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Sunday 22 September 2019

'Help us before my kids or me are dead' - Mum beaten by son with autism pleads for help

Mother at her home with smashed windows. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Mother at her home with smashed windows. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Alan O'Keeffe

A mother who has been subject to repeated assaults by her 12-year-old son has pleaded for him to be taken into a residential treatment facility.

"I barricade myself in my bedroom with my three girls at night," said the mother, from Dublin.

"He has smashed up my windows and televisions several times.

"I have marks all over my body. I have to highlight this before my kids or me are dead."

The woman said gardai were called to her home more than a dozen times this year to deal with her son's violent behaviour.

The mother-of-four said she had pleaded with Tusla, the child and family agency, to put her son into a residential treatment centre to give him the mental healthcare he needs.

She said her son had autism, ADHD and symptoms of manic depression, and her GP had told her that he needed residential treatment.

He has been prescribed medication but is not taking it, she said.

Although he is only 12, he is the size of a grown man and is very strong, she added.

"Tusla continue to refuse to arrange residential treatment for him," she said.

"But they offered me counselling. I don't want counselling - I just want help for my son and for my family.

"He has given me black eyes and attacked me with a knife. He broke a bone in my hand and I was in a plaster for weeks.

"His sisters are terrified. He gave our babysitter a black eye."

She said her son's violent behaviour began to get worse three years ago. His father no longer lives in the family home.

The boy's behaviour resulted in him having to leave the local primary and he attended a special school.

However, his continued abuse of teachers and pupils meant he was no longer welcome at there either.

He received home tutoring and loved his tutor, said his mother.

In September he was given a place in a special unit in a secondary school but often arrived home within an hour and did not attend regularly.

A Tusla spokeswoman said the organisation could not comment on individual cases.

"Tusla endeavours to retain a child within their family, within their community at all times, where this is appropriate and the local Tusla team would actively engage with the family to put a plan in place to offer supports," she said.

"One of the key principles of child protection and welfare is that children should only be separated from their parents/guardians when alternative means of protecting them have been exhausted."

Irish Independent

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