Sunday 20 January 2019

Boy (15) with autism placed in temporary apartment after spending time in adult psychiatric ward

Stock image: PA Wire
Stock image: PA Wire

Sean Nolan

A mother has pleaded with the HSE to help her 15-year-old son, who has been diagnosed with autism and placed in a rented apartment with support workers until a long-term placement can be found.

The Leinster-based woman's son, who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder began to become violent in the family home in 2017 and at one point was moved into an adult psychiatric ward for over six weeks.

Following another violent episode at home before Christmas, the teenager was again admitted to an adult ward before, in mid-January, the teenager was placed in an apartment, in the company of support workers, rented by the HSE.

"He wants the help but he hasn't been in school in a year and the longer he is out of school and therapy, the worse his behaviours get," his mother said.

"He's not getting any help."

The woman also spoke of her son's mood in the apartment saying he has expressed suicidal thoughts to her.

She added: "There is a lack of help for kids with special needs in this country. I believe they are being neglected by the HSE and Tusla."

The woman said she has been told that it may be a further six to eight months until a permanent place for her son can be found, with a placement in the UK mentioned as a possibility.

"There are signs everywhere telling people if they are experiencing mental health issues to ask for help," she said. "I have asked for my son and he is not getting any.

"I am hoping he can get a placement where he can get therapy to return home, where he is very much loved and missed."

In response to a number of queries the HSE told Independent: "The matter relates to a 15-year old boy with a diagnosis of autism who is being supported in a private rented accommodation with 24-hour supports pending availability of suitable residential service.

"HSE staff are in contact with the family in order to support them on an on-going basis, whilst an appropriate long-term residential placement is being sourced for the individual.

"The HSE encourages any individuals and/or their families, who may have an issue with the service they are receiving, to make contact with the services concerned and the matter will be discussed directly with them."

A spokeperson for Tusla said it was a matter that was being dealt with by the HSE and they had no comment to make.

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