This is an exhibition that explores the theme of the Human Rights of autistic and learning disabled people.
The idea for the exhibition came about through a conversation about how the legal framework of the Human Rights Act seems to barely touch the lives of people with learning disabilities and autistic people.
Contributions to the original exhibition ran from 2018 to 2020 and this can be viewed at the link at the bottom of the page. We still welcome any relevant exhibits anyone would like to send us and these can be seen below.
Something that does not occur to me while they are
Eating cereal with plastic baby spoons
Or not eating at all, except maybe through the nose.
But when they are dead, and it feels the worst,
I fucking roar
Quietly and with respect for those around me, who may have noise sensitivities.
God surely must be quite tired of checking mentally ill children into heaven.
The coroner must be tired.
The nurses must be tired.
I am very tired, it seems relentless these days.
Another day, girl girl girl boy they/them she/them he/them reduced to death by misadventure or chronic or deceased or worse, somehow, EUPD which might have just been autism and/or ADHD and/or PDA profile and/or what does it matter they/them are dying/dead.
I am in love getting married and it’s been 7 years and they’re still dying/dead and I’m here/alive feeling guilty. When does it end? The children without help without choices without voices?
Jessie Eastland Seares died in Mill View psychiatric hospital in Hove at the age of nineteen. A young autistic woman, she is remembered for being artistic, creative, funny, kind and colourful. Yet, she was failed by a system that was supposed to help her. She asked her parents to share her story and so we are proud to share some of her wonderful artwork here.
Dannielle is autistic and her poem is about the trauma of sexual abuse within the walls of a psychiatric hospital. Her bravery and her determination to use her creative skills to keep going shine though her words.
The video of her poem is here and is read by Alexis Quinn.
Josh is 16 and a young artist.
He loves art and can name any famous artist in seconds since age 7.
He goes to art lesson on Saturdays.
Being an artist has given my son huge confidence.
Josh has autism and OCD with social and health anxiety.
Those issues hinder him hugely but I am so very proud of him for going to those classes as it’s hugely difficult for him to deal with society and groups of people.
One of his pieces have been acquired by Lush cosmetics for Christmas 2023 paper. On that paper will be little secret messages that both Joshy and I did.
He is so very proud of it and so am I.
He has sold two of his paintings.
And was choked by how much it went for.
The money goes to the charity that gives him the lessons.
So he has not made any money.
A Chinese gallery in Hong Kong is interested in taking the painting of the monkey to Hong Kong.
We don’t know if it will happen but if it does, again it’s a huge achievement for a young man who would not speak to anyone or ever go out unless it was to school and even school was hard.
It goes to show that if you have an ability and you have autism or any other disability and people tell you what you can’t do and not what you can , you will never know what you can go for.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.
We were sent this anonymously. Read it out loud for all those detained.
ATU’s Mother’s Day
My child is a prisoner, I the walking wounded.
He cries at night, Mum! My body and soul bled of the life force I so desperately need to get him out of there.
“He’s fine today, he ate his dinner”, cold comfort six months later, detained he’s still a sinner paying the price for not being ‘nice’ for being autistic.
My son, my love, my centre of being, my thoughts of you now, of what you have seen, heard, endured in that hell-hole of the absurd where so many others have been. You didn’t deserve this.
Tomorrow is Mother’s day, our 30 minute visit cut short to allow other mums to elicit a reaction, smile, hug, from their own traumatised childen, sustaining them another week, while they ask when will this nightmare end.
It’s the night before Mother’s Day and while I believe this day was made more for Hallmark Cards and florists than me, this Mother’s day will get my attention, the day my son remained in secluded detention for something he didn’t do and the failure of this nation, despite the First World location, to understand he is:
As Mother’s Day approaches, we’ve been thinking about all the parents who have children in ATUs and all other institutional settings, and of all the parents with a learning disability and autistic parents who may be stuck in these places.
We wondered if parents in these situations will be apart from their children on this day when so many other families are able to celebrate, so we made a video to look at the issues.
In this video, we hear a poem about how it feels to be so exhausted from the battle against the system. We then hear from Alexis Quinn, Dr Dawn Cavanagh and Julie Newcombe about their own personal experiences of being apart from their loved ones.
Finally, there is information about blanket restrictions and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (respect for your private and family life) that people might find useful in challenging hospital decisions not to allow visits.