Mum's anger at lack of help for her son

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 January 2012

Archant

A WESTON mother, who has been told by doctors that her son may be autistic, has hit out at the lack of child service provision after learning he may not be officially diagnosed for months.

Charlotte Smith, aged 36, of New Church Road, Uphill, was told by doctors in August the reason for her seven-year-old son Tom’s behavioural problems could be autism.

He was referred to Community Children’s Services, commonly known as the Child and Mental Health Services (CAMHS), but Charlotte was told Tom could not get an appointment, which would lead to a specific diagnosis, until April or May.

She said: “CAMHS has told me it has no resources to see my son sooner. It’s not the team’s fault at all, just the provision of its resources.

“Our only other option is to use a private child psychologist. It makes us feel lost and it seems families have to carry on while their children are getting worse.”

Charlotte said her son’s behavioural problems include physical attacks and verbal abuse.

She said: “Tom is not good with social interaction and does not deal with change well.

“Here is a seven-year-old in Weston who is struggling with life and needs a bit of support. We are patient people but this is just ridiculous.

“There are many people in the same position and if there is no funding now there is going to be a huge problem in the future.”

While Charlotte has praised the team and Uphill Primary School for the work it does to help Tom, she feels her family is in limbo because she does not know what type of autism her son has.

When contacted by the Mercury, Weston Area Health NHS Trust indicated efforts were being made to see Tom sooner.

A spokesman said: “The Trust’s Community Children’s Services operates a waiting list in strict order of clinical priority.

“The initial referral did not indicate clinical urgency, but recently we were made aware of a change in the clinical situation, leading us to review the case and make new arrangements so the child will be seen very shortly.”

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