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Guidance on Fabricated or Induced Illness

BASW have published a Practice Guide for Social Workers on Fabricated or Induced Illness and Perplexing Presentations. The Guide describes what is meant by these terms and the evidence (and more importantly, lack of evidence) for their suggested indictors. It also challenges the notion that parents seeking the best for their child, are inadvertently harming them. This is a practical Guide which considers the ways in which Social Workers should remain open to a range of causes of disagreements when the difficulties experienced by a child or young person are not easily understood by medical practitioners or schools.

It appears that autistic parents and children, and those with multi-systemic conditions such as ME and Ehler's Danlos Syndrome, are especially susceptible to being thought to be fabricating or exaggerating symptoms, and so this is explicitly covered in this new Guide.

The PDA Society regularly supports parents who have been accused of FII by doctors or schools (for example because of non-attendance) and who are being investigated by social services. It is hoped that the understanding provided by the Practice Guide and any following training will contribute to a change in mind-set that allows social workers to assess for needs and challenge other professionals as necessary. It feels like we are witnessing an epidemic of 'parent blame'; the notion that when a child is in distress, it must be the fault of the parents.