'Our son was forced to learn French, even though he can't speak English properly'|
RHUDDLAN, Wales: The furious parents of an autistic teenager threatened legal action on March 28 over the teaching of their son.
They say 13-year-old Evan Davies was made to learn French - even though he could not speak English properly.
Evan's mother, Sue, and stepfather, Alan Logan, are now considering asking for a judicial review into the way Evan was taught. They are are also planning on moving to Somerset to be near a specialist school where he could get the intensive speech therapy they say he needs.
But the Rhuddlan couple claimed on March 28 that Denbighshire Council was not providing an assessment of needs - essential before he switches schools - for the education authority in south-west England.
Evan spent three years at Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, in Ruthin, which specialises in teaching autistic youngsters, from the age of six. But Sue and Alan felt he was not making enough progress and transferred him to a private school in Stafford. He did well academicaly but was expelled. The Logans are involved in a legal action against the school.
Evan returned to Bronyffryn in 2002 when a psychologist said he needed 24-hour therapy. He boarded during the week but returned to the family home in Maes Ffyddion at the weekends.
Initially, he got one-to-one tuition, but in the second year returned to the classroom.
"We have always been told Evan needs intensive speech and language therapy, but it was only at a parents' evening last July that we found he was no longer getting the one-to-one tuition," said Mr Logan, a former soldier who ran a business selling militaria.
"They were teaching him French and Welsh, but he wanted to male sure that he could read and write English," said Mr Logan. "It's absolutely stupid and he's not getting the 24-hour curriculum which his statement says he needs. We want to ensure Evan can cope as well as possible when we are no longer around."
Mr and Mrs Logan paid for independent reports on Evan, but but were told by Denbighshire officials that they were "irrelevant."
Evan is no longer taught French or Welsh, but receives only half an hour each day of individual attention.
The couple's solicitor, Mike Charles, who specialises in special-needs education, wrote to the education authority several tines to raise certain issues, but had no response. They are now considering a judicial review to resolve the dispute.
Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Logan hope that Evan will be accepted at a special school in Somerset, to where they would move.
In a letter to the couple, the head of education services, Ieuan Lloyd Roberts, said they were free to make their own arrangements with the English school.
"Denbighshire would co-operate with that autherity to ensure a smooth transfer for Evan when the move takes place," he said, adding: "Denbighshire will not make other arranegements with Somerset."
A Denbighshire spokesperson said: "We are not able to discuss individual circumstances."
(Source: Daily Post, March 29, 2005)