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(UK) Leeds: Girl, 10, with autism out of school since Sept; local school reject her

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

Mar 16, 2022, Leeds Live: Leeds girl, 10, 'desperate to make friends' has been rejected by every school in the city

Leyla Gallagher, who has Autism, ADHD and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), loves people but schools across Leeds say they don't have a place for her A Leeds 10-year-old has been out of school since summer and unable to make the friends she craves because everywhere in the area has rejected her. Leyla Gallagher, from Horsforth, has Autism, ADHD and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). This means following everyday expectations and demands causes extreme anxiety, and therefore Leyla struggles in mainstream schools. But Leyla's Mum Daniella, 39, says every provision in Leeds has said it 'can't meet Leyla's needs', leaving her stuck at home, isolated and feeling different. Daniella told LeedsLive: "It's been hell for Leyla. She's socially isolated. A lot of Autistic people have special interests - Leyla's special interest is people…. Leyla was previously in mainstream education, but began to struggle from around year one onwards. In 2019, she was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, and Daniella started looking at alternative provisions Leyla could attend, and found her a place at a partnership school with an attached provision to start in January 2020. In December 2020, Leyla had PDA traits added to her diagnosis by CAMHS…. "Mainstream schools just looked at her as 'that naughty child'. While she was in mainstream schooling she was locked in classrooms when she was having meltdowns before she was diagnosed," Daniella said. … The school Leyla was at until June 2021 have helped sort out a six to 12 week placement at a provision over in Knottingley for Leyla to attend temporarily. Currently Daniella is driving miles over from Horsforth to Knottingley every day to give Leyla an opportunity to find out what education might look like for her. But the provision isn't permanent as a solution. "It's heart-breaking for me. She's my baby and I want her to be happy. I know she will be amazing at whatever she does when she finds herself," Daniella said. … A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Whilst we are not able to comment on individual cases, the local authority is committed to work in partnership with parents and in the best interests of children. We strive to meet the provision needs of children with SEND and aspirations of parents and we take the concerns of parents seriously. “PDA is a clinical diagnosis and therefore we are led by our clinical partners in their use of diagnostic terminology. Our statutory processes, consultation with specialist and mainstream settings and provision offer is not restricted by a diagnostic framework. “We endeavour to work restoratively with all families to ensure children with SEND meet their aspirations and outcomes.”

Leyla, 10, has been bullied and left with low self-esteem due to her situation


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