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Alex Clarke, 13, his mother Heather, and sister Lucy, 9

Alex Clarke, 13, his mother Heather, and sister Lucy, 9

A family from Creeting St Mary have spent nearly £10,000 battling to get the right educational support for their autistic son.

Tony and Heather Clarke are taking Suffolk County Council to a tribunal on May 10 claiming the educational needs of their son Alex, 13, have not been catered for.

Tony said mainstream education in the area could not cope with Alex’s complex problems and that he would like to see his son attend private school Centre Academy in Brettenham.

He said: “He is at Needham Market Middle School at the moment and they say he is the most complex child they have dealt with.

“Alex has a whole raft of problems - there is a mix of autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and verbal dyspraxia.

“One of the difficulties is that he is not disruptive in school so he is often overlooked in a lot of ways.

“He is now 13 but at the seven or eight year old mental level.”

Tony said although sending Alex to the specialist school would not be cheap, it would cost the taxpayer less in the long term.

He said: “Alex is 13 now so only has three more years in education.

“He is going to be really struggling to be self sufficient in the future without help.

“In the long run he will be in sheltered housing and on benefits which will cost a lot more money in the future.”

Heather said: “He is a bright child but needs help socially.

“He is so trusting and naive we worry how he will cope at high school.

“What we hope for is Alex to to be goiven a chance to get the education he deserves.”

Suffolk County Council said they could not comment on individual cases.

Graham Newman, Conservative cabinet member fort education said around 3,000 young people in Suffolk had statements of special educational needs.

He said: “We are talking about a very small percentage of people who have encountered real difficulty.”

 

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