Thursday 23 November 2017
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Bristol mum 'succeeds' in bid to bring home autistic son

The mother of an autistic boy who is being treated 300 miles from home looks set to win her campaign to bring him back to Bristol.

Adele Hanlon's son Eddie Marshall, 16, is being detained under the Mental Health Act in Newcastle because there is no space to care for him locally.

Bristol City Council says it hopes to move him into a bespoke care home within six months.

More than 65,000 people have signed a petition in support of his family.

Mother-of-four Ms Hanlon has said she and Eddie's stepfather Rob Green struggled to make the 600-mile round trip to Newcastle, and she worried her visits could leave her son in a "distressed" state.

Ms Hanlon also cares for Eddie's brother Jordan and half-brothers Alfie and Reggie.

Eddie has been diagnosed as autistic, with ADHD and dyspraxia.

The council says it will try to set up a new service for him in the coming months, with a view to Eddie returning to Bristol when the time is right.

Carol Watson, of the Children and Young Persons department, said: "When the specialist support for him in Newcastle agree with us it is the right time, he will come back to Bristol and we will then work with him to gradually increase his independence and move on with his life into adulthood."

Four years ago Eddie was moved from a residential school, where he was not coping, to a hospital in Northampton.

But following a damning Care Quality Commission report on that facility in 2013, Ms Hanlon said the NHS and city council made the decision to move him to Newcastle as there was no specialist mental health unit for children with a place for him closer to his home.

'A normal life'

She said: "I am far more positive about Eddie coming back to Bristol now than ever before and it's because of the petition - it wouldn't have happened otherwise.

"The vision that we have is that he will have his own life and will have staff to help him during the day and night and will be able to access therapies and perhaps go back to school, college or even an apprenticeship working somewhere.

"Normal things like taking the dog for a walk, coming round for cake and coffee, a normal life that everyone's entitled to - that is what we want for him."