A charity is urging MPs to join its fight for a specialist treatment centre for conditions linked to autism.
Treating Autism has contacted all 650 MPs by email. It is part of the charity’s “In Pain, Can’t Explain” campaign.
The campaign suggests that many people with autism suffer because of neglect of their medical needs.
It says that individuals with autism are often unable to explain any physical pain they might be enduring.
Campaign against closure
As part of the campaign, Treating Autism wants to stop the closure of the former Calderstones Hospital, in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
The hospital, currently known as Mersey Care’s Specialist Learning Disability Services, is a secure facility.
Treating Autism wants it converted to a specialist centre for diagnosing illnesses linked to autism.
These linked conditions would include epilepsy, migraines and acid reflux or heartburn. They are all more common in people with autism than in the general population.
Joanne Allman, a trustee with Treating Autism, said aggression can be the result of an undiagnosed illness.
Those affected can end up on anti-psychotics or in care because doctors have not investigated the underlying cause.
Allman, from Formby, on Merseyside, experienced the issue with 17-year-old son Matty in his early childhood.
As a toddler, Matty struggled with meltdowns. He would wake in the night sobbing.
But a gastroenterologist revealed he was severely constipated.
Symptoms ‘just attributed to autism’
Allman said: “That’s what was causing the symptoms, but the symptoms were just being attributed to autism.”
The charity’s email to MPs urges them to raise the issue in Parliament.
Treating Autism has also launched a petition on the website change.org to convert Mersey Care’s Specialist Learning Disability Services. More than 1,200 people had added their names at the time of writing.
NHS England North said it would consider the petition as a response to a consultation on the site’s future.
- You can visit the charity’s petition here: https://www.change.org/p/save-calderstones-hospital-from-closure-turn-it-into-a-national-autism-treatment-centre
- The Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/TACampaigns/?fref=ts
- Related: Fight to treat autism-related illnesses