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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Grieving Barrow mum calls for syndrome awareness

A GRIEVING mum has said her teenage son could still be here today – if he had been diagnosed with and given support for a form of autism years earlier.

Now Amanda Morris wants awareness to be raised about Asperger syndrome in his memory.

Ashley Keenan hanged himself in the Silverdale Street hostel, Barrow, on July 2, aged 18.

An inquest on Friday heard he had lived there for a couple of months before his death.

The coroner’s verdict was that Mr Keenan died as a consequence of his own actions while under the influence of drugs and suffering from Asperger syndrome.

The former Furness Academy pupil was not diagnosed with Asperger’s until he was 15, despite his mum noticing he was different to other children when he was a baby.

As her son got older, Mrs Morris began to worry more.

The 39-year-old, of Keith Street, Barrow, said: “He was very troubled in his behaviour, but it wasn’t until he started junior school that a teacher said, ‘we think he’s got ADHD’.”

After a visit to a GP, Mrs Morris said a doctor spent a day with Mr Keenan, but he remained undiagnosed.

In the years that followed, Mrs Morris desperately tried to get someone to see that something was not right.

She said: “I was labelled a psychotic mother. I was told ‘is it any wonder he acts the way he does when you’re like that?’. But I was just a frustrated mum.”

After working with several different social workers, Mrs Morris said one finally saw what she was seeing.

Mr Keenan saw the doctor again, was referred to an specialist on autism and diagnosed with Asperger’s.

But even then, Mrs Morris said, there was no support or services to help her family cope.

And she feels that, had he been diagnosed sooner, her son’s death could have been prevented.

Mrs Morris said: “I’d have understood him better and I could’ve helped him understand. I’d have learned the dos and don’ts. I’d have known how to cope and Ashley wouldn’t have got as far as out of control as he did.

“Everything could’ve been different, and he wouldn’t be where he is today.”

Mrs Morris wants other families dealing with Asperger’s to come forward, speak out and fight for improvements in the speed of diagnosis, support and services offered.

She said: “I just want people to keep going, not to let what happened to Ashley happen to their child. We need to stand together on this one. This shouldn’t have had to happen for us to be heard.”

Have your say

There are many many families locally struggling to get help & support for their children, waiting lists for CAHMS are way too long & can't cope with demand. Thank you Amanda Morris for offering to help make a change whilst you've gone through such a horrendous time,you are one brave lady!! I'm sure I can speak for other parents , that if we all join together & let's fight to improve services for all those who's lives are affected by autism- cant find you on Facebook Amanda :(

Posted by Amanda Bland on 13 October 2012 at 17:14

lots of sad storys, just shows how bad it is to get any support. if you think your child has any sort of mental health issues go straight to your gp and they will refere you to camms, keep pestering your gp as camms has a very long waiting list,if any of you need to chat friend request me on facebook.id love to help you all in any way i can.x

Posted by amanda morris on 13 October 2012 at 09:34

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