Feb 9, 2020, Derbyshire Live: Derbyshire mum says getting support for autistic son has been 'hell' https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/derbyshire-mum-says-getting-support-3819073 A mum says that trying to get Derbyshire County Council to provide sufficient support for her autistic son has been “hell and torment”. Kim Mullins, who lives in Tibshelf with her five-year-old son Rueben, says the process is one that she would not wish on her worst enemy. She says that Derbyshire County Council is failing the area’s most vulnerable children and that parents are having to be tenacious and aggressive, "like rottweilers", in order to secure support for kids with special educational needs. Ms Mullins started the process of trying to get an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) for her son in February 2019 and only received a version in January this year. This delay meant that her son did not have sufficient support from the council for the majority of last year, did not start school in September as he was supposed to, and will be out of school until this September. Fortunately, the plan does secure Rueben a place at Swanwick Primary School, which has gained a good reputation for its care of children with special educational needs…. The council has more than 3,000 EHC plans on its books. Rueben has been diagnosed as autistic and struggles with loud noises and bright lights, which often leads to him wearing ear defenders whenever he is out of the house. He excludes himself from social situations as a result of the condition…. Ms Mullins says that Rueben often becomes so agitated that he will bang his head against the floor until he has calmed down. She says that the council had at one stage advised that she should go to tribunal to carry forward complaints over delays in the process…. In April 2019, Ms Mullins received a letter from the county council, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in which it states it was “not necessary” to carry out an EHC Plan assessment for Rueben because his needs were being met. Rueben was formally diagnosed by staff at Chesterfield Royal Hospital a month later, in May. The council then said, two weeks later, in June, that it would assess Rueben after all, “in light of new information”. Ms Mullins said: “It has taken over my whole life. “There is so little support out there and what support is there is so expensive…. “How is it 2020 and they are still being let down?)… In response, a Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Supporting children with special education needs and disabilities is one of our most complex and sensitive areas of work. Each child’s case is unique and requires careful consideration….