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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Daily struggles leave Dawn desperate for vital support

THREE weeks ago, mum-of-three Dawn Raynor was in London nominated for an Inspirational Mother award.

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family life: Dawn Raynor with sons Ethan, left, and Callan, and some of the damage done by Callan

By Julie Morgan

As a mother of two disabled teenagers, Callan and Ethan, she is also aiming to raise £1million to build a short break centre in West Cumbria for disabled children

Her commitment to raising her sons alongside running the Give Us A Break 2010 charity has won Dawn plaudits and support from across the county.

However, last Friday she sat in The Whitehaven News office crying. Worn down by the daily struggles with Callan’s violence, Ethan’s recent life-threatening seizure and Social Services over the family’s future.

“It is hard for people to understand just how stressful it is,’’ Dawn said.

“Callan is 16 and 6ft 2ins. On a daily basis he can punch out at us. He has spat in his dad’s Peter’s face and has pulled my hair.”

She has the bruises and scars to show for the struggles she has restraining her son. But it is also the emotional pressures that are wearing the family down.

Five months ago Dawn and Peter applied for funding to send Callan to a residential home in Cheshire, who are willing to take him on a two-term assessment. They are still waiting for an answer.

“He needs to be there,’’ Dawn said. “It is a beautiful place. While he is there he will have a one-to-one key worker and they will look at his medication. There is even a dog grooming place for them to work in.

“But we have waited five months for the county council to tell us about the funding. I feel we are being messed about.”

Already very stressful, the pressures on the family are increasing. Just last month, Ethan suffered an 18-minute fit. “I though I was going to lose him,’’ Dawn said. “It was horrendous. He was chewing his mouth and was turning blue. Once I had given him his medication there is nothing I could do. I have asked for CPR training from the county council and am still waiting.”

Eighteen months ago, they were deemed a “family in crisis’’ which resulted in an extra carer for the twins. However, this is no longer enough for the family when faced with the level of aggression shown by Callan.

“With Callan, all his emotions turn to anger,’’ Dawn explained. “If he is sad, embarrassed or upset, he just becomes angry.”

She has pictures which reveal the damage caused by him, and reveals her sons, who still sleep together, have broken three beds in the past six months.

“The twins have learning difficulties so when things happen it is like all hell is breaking loose,’’ she said. Ethan and Callan are close and protective of each other, with both boys able to sense when the other is about to fit.

“Peter and I have always been responsible for Ethan and Callan,’’ Dawn said. “I think because we have been able to cope so far, we have had to fight for everything. I wonder if Social Services are hanging on until something serious happens before they intervene.”

A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “We have been working very closely with the family to address their sons’ specific needs.

“We offer many specialist age appropriate activities in the west of the county for children with severe and complex needs, including holiday activities, weekend breaks and after school/evening activities but we do accept that needs vary and suitable provision may not always be available locally.

“In some cases we have to look outside the county for specialist services and this requires close collaboration with health services and service providers to identify specialist provision to meet the needs of children and young people. Ensuring that we make the right provision for these young people requires detailed assessment and discussion with families and providers.

“It is clear in this case that although agencies have been working together to achieve the right provision, communication of decisions and outcomes has not been as good as we would wish.”

Have your say

This selfless family is aiming to raise £1million to build a short break centre in West Cumbria for disabled children.

How can the agencies let them down in this way?

Living in hope in 2014 is totally out of order!

I hope and pray that the system does NOT let them down, even though they have already!!!

Surely someone, somewhere can do something before one of the family is seriously injured???? Who will be at fault then?

Posted by Claire Benson. on 18 April 2014 at 18:00

I know the family very well and they are At breaking point and no one seems to care. My own son is in a residential school and the fight you have to get them the help they need is soul destroying .. Someone is going to get hurt really hurt before anything is done . It's so very sad xxx

Posted by Wendy askew on 17 April 2014 at 15:25

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