THERE are several aspects about the inquest into Gareth Oates that are exceptionally sad but also deeply worrying for thousands of other people with special needs.
Gareth, who was autistic, was killed by a train in Marsden and his mother has told the coroner about a large ‘gap in the services’ in the two years between the age of 16 when teenagers are at school and 18 when they officially enter adulthood.
She says the support system is just not there and clinical psychologist James Manning who conducted Gareth’s cognitive behavioural therapy sessions agrees there is such a gap.
Gareth’s mother feels the burden of care fell to the family and she had little or no support.
It’s terribly tragic that it takes a case such as this to put the media spotlight on something a family has been trying to redress for months if not years.
If anything remotely positive is to come from Gareth’s death let’s hope it is a review of the services available in those critical years between 16 and 18 for people on the “high-functioning” with autistic spectrum disorder.
It must be a real concern for everyone when some of the most vulnerable people in society are not getting the help they need or deserve.