YEP Says (Jan 19): By failing one child we are failing them all

Any parent of a child with special needs will tell you of the fight; the fight for access to the services and support that is theirs and their child's by right.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th January 2016, 9:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2016, 9:59 am

Never mind the additional challenges; the weight of responsibility, the fear, the worry about ensuring the child’s safe, happy and healthy future; the knowledge that ‘fitting in’ with everyone else will never apply to you.

And yet, while support and clinical services across the board have improved beyond measure in the last 20 years, parents, carers and, more importantly, their children, are still being let down.

Today we report how one mother was forced to look abroad to have her child assessed for autism after it emerged NHS tests in Leeds have ground to a halt.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Just five children were assessed for the condition from July until mid December.

On average, families awaiting autism assessments in Leeds last year had to wait almost nine months – triple the national recommended guidelines.

Unbelievably, the longest wait for a Leeds family was 70 weeks.

Ewa Walczyna, from Garforth, is from one of the families currently waiting.

Her six-year-old son Harrison may have to wait a year until he is seen.

While delays occur, families can be in crisis, and every day, week or month that goes by is that child’s health and wellbeing in jeopardy.

This might not be an issue that affects whole communities; remedying it will not change the world.

But in our view, if we are failing just one child, then we are failing them all.