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(UK) Manchester: Parents have to fight for support for their children

June 23, 2024, Manchester Evening News: 'We shouldn't have to fight to get the support we need for our kids'

NW England

Parents have shared their frustrations over a lack of support for their children with special needs. With the general election looming on July 4, the Manchester Evening News chatted to families at a soft play centre in Westhoughton, Bolton, to find out whether any party has their support and what they think is needed from government.

Mum-of-four Sarah Kelly told us she has no intention of voting and feels let down by the entire system. With all her children having special needs, she says she's struggled to get the help they require and has had to 'fight for it' on her own.

Her eldest son Thomas, 15, has been diagnosed with autism and possibly ADHD, but he was 14 before he even got the diagnosis. "Thomas self harms and It was only through CAMHS [Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service] that he got the autism diagnosis as before that we'd just been waiting and his school wasn't much help," said Sarah, who lives in Great Lever.

"You get help for it, but you've got to fight for it. You don't get anyone saying 'this is where you need to apply, you need to do this, that and the other'. You've got to find out about it all off your own back. . . .

Mum Lucy Hall has three children and has encountered similar problems trying to access support. Her eldest son, nine-year-old Zac has autism, but they've been on a waiting list for her middle son, seven-year-old Noah, to be assessed for ADHD since last year.

"We've finally got an appointment for July, but it has taken forever to get anything," said Lucy, who lives in Horwich. She feels that too many services are using Covid as 'an excuse' when in reality it's more likely staffing issues and believes there should be greater transparency to help people decide who to vote for. . . .

Catalina, whose children are 14 and nine, says they pick up on what is happening, seeing people having to work so hard for such little in return and believes young people will question joining the workforce and paying such large taxes when public services are falling apart. . . .


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