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Emily Clark Needs To Know Her Future #Emilyneedstoknow

October 9, 2012

Readers, I’ve just been to Twitter and read something that has made me unhappy.

Emily Clark, teenage daughter of disability rights campaigner Nicky Clark, is currently waiting for Shropshire Council to make a decision about a placement for her at a residential school.

Emily’s severe autism means the wait is confusing her and causing her distress.

I asked Nicky for full details and have just received the following email from her:

 
Emily began accessing respite care when she was seven. They provde  vital service which saves lives and keeps families together. In January 2010 after a year of violent outburst Emil accessed emergency care and we truly felt she couldn’t return home. However she did and by May 2011 she began refusing to attend school. The school did everything they could to enable Emily to be educated but Emily was beyond the stage of being picked up and taken where she did not wish to go. That summer in sainsburys Emily began to go into a meltdown I tried to get to the front of the store to get a phone signal nd Emily frightened and confused picked me up and threw me resulting in breaking my coccyx. Later that summer she refused to access respite and remained at home all day refusing to go anywhere.
 
In December my mum died of Alzheimers and in the weeks preceding this she had refused all personal care. We knew it wasn’t possible for  Emmy to attend my Mum’s funeral so we asked a friend and former key worker to sit with Emmy and this kind lady began visiting once a week so that Emily could at least have a bath and brush her teeth.
 
Two months ago in another of Emily’s frequent bouts of violence she broke my finger when i put my hand up to protect myself. Subsequent to this we realised that we could no longer continue to put the whole family at risk. Lizzy loves her sister but she became very anxious through her Asperger’s syndrome and because life at home is so stressful and the preceding October dropped out of doing her A levels in the second year.
Lizzy is expected to stay in her room all the time because Emily is too challenged by Lizzy’s presence even though Lizzy tries not to interact with her sister unless invited to do so.
 
The whole house is run to Emily’s needs and as she has made her world smaller those needs include us not speaking unless she needs us to not watching telelvision not occupying rooms she does not wish us too and not laughing or crying or causing her anxieties to become worse.
 
We did not see a social worker for many months during this time. Education were in touch to see whether Emily still required a place at the specialist school. Obviously I was attempting to take her in but again Emily’s anxieties spilled over into violence when challenged. So I agreed to try and educated Emily myself which was difficult due to her refusing.
 
We had several meetings following my finger being broken and it was agreed by everyone present that residential school was most likely the best option for everyone especially Emily who needs to access the world.
 
All the paperwork was begun and Emily happily began attending respite again when the staff visited us and asked her to go. Then on Friday 28th September Emily hit a full meltdown. She wanted to go back to her mainstream junior school. I’d tried repeatedly to distract her from this idea because Education did not feel this was a possibility at all. She became violent again and I was seriously concerned that she was out of control. She grabbed the phone and smashed it and smashed the door and punched kicked and pushed me over.
 
I managed to phone the social worker from the garden on my mobile she arrived and respite provision was organised . The key workers came out and Emily left on the bus in her nightie and dressing gown and slippers.
 
Since then I’ve been fighting to get Shropshire Council to make a decision. Since then staff have been trying to calm Emily’s fears and distress. Some days are better thn others but she is regularly crying and distressed and the staff can’t tell her what is happening because the Council won’ make up their minds.
 
We had already identified the residential school Emily needs. They have a place at the moment and feel they can provide everything Emily needs to have a happy life and access education. They visited us and met her. It’s a lovely family run school with a small number of pupils and great facilities. When I visited I was struck with how happy the young people were. Thats all anyone wants for their child.
 
This is the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. I feel broken hearted and everytime I hear that Emily is upset I am further  broken by it. We need to know, staff need to know but more importantly Emily needs to know because with every day that passes she is getting more anxious and confused. None of us can move on with out lives but we can all rationalise this. Emily can’t all she knows is that she hurt mummy and then went away. She needs help and I’m appealing to you to help me get this.
Shropshire council can make this easier and quicker and better for Emily but they won’t. they’re looking for cheaper not better their looking for process not speed and their going home to their own familiies everyday whilst not understanding that we are a family of equal value brought to crisis and then broken by the system.
 
 Emily is one of the kindest people ever made. She is just going through a tunnel of adolescent pain and needs our support. If she wasn’t disabled she stomp off to meet her friends and moan about her parents. She’s get a tattoo or rebel in some other way but Emily has no friends she only has us and I’m fighting to make sure she gets a decent quality of life whilst doing something no mother wants to do, give her up.
There is more information on Nicky’s Twitter feed. If you would like to help, please Tweet Shropshire Council on @ShropCouncil about the case, including the hashtag #Emilyneedstoknow.

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