Mother desperate for son with Asperger's to be moved closer to home|
OXFORD, UK: A single mother whose son, with Asperger's syndrome, is being cared for more than 60 miles away is desperate for him to be moved closer to home.
Julie Ayres' son, 15-year-old Jonathan Hastings, was moved to a special unit in Southampton six months ago because Oxfordshire County Council's social services could not provide the support needed for him to stay at home.
Now Mrs Ayres has been told that Jonathan, who has Asperger's and attention-deficit hyperactivity, making his behaviour destructive and unpredictable, cannot stay at their home in Newman Road in Littlemore, Oxford, for Christmas.
Although the council has offered to pay for Mrs Ayres, 37, and her two other children, 10-year-old Christopher and four-year-old Emily, to stay in a hotel in Southampton, she wants Jonathon to be able enjoy the festive holiday at home.
She said: "I was told that, if he went out of the county, he would receive the treatment he needed, but he has been put in with children who are more severely disabled and that is making his problems worse. He is having to be restrained because he doesn't like it. It is an absolute nightmare."
Mrs Ayres wants Jonathan to be moved back in Oxfordshire.
She said: "He is worse now than when he was at home, and I was expecting him to be better. They have had 10 months and he just keeps on saying how he wants to go home. They are saying he's very distressed and his actions are telling them that he doesn't want to be there.
"There are other people with children like Jonny in Oxford, and they need to speak up too."
Mrs Ayres visits Southampton twice a week, although social services help with only one of the £60 journeys each week.
Sarah Ainsworth, the county council's service manager for Children, Young People and Families, said: "The council aims to provide support for all young people within Oxfordshire, but sometimes the needs of the young person mean that we have to go further afield.
"In this case, as in all others, this is kept under review and we are currently working with the parent to identify a placement closer to home."
(Source: Oxford Mail, December 7, 2006)