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Bexley mum vows to take council to court over autistic son
A MOTHER says she will take Bexley Council to court for the second time because her autistic son has been refused extra support at school.
Kelly Feria De La Torre 42, of Thornton Road, Belvedere, is fighting to get her son Joshua, 11, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a council-funded teaching assistant to help him for 18 hours a week.
Joshua is in Year 7 at the Bexley Business Academy in Yarnton Way, Thamesmead.
He was diagnosed with the condition when he was in Year 5 when a teacher at Joshua's primary school advised his mum to take him to a doctor and get checked.
A letter sent by Bexley Council to the family on January 29, said: "I am writing to inform you the local authority do not propose to make any amendments to Joshua's statement of special educational needs.
"The review report requested that 18 hours of support a week should be attached to Joshua's Statement.
"The panel's decision was "the monitoring statement to remain in place with no additional support. Joshua's special educational needs can be met by the school."
Mother-of-two Mrs Feria De La Torre said: "The school has been amazing and are really pushing the council for the extra help but they don't want to budge.
"I will be appealing the decision and taking the council to court.
"We are just devastated because Joshua is doing really well at the school."
Joshua is currently in a transition class where he gets special attention, but in September he will join a mainstream class in Year 8 where he will not get any more help.
Mrs Feria De La Torre added: "It's going to be tough if Joshua doesn't get the help he needs.
"He is very bright but struggles with noisy, crowded places and he can’t cope with people he doesn’t know."
A Bexley Council spokesman said: "The panel considered the statutory assessment carefully and concluded that they thought Joshua’s special educational needs could be met within the 15 hours per week already allocated to his school and they gave him a ‘monitoring statement’.
"Joshua’s monitoring statement was reviewed recently as part of an annual review.
"The panel decided his needs, outlined on his statement, could still be met within the 15 hours.
School headteacher Guy Nichols said: "The academy is supportive of Mrs Feria De La Torre’s case to ensure that Joshua has appropriate levels of funding and provision to meet his special educational need. "Our position has been one to provide evidenced based assessment of need to the parent and local authority."