Wednesday 12 December 2018

Boy (15) with autism placed in private apartment for six months 'displaying symptoms of PTSD'

Boy (15) has been placed in private rented accommodation for almost six months
Boy (15) has been placed in private rented accommodation for almost six months

Sean Nolan

A 15-year-old boy with autism who who has been placed in a private rented apartment by the HSE for the last six months is now displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A report written earlier this month by a consultant psychiatrist on the teenager, seen by Independent.ie, says that the boy is 'reporting some symptomatology directly evocative of PTSD' in addition to his previous diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety.

The teenager was placed in a private rented apartment by the HSE, in the company of support workers, in mid January while they searched for a suitable residential service location.

Since then the boy has moved to a second apartment and a third move is scheduled to take place at the end of this month.

The boy's mother has told Independent.ie that she has been told it may be September before a suitable residential location is found for her son.

In the consultant psychiatrist report, one of the incidents cited as causing 'visions' or 'flashbacks' for the teenager relates to how he was escorted to an adult psychiatric ward shortly before Christmas last year.

It was after a short stay there that the boy was placed in the apartment.

According to the boy's mother, her son is now more than a full year out of formal education and his general well-being has deteriorated since being placed in the apartment.

"He is being failed by the HSE," she told Independent.ie.

"My son is extremely annoyed about being in care the whole time and not getting his full treatment," she added.

"I feel like someone cut off one of my arms and I miss the average family life of being around the table, in our pjs eating breakfast and cooking family meals."

A spokesperson for the HSE said: "The HSE wishes to assure the public that its community services are there to care and support those who require our services.

"The HSE acknowledges the difficulties faced by some families and will continue to liaise with them to resolve issues that arise. In this instance, HSE staff is in contact with the family directly, on a continuous basis, to ensure that the most appropriate service is secured to meet the need. Please be assured that the HSE are providing the therapeutic interventions that are clinically identified in such instances.

"The welfare of patients, clients, service users and their families is important to the HSE. Our community services are working to ensure that, within our existing resources, people have access to our services.

"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."

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