For the past 2 years my 14 year old son has been out of school and has got by successfully with home tuition, (see my earlier blog post). However, due to costs the tuition services used by the local authority have now been closed down, and the authority have not offered any replacement. At the same time Social Services now say that my son's high functioning autism is not disabled enough for any services.Quote from social worker who recently re-assessed his core plan, "it's not as though he can't walk or talk is it?", and talking to my son in the hall she went on to say, "there is nothing wrong with you, you are not disabled, you seem like a fine young man to me and there is nothing that we can offer you".
My son has a statement of special needs and since his ordeal with his secondary school will seldom leave the family home accept with his home tutors. An indipendant psychologist advices in her recent report of my son that schooling can only be reintroduced very slowly or it is going to fail.
The local authority recently backed me up in visiting a school I had discovered independently, since they had failed to fulfil their legal obligation to find him a school themselves,and have now put it on his statement as his school. They now claim that they have found him a school, which by law he is now obliged to attend, and so far as they are concerned they have completed their legal requirement. They are aware also, that implementation back to school has to be slow and carefully planned. However, I am not convinced that the school in question will be able to supply my son's needs and I am appealing against the decision, and visiting a new school which has opened up especially for asperger children aged 16 - 19 and more suitable. But my appeal is grossly affected by cuts in 'legal aid' spending also, making it extremely difficult to bring back the psychologist to further look into both schools and necessary to back up my case.
The home tuition has worked extremely well for my son, and without this as a routine and way of getting him to leave the home I fear that the situation will go backwards. What is needed is continuation of home tuition in view of keeping him focused, expanding the time he is learning, getting him out of doors, and in keeping routines whilst introducing schooling one or two lessons a week until he reaches full time involvement into a suitable school.
At the same time some of the his home tutors have offered to work privately with my son and to accompany him to venues which will aid physical and social development, but is also very expensive. Up until the government cuts this would have been covered by 'Direct Payments', which I believe no longer exists, and in any case I am told that my son's disability of autism does not count as disabled and that no equivalent service will be offered!
News has it that if the present climate continue, we can expect that things will get much worse.
Campaign - ACT NOW
"The proposed benefit cuts and the assessments will begin in 2013 for those on the Autistic Spectrum who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and other benefits. In addition the cuts across Local Authorities and the demise of Primary Care Trusts could have a catastrophic effect on the autism community, a group whose vulnerability already creates high levels of stress and anxiety to those involved."
Please help and sign the petition here