Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Dad’s legal bid over trust services for autistic son

A father who spent nearly £40,000 on private support for his autistic son yesterday won permission to mount a High Court challenge to services provided by his health trust.

Mr Justice Treacy granted leave to seek a judicial review after hearing how the family funded a programme for more than three years until it stopped when they ran out of money.

The boy, now aged 10 and diagnosed with autism and associated |impairments, cannot be identified.

His father wants an order quashing a decision made by an unnamed trust in Northern Ireland in May which, he claims, failed to make any or |adequate provision of personal social services, including behavioural |support services, having determined they were necessary.

He further seeks a declaration that this was unlawful, and an order compelling the trust to provide services comparable to those previously supplied by a private organisation and funded by the boy's parents.

It was claimed the health authority was in breach of its duty under the Children (NI) Order 1995.

In 2005 the boy's parents became aware of the Centre for Early Autism Treatment and an Applied Behavioural Analysis it provided. It was delivered by trained therapists from November 2005 to April 2009 at a total cost of £38,391.15 to the parents.

Granting leave to seek a judicial review, Mr Justice Treacy said it was not clear whether the trust considered if the boy had a need for behavioural support services comparable to those previously provided privately. A full hearing could take place this year.

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