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(UK) Scotland: Dad feels 'abandoned'; total lack of services for severely autistic son

Gary Mckie, 38, got full custody of his son, Callum, 16, who is non verbal autistic. Over the past three years, Gary claims no support has been given from social workers and that he is 'isolated'.
A Midlothian dad says he 'feels abandoned' and 'isolated' as he tries to care for his teenage son.
Single parent Gary Mckie, 38, lives with 16-year-old Callum in Bonnyrigg and is a full time carer to the non-verbal teen, who has autism.

The worried dad believed his son would receive respite 'a few times per week' allowing him a safe space to socialise with other young people, but three years after taking on full time caring duties, Gary claims he has had no suppose from social workers.

Midlothian Council told Edinburgh Live they could not coment on individual cases but have said that children with a disability are eligible for an assessment of unmet needs and consideration of a package of care under s23 Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Gary said: "I became his full time carer because him going into foster care was absolutely not an option.

"For the past three years I was told that respite would be given and that funding was approved for it. They first of all said that they were just waiting for a space for him but it's now been three years and he has received nothing.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea "In fact, when I first took on Callum, the social workers said that they would help throughout the whole process but I honestly have not heard a single word from them. I don't even have a number that I can contact and when you call through Midlothian Council you just get an automated message.

"I of course know that it might be difficult to find a space for everyone who needs respite but we aren't talking a couple weeks - we have been waiting for years. I don't want anyone thinking that I am complaining about having to look after Callum, he is my son and I wouldn't change it for the world but I really have been thrown into being a single parent and it can be really isolating.

"I am really by myself. If anything happens to me, everything would crumble. There is nobody to visit him, nobody to babysit and nobody to visit me."

Gary worked as a chef before he got full custody of his son and soon had to give it up so that he could be Callum's full time carer. Due to the lack of respite that the father and son have reportedly been given from the social work, Gary says he will not be able to return to the job that he loves, or any job at all.

"I used to work really long hours as a chef, I worked in the industry for 15 years and was really respected. Because I have had no help, it has cost me so much - my job, my savings, my social life....

The 38-year-old fears that due to every day being prioritised to look after his son due to not receiving any respite, that he will lose the friends that he has around him.

He added: "All my friends are males with families, who work during the week. I am worried that the more I keep saying no to doing things, that my friends will stop inviting me places and I will lose my social life.

"It’s so isolating. For Callum, he knows that I do what I can and all his needs are met through me but in doing that, I am running myself to the ground.

"All I want is to feel supported by the social workers because right now, and over the past three years, I have not had time for a break and have not been able to enjoy myself and do the things that I used to do. It's full on every day and the same thing over and over again.


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