During the first week in May we are holding the world’s first ever FII Awareness Week.
FII is the abbreviated term for ‘Fabricated or Induced Illness’ which is a term given to parents by professionals when they believe that they are ‘making up’ or ‘exaggerating’ their child’s difficulties; often with no formal evidence.
The term is used loosely as there is no diagnostic process for it, and is often mistaken for the clinical diagnosis Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) or Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIoA).
FII is merely a ‘term’ backed up assumption and, often, no evidence.
In recent years we have seen a sharp rise in cases where children are placed on child protection plans and even removed from the family due to wrongful accusations of FII. We believe this is due to more parents understanding their rights and advocating with power on behalf of their children who need extra support for diagnosed or undiagnosed special educational needs.
The patterns that follow these parental requests often result in the parent knowing more than the professional which, in line with current guidelines, can often unnerve professionals leading them to think the parent is ‘obsessed’ with their child’s additional needs. When the truth is often that the parent is traumatised by the neglect their child is suffering at the hands of the ‘system’ and is determined to gain assessment and understanding of their child’s needs in order for them to be met.
Another concern of professionals is the cost involved in supporting the child. It is cheaper to seek alternative arrangements through child protection proceedings than to implement specialist help.
Accusations of FII are destroying families up and down the country. The accusations are easy to make and require little by way of proof. They more commonly plague families who have family members who are Autistic or have perplexing presentations that, generally, professionals do not have the required in-depth understanding of.
In 2022 independent social worker Cathie Long and leading Clinical Psychologist Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott completed research into this, you can read the outcome of the study here.
The outcome of this research has prompted a change in guidance for professionals who suspect FII, MSbP or FDIoA.
For all the reasons above we are committed to raising awareness of FII and the wrongful accusations that are made by making FII the topic on everyone’s agenda during the first week in May 2022.
We aim to:
- Provide validation to parents who are experiencing this injustice
- Provide a clear route of support and information to parents
- Highlight the issue with professionals, and provide education around this topic
- Highlight the new guidance so that both professionals and parents, alike, can benefit from the knowledge to ensure children and their families are appropriately supported
We are not bringing about shame to current practice or certain professionals, but through our educating people on this topic we aim to reduce wrongful accusations of FII and improve support for families affected by special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
Please can you join us?
During FII Awareness Week we will have a plethora of information being shared in many different formats over a variety of medias.
We encourage you to:
- Share our information far and wide (text, email, social media etc)
- Share your own information far and wide
- Hashtag #FIIawarenessweek and #stoptheblamegame
Help us to create a social media takeover!