Debbie Andrioli’s son Matthew was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was four.
“As he got older he got severe anxiety about going to school,” she explains, due to the class sizes, noise and unpredictability of lessons.
“He was refusing to go to school in the mornings, which impacted on his brother. My husband had to change his work hours.”
Now Matthew boards at a residential school, which she says is “absolutely fantastic”.
“His quality of life has improved tremendously.
“When he was at home he had no social life, he didn’t want to go out anywhere, he was too anxious. Since he’s been at the residential school he’s absolutely thrived.
“He’s done the Duke of Edinburgh Award, he’s learned life-saving, he’s been on trips to Brussels and Edinburgh.”
And, she explains, the support the school is able to give him will greatly benefit his development.
“He gets support in social and communication skills; speech and language support,” she adds. “It’s available for him as and when he needs it.”