Why We Might Abandon Our Autistic Daughter
By Sam Lister in the Daily Post
A postmaster jailed for swindling Â£50,000 to fund his daughter’s
out-of-control spending says he may be forced to abandon her.
Bill Ainscow was sentenced to 15 months jail in January after
pleading guilty to stealing money from pension books at his post office but was released on appeal last month.
He and his wife, Wendy, have had to re-mortgage their detached home
in Prenton Dell Road, Wirral, to repay the stolen cash.
But the couple say they are back in the same desperate position that
drove Mr Ainscow, who worked in oceanology for 20 years and for the Ministry
of Defence, to steal.
Daughter Lisa, 32, suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism
that causes severe behavioural problems. Her constant threats and jibes are
something the couple have learned to deal with since she hit her teenage
But Lisa’s compulsive spending has driven them to financial ruin as
well as landing Mr Ainscow in jail and the little money they have is rapidly
Mr Ainscow said: “It’s nobody’s fault, it’s not ours, our daughter’s
or the medical staff who deal with her.
“The doctors cannot section her because she doesn’t have the correct
kind of mental health condition, the police cannot do anything unless she
commits a crime.
“Everyone is powerless to help but it just means we are back to
square one and we don’t know where to turn for help.
“We are going to see Stephen Hesford, our MP, to see if he can help
us. We can’t carry on like this. If something doesn’t change soon we’re
going to have to just leave the house and Lisa and start somewhere new.
“We don’t want to do it, but we can’t see any other way. I don’t know
where we would go.”
Mr Ainscow stole to fund his daughter’s spending sprees. Lisa demands
money for expensive clothes daily and has filled every room in their house
with her purchases.
And Mrs Ainscow, 63, has had to return to work as a supply teacher to
pay for her daughter’s expensive tastes.
She said: “Every day is horrific. From the minute she gets up she
bombards us with threats.”
“Lisa gets very depressed and often talks about killing herself.
She’s even written to Tony Blair asking if she can be “euthanised”.
“She is a child in an adult’s body. We don’t want to leave her to
fend for herself but we don’t know what else to do.”
Brenda Nally, regional co-ordinator of the National Autistic Society,
said: “It can be extremely stressful for the families of those with
“Compulsive behaviour like this is a way of someone with the syndrome
to have control over their lives. Trying to stop them is not an easy task.”
New report backs parents’ anguished plea A REPORT published today
backs the plea for help by Wirral couple Bill and Wendy Ainscow.
Autism: Rights in Reality by the National Autistic Society claims
that people with autism are still falling between the gaps when it comes to
getting the support and benefits they are entitled to.
It has been released to coincide with Autism Awareness Week 2003
which starts today, and reveals how sufferers of Asperger’s Syndrome don’t fit
current ways of thinking about disability.
Over 60pc of carers found getting support from social services
difficult and 40pc were unhappy with the help they received.
Steve Broach, co-author of the report, said: “People with autism
spectrum disorders continue to find themselves doubly excluded. First as a
result of their social and communication impairments, and then because
support services are not designed or equipped to effectively meet their
“The Government has started to address this exclusion but more needs
to be done.
“An urgent priority is autism awareness training and job-specific
training in autism for all professionals working with this group.
“Families affected by autism also need more and better information to
help them access their full range of rights and entitlements.”