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(UK) Liverpool: 4 y.o. with severe autism has no school place

Nov 2, 2023, Liverpool Echo: Mum 'fighting for basic human right' for son to go to school

NW England

Courtney Jackson said her son Arron would "not cope" in a mainstream setting

A mum said she is fighting for her son's "basic human right" to be able to go to a special educational needs school.

Courtney Jackson's son Arron is four-years-old and was due to start school this September.

He was diagnosed with autism, global developmental delay and sensory processing disorder at around the age of three. The 23-year-old, from Fairfield, said her son has "little understanding", poor danger awareness and a mental age of around 18 to 20 months old.

The mum-of-two said when Arron reached school age she applied for an education, health and care (EHC) plan. This is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs. However, Courtney said this took Liverpool City Council a long time to complete and claimed when this was finalised a local authority case worker had not included all of Arron's diagnoses.

Speaking to the ECHO, she said: "The case worker had only put through he was autistic and it didn't say he had global developmental delay or sensory processing disorder.

"So I had to go through mediation to get it changed. In the meantime they said 'he can go to this school, this school or this school' and they were all mainstream settings. I said he was going to be a fish out of water and not going to be able to cope in a mainstream setting."

Courtney claimed she was told by a case worker at the local authority that specialist provision schools were at capacity, but "he would have to go somewhere".

The mum told the ECHO: "I said if that is the case, I will keep him off school with me until a place in a specialist school is available because it is not me who is stopping him going into education, it is them."

Courtney said her son would not be able to cope in a mainstream school and would need one-to-one supervision at all times. She added no case workers have met Arron and therefore do not understand his needs….
"Arron's still in nappies, he can't feed himself, he has to be spoon-fed. I said I know my own son and the needs of Arron, you have never met and you think you know best. I know what my son needs and it is not a mainstream school."

Courtney said she has appealed the decision with Liverpool City Council, but claimed she was told this could take up to 18 months.


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