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(UK) Surrey: Autistic 7 y.o. continues to have $200/day taxi ride to special school

Jan 11, 2022, Surrey Live: Autistic boy can return to special needs school after council forced to reverse taxi decision

SE England

An autistic seven-year-old boy can return to his special educational needs school 40 miles from his Walton home after the council was forced to reverse a decision to offer him a shared taxi. When Joey Silva was five he was placed in an independent special school in Wandsworth, The Chelsea Group of Children, which is an 80-minute round trip from his home in Walton. Since then Surrey County Council has paid for a private taxi for Joey, now seven, whose autism spectrum disorder means he struggles with change and with sensory processing. So when without warning the taxi turned up with someone else already in it, it did not go well. The county council had changes his private taxi to one which was shared with others. Mum Kayleigh, who is an SEN teacher, said she was given no chance to explain to her son. "It just happened overnight," she said: "Joey likes to stick to a strict routine. "He has behaviour outbursts and can't stand loud noise. She turned her iPad up loud and he said, 'She's burning my ears'. He was banging on the window so loud I thought it was going to smash. "He told me, 'You need to get on eBay and order me a new taxi'.” Mrs Silva said she felt the change was unsatisfactory given a private taxi would cost £140 [$192] a day rather than £108 [$148] when shared. A transport case review members' panel has now agreed that Joey should be granted solo transport for the next year. The panel said it is making an exception so that Joey has until the end of January 2023 to get used to the idea of sharing his transport. Joey's mum said his behaviour outbursts meant the journey wasn't safe for the other passenger. So in a couple of weeks Joey, who previously had a 100 per cent attendance rate, will be able to return to school for the first time since September…. Surrey County Council did not respond to a request for comment before publication.


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