Mother fears for future of autistic son|
NEWPORT, Wales: A Newport mum who fought to get her autistic son in the right education fears for his future after the council said his school was no longer viable.
Rebecca Kitcher was a week away from taking Newport Council to a tribunal in 2004 because she did not want her son, Harry Kitcher-James, to go to a generic special-needs unit. But the council came up with a last-minute offer of a place at Brynglas primacry school's autism unit.
At the beginning of March, a public meeting highlighted concerns over the school's falling pupil roll, and education chiefs will come up with a list of proposals for its future by the summer.
Mrs Kitcher said that, if the school closed, it would have a dramatic impact on her son, now aged six.
She said: "I fought to get Harry diagnosed as autistic and I fought to get him a place in Brynglas. It has taken years to get him the right education and a move but would be very distressing for him. It would set him back."
Mrs Kitcher, 37, has since fought to get her son regular speech and language therapy, and said he was doing well at Brynglas.
She said: "The staff are amazing. He has been to nurseries and playgroups but this is the only place where he has been able to join in with other children. He absolutely loves it. I don't know how he would fare if it closed."
The council stressed that no decision had yet been made on the school's future, but a fall in pupil numbers from 177 in 2002 to 107 this year means that it is no longer viable in its current form. The autism unit currently has 11 pupils.
The chairman of governors, Paul Cockeram, said: "It won't be a 'one fits all' solution for the school because of the autistic unit, which will need special consideration."
(Source: South Wales Argus, March 7, 2007)