legislation on how the law should ensure that people without the capacity to give their consent to their care arrangements are the least restrictive they can be and are also in that person’s best interests. The current system, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), has been described as an “administrative and bureaucratic nightmare”, and the report says it is “overly
Source: Deprivation of liberty rules are ‘in crisis’ and must be replaced, says Law Commission | DisabledGo News and Blog
A new study looking at injury mortality in people with autism finds that accidental deaths are common and that swimming lessons could save lives.
Source: Swimming lessons may be life-saver for children with autism – Medical News Today
“My 10 year-old child with high-functioning autism is very smart, but he is very, very poorly coordinated. He has difficulty riding his bike, bowling, catching, hitting a tennis ball, kicking, shooting a basketball, diving in a pool, swinging a bat, and throwing. He can’t run fast without tripping, and he has terrible posture. As an infant, he was a later walker (almost 17 months). He was a very sloppy eater, and still has trouble cutting with a knife or the edge of his fork. Also, he had some speech articulation issues. We were hoping he would grow out of all this, but he hasn’t. I wonder if there is anything we could do to help him be less awkward. Does what I’ve described sound “normal” for some children with autism? Or does it sound concerning? How physically uncoordinated should he be before we try to get professional help for him?”
Many children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) have a comorbid condition called Hypotonia, which is sometimes referred to as “floppiness.” This is because the muscles are meant to help support the skeletal system and are designed to prevent certain kinds of motion. Because the muscles are not especially tight, children with Hypotonia frequently experience “hypermobility” (i.e., the ability to move limbs into awkward positions). They often find that they’re able to very easily carry out feats that require flexibility, but not strength or balance (e.g., splits, back-bending, shoulder rotation, etc.). Also, they may display uncommon flexibility in other joints (e.g., fingers).
Source: My Aspergers Child: Hypotonia in Kids on the Autism Spectrum
Two people involved in the brutal murder of a disabled man who was imprisoned and tortured to death have had their sentences increased by the court of appeal. Julie Mills and Nicole Lawrence were originally sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court last year after being convicted of involvement in the death of Lee Irving. He had been repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on by James Wheatley, in attacks that took place over nine days, leaving him with multiple broken bones and other injuries. After he died, his body was taken on a pushchair through a housing estate and dumped on a patch of grass near the A1 in Kenton Bar, Newcastle. The court of appeal decided this week that the prison sentences of eight years and four years handed to Mills and Lawrence were too low, and resentenced Mills, Wheatley’s mother, to 10 years in prison, and Lawrence, his girlfriend, to seven years. Wheatley did not have his life sentence for murder – of which he will serve at least 23 years – challenged, while the
Source: Lee Irving murder sentences increased, but still no hate crime recognition | DisabledGo News and Blog
New method uses biochemistry to accurately predict whether a child will develop autism spectrum disorder by measuring the products of metabolic processes.
Source: New biochemical method accurately diagnoses autism in children – Medical News Today
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have gained new insight into the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that may contribute to impaired sociability in some forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Led by Matthew P. Anderson, MD, PhD, Director of Neuropathology at BIDMC, the scientists determined how a gene linked to one common form of autism works in a specific population of brain cells to impair sociability. The research, published in the journal Nature, reveals the neurobiological control of sociability and could represent important first steps toward interventions for patients with autism.
Anderson and colleagues focused on the gene UBE3A, multiple copies of which causes a form of autism in humans (called isodicentric chromosome 15q).Conversely, the lack of this same gene in humans leads to a developmental disorder called Angelman’s syndrome, characterized by increased sociability. In previous work, Anderson’s team demonstrated that mice engineered with extra copies of the UBE3A gene show impaired sociability, as well as heightened repetitive self-grooming and reduced vocalizations with other mice.
Source: The genes and neural circuits behind autism’s impaired sociability – Medical News Today
With so much focus in recent months on the scientifically discredited notion that childhood vaccines cause autism, the real threats to health care and services for people with autism and other disabilities aren’t being given enough attention, argue two leading health policy experts.
“President Donald Trump’s apparent openness to a long-debunked link between vaccines and autism risks encouraging Americans to stop vaccinating their children, posing a serious public health threat,” the researchers write in the March 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. “Meanwhile, renewed attention to disproven theories about autism may be distracting us from growing threats to essential policies that support the health and well-being of people with autism or other disabilities.
Source: Don’t be distracted: The real issues in autism are threats to funding, services, say experts — ScienceDaily