Flintshire autism centre is well-kept secret

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

PARENTS have hit back at claims there is no demand for an autistic unit which faces closure.

The Leader reported on Monday that the unit at Buckley’s Westwood School could close after a contract between Wrexham Council, Flintshire Council and Bangor University ended.

Wrexham Council’s head of education inclusion, Graham Edwards, said there was ‘little demand’ from parents of autistic children to use the unit.

But that claim has been contested by parents who say the facilities have not been promoted.

Wrexham parent Debbie Gavan-Castle has been campaigning to raise awareness of autism and the education provision for it in the area.

The mum of James, 10, who has mild to moderate autism, said parents and others concerned hoped to set up a petition to highlight the issue.

Debbie, who ran two marathons to raise money for the Autism Society, said: “It makes me really angry that the council haven’t told parents about this unit.
“They keep it secret so that there isn’t a demand.”

On our website, readers questioned whether parents knew enough about the centre, which teaches a specialist method called Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

‘nialloyd’ wrote: “If parents/carers are not made aware of a provision, how on earth can you measure ‘a need’?”

‘mosseye’ wrote: “Of course there is little demand for a provision that you do not tell parents exists.”

‘lollipop’ said: “I am a worker for ABA and its (being under) threat is damaging for these children.

“They gain so much from the ABA unit.”

‘harold’ said: “I am a parent of a child with autism, who is just about to start full-time school. I have never been informed about the ABA unit.”

Meanwhile, a Flintshire Council spokesman confirmed the provision at the autism centre was “under review.”

See full story in the Leader

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