We live in a world where choice is easy – we can choose everything from the time we get up in the morning to the food we will eat, from the career path we follow to the hobbies we enjoy. There is an abundance of choice all around us every day, in fact, often there is too much choice!

But what if these choices were suddenly taken away from you? What if you couldn’t make even the most basic of choices for yourself? This is the reality for the hundreds of young people in the UK right now who are detained needlessly in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs), with no prospect of getting out. News of this abuse of ATUs makes us even more passionate about campaigning for people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs to have a choice.

Next time you make a decision for an individual you support, ask yourself, how can I help them to make the choice themselves? It may not be easy, and may take some time and effort, but you will get there. It is not for us to make all of the choices, just because it is the ‘easy’ option.

This is what is happening at ATUs. It is easy to over medicate rather than addressing the challenge, it is easy to isolate rather than to ask what could you do differently, it is easy to restrain rather than to listen. There should be no ‘easy’ option, only the ‘right’ option. The right option for the individual – to give them a choice!

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