A MOTHER has hit out at what she claims is a lack of support for parents whose children have autism.
Cat Webber’s son Zak Lovell attends Pingle School’s specialist autism centre, in Coronation Street, Swadlincote.
While Zak, who turns 13 on Christmas Day, doesn’t have learning disabilities, his mother believes he also has PDA (pathological demand avoidance) which makes it difficult for him to respond to requests.
Miss Webber, of Sudbury Park, Sudbury, lives on income support and carers allowance, is the chairman of Harmony Group which supports parents of children with autism in Burton and South Derbyshire, and said: “I left work to care for him when he was six.
“A social worker came to visit and assess me and decided I managed fine but I am a single mother and I don’t get any respite.
“I have asked for respite but you just don’t get anything, not until the next time we go into a crisis.
“I feel for parents with children with autism. People have no idea what it is like.
“Zak is always extremely anxious and is up most of the night.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We provide a range of services for children with autism and their families.
“We have two autism outreach teams based at Peak School in Chinley and the Holbrook Centre for Autism which provide support to children to enable them to learn alongside their peers.
“We’ve developed the Derbyshire Autism Pathways which involves identifying autism spectrum disorders earlier, listening to parents and carers and providing support. Families are allocated a lead professional who work with them.
“We’ve also set up a Children’s Autism Co-ordinating Group – which includes parent representatives - and more than 140 of our staff – school nurses, and social workers - have received autism awareness training to respond to children’s needs better.
“We also provide funding to the Parent Partnership - which provides support to parents of children with special educational needs.”