Isle of Wight teen with autism driven to suicide attempt after decade-long diagnosis battle

This Isle of Wight teenager said, “I felt like no-one was listening and so what’s the point in being here? It felt like it couldn’t get any worse. I could not keep waking up each morning and feeling this way. I felt trapped in a cycle of negativity.”

happy and sad toe art

A teenager with autism said she was so badly let down by social services on the Isle of Wight she was driven to suicide.

The 16-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, was officially diagnosed with autism when she was 15, following a decade-long battle for a diagnosis.

However, she said a lack of support services after her diagnosis left her family to struggle.

She said:

“I felt like no-one was listening and so what’s the point in being here? It felt like it couldn’t get any worse. I could not keep waking up each morning and feeling this way. I felt trapped in a cycle of negativity.

“Everyone in the family found things really difficult.

“Our support has been severely limited. You can tell that people want to help me, but they won’t listen to my mum and dad about a carer’s budget.”

Application refused by Isle of Wight Council
She is currently home-schooled, but hopes to transfer to a specialist school on the Island.

However, her application was refused by the Isle of Wight Council, she claims because she does not have any speech or language difficulties.

Left in limbo
In the meantime, the family has been left in limbo, unsure whether she will be able to start school in September.

“All of this has made my mental health worse. We all really wanted me to be in a place by September but that’s not going to happen.”

Pushed ‘from pillar to post’
The family say they have had multiple case workers, and feel like they have been pushed ‘from pillar to post’.

Her mother said she felt helpless, watching her daughter struggle with depression. She said,

“I am the person watching her 24/7. We do not go out of the house. It’s just awful. It’s very difficult.

“Watching your own child being so desperate that they want to hurt themselves, or kill themselves, I felt really helpless.”

The Isle of Wight Council said it did not comment on individual cases.

IWC: “Many children have additional needs and disabilities”
A spokesperson said:

“Many children have additional needs and disabilities, and some are more severely affected than others. Some disabled children and their parents will need practical support, both inside and outside the home.

“The Isle of Wight Council has published a ‘local offer’ which provides information about the provision available for children with additional needs and disabilities on the Isle of Wight.

“The offer also provides details about children’s social care services. Parents/carers have the right to ask for their child’s needs to be assessed by social care services and to ask for a carers’ assessment for themselves.

“A needs-based assessment could lead to services for a disabled child being provided or services to help parents/carers.

“The council also support the short breaks programme of activities.”


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: vinothchandar under CC BY 2.0

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