A desperate mum is begging the local education authority (LEA) for help with her autistic son after he went missing while being dropped off at school, sparking a major police search.
Seven-year-old Isaias ran away from St Mary Magdalene School on Friday (January 20), prompting scores of police officers, dog teams and the Sussex Police helicopter to comb Pebsham in a bid to trace him.
Mum Jay Brewerton says it is not the first time Isaias has run away as he has two autistic conditions which prompt him to flee from certain situations when his anxieties spiral out of control.
She said: “It’s not the first time, just the first time the police have been called.
“The first time he ran from school was two and a bit years ago. It’s been ongoing for quite a long time.”
Jay does not blame the school for Isaias’ disappearance and says St Mary’s has worked with her to try different solutions to get Isaias into school.
She said: “Not a single state school is equipped to deal with autistic children.
“They do not have the staff, the resources, the training.”
For three years, Jay has been trying to get help from the LEA to enable her son to move to a specialist school - to no avail.
She said: “They say he’s managing, he’s behaving, but he is not. He’s masking it.”
When he runs away from a situation, Jay says her son has no awareness of danger and has run into the path of oncoming traffic before.
When gripped by anxiety, Isaias can become violent towards his mother. Because of his autism, he also does not like to be touched.
Luckily on Friday Isaias was discovered at the family home in Haslam Crescent - a five minute walk from the school - at 12.50pm.
Jay said: “He’s like a homing pigeon. He does come straight home but he does not want any interaction with anyone, so he will hide behind garages, skips, anything he sees until he arrives home.”
She added: “The police were amazing and I would like to say a massive thank you because it is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
The headteacher of St Mary Magdalene School has reassured parents that ‘robust systems’ are in place at the school, following last Friday’s incident.
Veronique Vanderschelden added that the incidents occur when Isaias is being dropped off at school, not during the school day.
In a letter to parents, she said: “I understand that some parents might have concerns about the incident involving a pupil who ran out of school while being dropped off.
“I am pleased to say that this pupil was found safe and sound at home.
“I would like to reassure all parents/carers that the school takes the security and welfare of children very seriously and has robust systems in place.”
East Sussex County Council has not commented on the incident.