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My son, who is ten years old, is autistic and has ADHD. When he was 7 years old we were still on a very long waiting list for him to receive his diagnosis. Governmental cuts meant we were waiting for years to be seen. He was in a mainstream junior school, massively falling behind and being horribly bullied. We had to make the very tough decision to remove him from school after his teacher labelled him as “unteachable” and children were routinely pulling his trousers down in the playground and chanting at him that he was a “retard”.

When he was 9 his life began to change for the better. That was because he finally reached the end of the waiting list and began to see his mental health nurse with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. “C, his nurse, was passionate about her job and was determined to improve his life for the better. Where we had only come upon brick walls when trying to get our son into an appropriate education she opened doors. She fought her way into finding him an educational psychologist and helped us to begin the statementing process. She even forced his diagnosis through quickly so that he could receive the help he needs and so that the pressure would be taken off of my own health. She regularly came to us with leaflets and ideas of what we could do to make his life easier.

He will be starting at a special school in a week and a half’s time and we could not have done this without the support C gave us. She moved to a new area and as such we can no longer see her, but her passion and drive has enabled us to improve my son’s life exponentially. Cuts to government funding deny children with disabilities appropriate access to committed professionals such as C. The fight against government cuts goes beyond welfare, we are fighting to ensure that much needed support services remain in place so that people, like my son, can be enabled to move beyond barriers.