Mum’s fight to keep help for autis­tic son

Fears grow over vi­tal fund­ing to sup­port refuge

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

The mother of a four-yearold autis­tic boy says the help she so des­per­ately needs for her son is be­ing taken away just as she has found it.

Amanda Ay­ton, from Spit­tal, is one of many par­ents protest­ing at the po­ten­tial clo­sure of the La­nark­shire Autism One Stop Shop.

To­gether with par­ents, teach­ers and health pro­fes­sion­als, she has signed a pe­ti­tion urg­ing South and North La­nark­shire coun­cils to com­mit to fund­ing the One Stop Shop in the long-term.

That is be­cause the fa­cil­ity’s spe­cial­ist staff equip Amanda with the knowl­edge she needs to be the best pos­si­ble par­ent to her son Lyle.

Amanda be­gan at­tend­ing the One Stop Shop at the start of the year af­ter her son Lyle was di­ag­nosed with autism in De­cem­ber.

She said: “I thought the One Stop Shop would be in our lives for a long time. Now, be­cause of this threat of fund­ing, it could be gone within weeks.

“Why take it away? Where do we turn to now? Who will help us in the fu­ture? There is no other help. Who will ad­vise me when I am hav­ing a re­ally hard time?

“I want to give Lyle the best life I can and be the best par­ent I can be and they’re help­ing me be a good par­ent.”

In just a mat­ter of months, staff at the One Stop Shop have sup­ported Amanda and and hus­band Stu­art to un­der­stand Lyle’s di­ag­no­sis.

They have put both of them on an In­tro­duc­tion to Autism course and or­gan­ised for them to at­tend the more in-depth and per­son­alised pro­fil­ing course.

She has met other par­ents of autis­tic chil­dren and has been given an in­sight into what she can ex­pect as she pre­pares Lyle for school.

Amanda said: “It is a re­ally dif­fi­cult time when you go through

the di­ag­no­sis process. Be­fore he was di­ag­nosed we felt so alone, we had noone to turn to.

“The hospi­tal sent us a list of books to read and the de­tails of the Autism One Stop Shop.

“I con­tacted them and right away they were so nice on the phone.

“It was so good to talk to some­one, to say it out loud.

“I won­der what it is go­ing to be like for Lyle as he gets older so it’s great get­ting in­for­ma­tion from other par­ents.

“It’s the one place you can go and not feel un­com­fort­able when your child has a melt­down, be­cause the other par­ents have been there.

“I feel for the par­ents who won’t have that sup­port.”

Amanda is wait­ing with baited breath to learn whether or not the Mother­well-based fa­cil­ity will be funded by the two lo­cal au­thor­ity ar­eas it serves.

They were so nice on the phone Mum Amanda

Hope Amanda Ay­ton wants to be the “best pos­si­ble par­ent” to her autis­tic son, four-yearold Lyle, and his four sib­lings, in­clud­ing 20-month-old Fin­lay

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