Mum’s fight to keep help for autistic son
Fears grow over vital funding to support refuge
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