Mother’s mis­ery as wait goes on for ‘autis­tic’ son

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Guy Bell gbell@thek­m­ @gbel­lKM

A seven-year-old boy has been ex­cluded from school four times in five months as his mother faces an ag­o­nis­ing wait for con­fir­ma­tion he is autis­tic – and ac­cess to help she says he des­per­ately needs.

Two years ago, Kayleigh Parn­ham took her son Alex Wat­son to spe­cial­ists when he be­gan to show traits of Asperger’s syn­drome.

The 29-year-old has tried count­less times to have him tested fol­low­ing vi­o­lent out­bursts and tod­dler-like be­hav­iour which has seen him ex­cluded from North Bor­ough Ju­nior School in Maid­stone for two days at a time and banned from an af­ter-school club.

Mrs Parn­ham, a trainee teacher from Vin­ters Park, said he found life dif­fi­cult af­ter mov­ing from St Paul’s In­fant School.

She said: “There are not enough staff to do tests be­cause of cuts and the chil­dren are be­ing left to their own de­vices. There are lots of par­ents hav­ing this prob­lem.

“Alex’s nurs­ery brushed it off as be­ing a phase and said he would grow out of it.” At St Paul’s, he strug­gled to adapt dur­ing the tran­si­tion be­tween re­cep­tion and Year 1.

Ses­sions with a school psy­chol­o­gist helped un­til Alex’s be­hav­iour de­te­ri­o­rated.

He was re­ferred to a pae­di­a­tri­cian in Oc­to­ber and as­sessed but, this month, the mother-of-three was told she might have to wait an­other year for the re­sults.

A full di­ag­no­sis of autism would al­low the school to gain fund­ing to help ed­u­cate Alex, said Mrs Parn­ham.

She added: “He could throw chairs and ob­jects. I re­mem­ber he tried to catch a teacher with a pair of scis­sors.

“He comes home cry­ing. He knows his be­hav­iour makes oth­ers sad but he just can’t stop it.

“With­out a di­ag­no­sis there is noth­ing the school can do.

“I was warned I could be wait­ing be­tween six and 12 months for re­sults.

“The school has done its best. The NHS sys­tem means it has just taken far too long.

“There isn’t enough fund­ing for them to be able to pro­vide these chil­dren with what they need.

“It af­fects the whole class. Other chil­dren are get­ting scared of him but, ac­tu­ally, he is a lovely boy.”

Kayleigh Parn­ham is anx­ious for a di­ag­no­sis for her son, Alex Wat­son

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