Kieran needs more time for transition

Kieran McDonald
Kieran McDonald

A Carrickstone woman has launched a petition calling on North Lanarkshire Council not to remove her son from a special school in Auchterarder.

Kieran McDonald, who has autism and learning disabilities has been attending Ochil Tower School for four years following an incident at Glencryan School, as the council conceded they did not have appropriate provision for him locally.

Kieran will turn 18 next month and has been enrolled in the school’s 18-21 transition programme, however the social work department has only scheduled him to attend it for four months.

His mum Liz believes he needs more time within the programme and concerns about his future is making him unwell.

She said: “Kieran does not cope well with change, due to his autism and no preparation has been done to support Kieran leaving education by social work.

“This is why Kieran was enrolled in the 18-21 programme at Ochil Tower, he has attended the school for nearly four years.

“The staff there know him well and understand his support needs. All the professionals involved with Kieran agree that four months is not enough time to undertake this huge transition and have recommended he complete the three years.

“Kieran has the funding in place to pay for his placement and he is on the housing list for Auchterarder - so this will be his local community.

“Due to Kieran’s autism, he can become very agitated around changes to routine and this can lead to physically challenging behaviour.

“Kieran’s psychiatrist has made it very clear – Kieran and his family are at significant physical and emotion risk, if social work insist on removing him from this programme.

“I have submitted an adult protection concern to social work and I know that this has been escalated to the Care Inspectorate.

“We have also started an online petition to get public support. Kieran has funding in place that will pay for this programme, so there is no reason for social work to block this.”

Alison Gordon, head of Children Families and Justice Social Work Services, says the council are currently in dialogue with the family.

She said: “We are working closely with the family to find a solution to ensure that Kieran has the most appropriate support for him to progress into adulthood.”

The petition has been signed by 1200 people so far - if you wish to sign visit https://www.change.org/p/janice-hewitt-assistant-chief-executive-health-and-social-care-fight-for-kieran-mcdonald-s-right-to-stay-at-ochil-tower-18-21-programme.