Mum’s dispute over her autistic son’s schooling
A CHILD with acute autism has been in school for only 18 months of the past four years because his educational needs “are not being met”, according to his mother.
Bolton Council has organised a place for Matthew Blakemore at a special school in Ormskirk which has just a few places — but his mother feels even this would be too much for him.
The eight-year-old has now been to four different schools in the region after moving to Farnworth from Australia.
He suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder, which means he struggles to react to sensations and crowds.
Three placements organised for Matthew by Bolton Council have broken down — one at a school for autistic children — and an educational tribunal ruled in his favour in 2011.
The tribunal has left the council obliged to provide an education for Matthew, which includes 73 hours a year of speech and language therapy, and 87 hours of occupational therapy.
But, Matthew has not been in school since March when a placement at the Grange School in Manchester broke down because his mother Monique Blakemore said he was restrained when he reacted badly to other children.
Now she says she want to highlight the injustices facing autistic children in Bolton.
Mrs Blakemore and her husband Chris have been offered places for Matthew and his older brother, Nicholas, aged nine, who suffers from a different type of autism and currently attends St Theresa’s Primary, at Pontville School in Ormskirk — a 55-minute drive from the family’s home.
Mrs Blakemore said: “We think that home tutoring, for the next few months, is the only viable way forward but Bolton Council say this is not possible, despite the tribunal’s ruling.”
Matthew initially went to Bowness Primary, but left in 2011 as the school could not deal with a child with his problems. After a nine-month absence from school, he then briefly attended Ladywood Special School, but Mrs Blakemore said the class sizes of 20 to 25 children were too much for Matthew.
In September last year, Matthew then moved to The Grange, in Gorton. She claims there were reports of teachers restraining him there, so Mrs Blakemore withdrew him.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We would not comment on individual circumstances but our special educational needs department works very closely with all parents to obtain the most appropriate school for their child.
“We endeavour to listen to any concerns that parents may have and work with our partners to arrange the most suitable support available.”
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