Flintshire father’s fury as autistic son's course faces cuts

Reporter:

Lois Hough

AN ANGRY father has demanded answers over plans to drastically cut a college course which helps his autistic son cope with life.

The independent living skills course at Deeside College, which teaches students how to cook and plan personal budgets, could be cut from three days a week to one, according to concerned father John Oulton from Buckley, whose son David, 29 has been on the course since 2006. Next year could also be the final year that the course is taught.

John, 64, has still not broken the news to David. The retired sales manager.said: “We are not going to accept this decision without a fight.”

John said the course was a large part of his son’s routine and he would be hugely affected by the cut.

He added: “Any change in David’s normal routine knocks him for six.

“The course teaches the students to live independently, although our David will never be able to live on his own.

“This morning he learned how to bake a loaf of bread. They also learn about personal hygiene and sex education.”

John was not impressed with the way the news was broken to parents. He said:

“We had a letter three weeks ago asking us to go and discuss our son’s future.

They called it a drop-in session, but we had no idea about this bombshell.

“They told us it was because of financial issues. We are not happy with this.

“We have already let our feelings known and will be following a grievance procedure.”

A spokesman for Deeside College stressed that plans had not been finalised. He added: “We are aware of the concerns of some parents and carers about some curriculum changes that we need to consider for September 2010.”

“However, these have not yet been finalised, and we are consulting and senior college staff will be meeting with parents/carers again shortly to discuss and finalise the individual learning programmes for next year.

“Deeside College offers a range of independent living skills programmes and is committed to continuing to do so.”

See full story in the Leader

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