A nine-year-old girl with autism was led out of school in handcuffs after a meltdown and says police have previously threatened to pepper spray her.
A nine-year-old girl with autism was led out of school in handcuffs after a meltdown and says police have previously threatened to pepper spray her.

Autistic girl handcuffed at school

Shocking video shows the moment a nine-year-old girl with autism was led away in handcuffs by police following a meltdown at her south west Sydney school.

Makayla has autism, oppositional defiant disorder, Tourette's, ADHD and anxiety. She told Nine News she has a voice in her head she struggles to cope with herself, let alone explain to others.

This combination of disorders can result in the young girl experiencing uncontrollable, and sometimes violent, meltdowns.

On some occasions police have been called to help with her outbursts, and the young girl has been handcuffed, put into police cars, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and been heavily sedated and restrained in emergency rooms.

Her mother, Megan, said in a Facebook post she has been told by health professionals her daughter is "one of the kids who has fallen in between the gaps, and she will stay there".

The young girl suffers sometimes violent and uncontrollable meltdowns, which have seen her restrained by police and detained in mental health facilities. Picture: Nine News
The young girl suffers sometimes violent and uncontrollable meltdowns, which have seen her restrained by police and detained in mental health facilities. Picture: Nine News

She said Makayla has triggers that set off her outbursts, and she has been detained in mental health care under section 20 and section 22 - parts of the mental health act which allow ambulance and police officers to take a person to a mental health facility against their will.

Megan told Nine News she needed more specialist help for her daughter, claiming the pair have been "stonewalled" whenever they have reached out for help with Makayla's behaviour.

The Sydney woman said she doesn't blame the police or health workers for their actions, nor does she feel wronged by carers, school or emergency staff.

She instead feels children like Makayla are failed by a lack of available specialists, treatments and supports.

The young girl (pictured with mum Megan) says she just wants “a normal family” but is unable to get the help she desperately needs. Picture: Nine News
The young girl (pictured with mum Megan) says she just wants “a normal family” but is unable to get the help she desperately needs. Picture: Nine News

CEO of the Autism Advisory and Support Service Grace Fava told the program the system that is meant to protect and support children like Makayla is non-existent, leaving her and other children like her more at risk of drug use and jail time.

She explained children with high care needs often wound up in mental health services where they could end up exposed to illicit drugs and inappropriate behaviour.

The diagnosis of autism in Australia is rapidly rising. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, there were 205,000 Australians with Autism in 2018.

This is a 25.1 per cent increase from the 164,000 who had the condition in 2015, and an even bigger rise from the 64,400 people who said they had been diagnosed in 2009.

While Megan feels let down by the system that is meant to protect her daughter (pictured being restrained), experts say there isn’t even a system to be let down by. Picture: Nine News
While Megan feels let down by the system that is meant to protect her daughter (pictured being restrained), experts say there isn’t even a system to be let down by. Picture: Nine News

 

Originally published as Autistic girl handcuffed at school


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