Distressing images showing a nine-year-old girl being taken away from her school in handcuffs have highlighted the need for further mental health support for youths in NSW.
The confronting scene took place in southwest Sydney earlier this week and shows schoolgirl Makayla being cuffed by two officers after a meltdown at her primary school.
Makayla has a combination of conditions, including autism spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD and anxiety, 9News reported.
At times she suffers from uncontrolled violent outbursts, leaving her mother covered in bruises.
It’s not the first time Makayla has been handcuffed.
She has been put in paddy wagons, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and sedated numerous times.
The girl’s mother, Megan, told 9News her daughter has “fallen through the cracks” of the system.
"We're just being stonewalled everywhere we go," she said, calling for a better support system for children like Makayla.
“I just want to be a normal family,” Makayla told 9News. “I want to make mummy proud.”
‘There is no system’
CEO of the Autism Advisory and Support Service Grace Fava said for every child that approaches them, there are “at least another one hundred” crying out for help.
"The system is letting them down. I'd say the system is broken but as somebody once eloquently put it, there is no system,” she told the outlet.
Ms Fava said these children are at a higher risk of turning to illicit substances and are more likely to end up in prison.
The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is growing at a faster rate than any other disability, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
An estimated 164,000 Australians had autism in 2015 - up from 64,400 people in 2009, an ABS survey reported.
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