THE parents of a severely autistic child have accused Essex County Council of hampering their wishes to allow him to live in care.

Colin Dawson, from Braintree, says son Finlay’s needs are all the more acute because of the impact he is having on his other son from a second relationship – five-year-old Jacob with whom Finlay has never spoken a single word.

Colin, 50, and partner Jayne Miller, believe Finlay would thrive outside the household but claim Essex County Council is creating hurdles to save money on a residential placement the authority will have to pay when he turns 18 anyway.

The couple say the need is even more acute given the degree of his disability.
Finlay cannot form more than a three-word sentence, cannot read or write, has no road sense and would simply walk out in incoming traffic.

He cannot wash himself properly and is unable to use a knife or fork, despite his father trying to teach him life skills at home.

In 2014, while on holiday in Portugal, Finlay watched his mother collapse with a brain aneurysm.

She died three weeks later.

Colin vowed to do anything to ensure Finlay, 16, receives the best education he could.

He claims Finlay feels “trapped” and would flourish if given his own space.

But the couple say his assessment is creating hurdles and delaying the process.

Colin said: “All we are asking for is some help, but the help seems to be in the form of an assessment each time, going though to trying to gauge his needs. But nothing is being done.”

Finlay spent all of Christmas Day refusing to come out of his room.

His father said: “We are not trying to get rid of him from the family. I am trying to make Fin happy - and I know he’s happy when he is out of the house. There he flourishes.”

He added: “We know what the solution is. The solution is we need to have somewhere residential he can have independent living that we can actually monitor close to us, that will give us relief.

"It will give Fin the direction he needs, it will ease the pressure off the family.”

A county council spokesman said: “While it would not be appropriate to share details of an individual case, we are working with this family to assess and agree the appropriate support required.

“Essex County Council is committed to ensuring that children, young people and their families have the support they need to achieve their potential, and that they receive all the necessary support and resources to meet these needs.”