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Mother continues fight for son to go to school

An expert diagnosis by a Harley Street specialist in London has given new hope to a Tayside mother whose 10-year-old son is restricted to four hours' home tuition a week.

Joel Burr is seriously affected by the controversial attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder which leads to disruptive behaviour and has prevented him from attending school. His mother, Coralee, has been challenging Tayside's decision to exclude him from school (TESS, October 27).

Following a television appearance on the Kilroy programme, Mrs Burr met Sam Tucker, a specialist in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Dr Tucker has confirmed that Joel is a sufferer and has suggested that he take Ritalin, a drug whose use has aroused debate but which Mrs Burr is willing to try in the belief that it helps 80 per cent of patients if properly managed.

Mrs Burr now wants Tayside officials to reconsider their decision. "I hope they will realise that there is a biological problem and not just bad behaviour. I also hope that people will not think I am just being an obstructive mother."

Joel has also been assessed by a psychologist, who found his IQ to be well above average.

Stephen Faichney, principal officer in Tayside's educational support service, has been having regular meetings with Mrs Burr and another is planned for next week. "We are looking forward to the outcome of Joel's assessment," Mr Faichney said. Mrs Burr hopes that a record of needs can be opened for Joel and that this will lead to a decision about his schooling.

She is an active member of a UK-wide support group for families affected by the attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. A conference organised by the group in Aberdeen on April 27 will be addressed by leading authorities in the field.

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