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  • John Murray

Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk - A Death by Indifference

Sara Ryan

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome

A mother's memoir which tells the story of her son's premature death while in NHS care, and her subsequent campaign for justice and for the rights of people with learning disabilities

On July 4th 2013, Connor Sparrowhawk, also known as Laughing Boy or LB, was found dead in a specialist NHS unit. Connor, who had autism and epilepsy, had a seizure while in the bath and no member of staff was on hand to stop him from drowning. An entirely preventable death.

Sara Ryan presents a frank, sometimes funny and touching account of her son's early life and preventable death and the unfolding #JusticeforLB campaign. This serves as a wake-up call to all of us and asks: can we really claim that we respect the life and dignity of learning disabled people?

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Praise for Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk - A Death by Indifference

  • Anyone who cares about patient safety and fairness should read this book. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh, it will make you think, and I would be amazed if it did not make you passionate about changing things.

  • A salutary lesson on what happens when public services lose their heart and forget that they exist to serve the public and, in particular, be part of addressing the prejudices and disadvantage that are inherent in our society.

  • The heart of this story rises above a narrative of private grief and public failure by offering a powerful eulogy to the sheer force of love, especially the personality and character of Connor Sparrowhawk that helped inspire a social movement for truth, justice and accountability. Everyone committed to accountable public services should read this book and learn from it.

  • This brilliantly written book is so many things. It's a story of love and loss, a story of people dying preventable deaths because our society doesn't care enough, a story of how what started as one family's battle for accountability turned into a social movement.

  • The echoes of those who no longer speak... no candy coating, it is what it is; a tragedy born from negligence. To quote: 'At the heart of this story is love'. Love 'mobilised a social movement' and love keeps hope alive. Not a good read, a must read.

  • This is, rightly, a book which makes difficult reading for anyone professionally invested in any part of the system - for exactly the same reasons, it should make compulsory reading.

  • A truly remarkable book that should never have had to be written, and that should be read by literally anyone who cares about their fellow human being; Sara brings beauty to her narrative, juxtaposed to the brutal ugliness of the subject matter, juxtaposed to the heart wrenching loving memory of a son taken from his family before his time. An emotional roller coaster made even more poignant by reason that the text is so tragically not fictional.

  • This is a story that needs to reach as wide an audience as possible. Only then will people such as Connor receive the care and protection they are entitled to.

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Sara Ryan

Dr Sara Ryan is a social scientist at the University of Oxford, specialising in autism and learning disabilities. Her blog, 'My Daft Life', started before Connor's death, and continues to document the events that followed

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