The Council for Disabled Children (The CDC) have created a guide to help health professionals and parent carers improve conversations around prescribing psychotropic medication for children who are autistic or who have a learning disability.
This guide is supported by NHS England and developed with a parent carer co-researcher, based on workshops with parent carers and medical professionals.
They heard concerns from professionals and parent carers that autistic children and those with a learning disability are being prescribed medication they don’t need, the implications of medications are not being explored, or medication is being prescribed without clear information about its impact and how it will be reviewed.
To address these challenges, the CDC worked with parent carers and medical professionals to develop a guide that would benefit:
· Parents and carers of autistic children and young people or those with a learning disability
· Professionals who prescribe medication for children and young people who are autistic or who have a learning disability (like a general practitioner, pharmacist, nurse, psychiatrist or paediatrician)
· Other professionals supporting this group of children (like teachers, SENCO’s, social workers, staff in child and adolescent mental health service e.g., CAMHS)
You can access the guide here.
The guide is separated into the five key sections below:
1. Why are conversations about medication more complex for autistic children and young people and those with a learning disability?
2. Parent and carers views about what works and doesn’t work in conversations about medication
3. How to have effective conversations when medication is being considered
4. How to have effective conversations when medication is being prescribe
5. The importance of medication reviews and how to get the most out of them
Within each section there are downloadable checklists with questions that both parent carers and professionals can use to discuss medication prescription, use and review for a child or young person. There are also practical tools and resources within each section to help gather evidence and provide information on specific issues.
This project supports the STOMP-STAMP campaign.
STOMP (stopping the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both) and STAMP (supporting treatment and appropriate medication in paediatrics). STOMP and STAMP aim to:
· Stop the over-medication of autistic people and those with a learning disability
· Ensure children and young people get the right medication, at the right time for the right reason
· Improve access to wider (non-medical) support that gives children and young people choice, control and a good quality life
You can find some more information out about both the projects here.