A SUDBURY mother has hit out at what she claims is a lack of care for parents whose children have autism.
Cat Webber’s son Zak Lovell attends Pingle School’s specialist autism centre, in Coronation Street, Swadlincote but is currently off sick while he struggles with his behavioural problems.
While Zak, who turns 13 on Christmas Day, doesn’t have learning disabilities, his mother believes he also has PDA (pathological demand avoidance) which makes it difficult for him to respond to requests.
Miss Webber, of Sudbury Park, said: “He was diagnosed with autism at eight-years-old, but I left work to care for him when he was six.
“A social worker came to visit and assess me. They decided I managed fine but I am a single mother and I don’t get any respite.
“I have asked for respite but you just don’t get anything, not until the next time we go into a crisis. I feel for parents with children with autism. People have no idea what it is like.
“Zak is always extremely anxious. I believe he has PDA so when he is at home (now) he doesn’t think he has to do any school work so won’t.”
Miss Webber, who lives on income support and carers allowance, is now the chairman of Harmony Group which supports parents of children with autism in the area.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We provide a range of services for children with autism and their families.
“For example we have two autism outreach teams and the Holbrook Centre for Autism which provide support to children to enable them to learn alongside their peers.
“We’ve also developed the Derbyshire Autism Pathways which involves identifying autism spectrum disorders earlier, listening to parents and carers and providing support.
“Families are allocated a lead professional who work with them to co-ordinate support.
“We’ve also set up a Children’s Autism Co-ordinating Group – which includes parent representatives - and more than 140 of our staff have received autism awareness training to respond to children’s needs better.
“We also provide funding to the Parent Partnership - an organisation which supports to parents of children with special educational needs.”