Body Of Mom Found In River; Advocates Call For Autism
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 4, 2006
STOCKPORT, ENGLAND--As authorities this week identified the body of a mother who apparently committed suicide with her son, an autism advocacy group called for a formal review of social services provided to her family.
Police announced that dental records were used to identify the body pulled from the Humber River last Saturday as that of 40-year-old Alison Davies. The body of her 12-year-old son, Ryan, was found in the river just four days after the pair was reportedly last seen on April 12.
Authorities believe that video taken from a security camera on the Humber Bridge captured images of the two jumping over the rail and into the estuary more than 100 feet below.
Ryan had been diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that is generally associated with autism and learning disabilities.
Even though Ms. Davies had just started a new job, passed a driving test, and was making changes to her Stockport home, police believe she traveled 150 miles with her son specifically planning for both of them to die. Davies experienced depression and left a suicide on April 11 saying that she felt she had failed as a parent and did not want to be a burden on her family.
Tracy Hinds, one of Davies' friends and a fellow parent of a child with disabilities, told the Stockport Express that the single mother had recently become despondent after their parent support group closed due to lack of funding. Hinds said Davies only received about one hour of respite services each week from the local social services agency.
The Autism Awareness Campaign UK has responded by calling for a government investigation into the services Davies received, along with starting a specific allowance for similar families to ease their financial burden.
"Autism is a 24-hour job and people are still suffering," the organization noted on its website.
The group also called for additional support for children with autism in schools, including specialized training for teachers and classroom assistants for autism units in mainstream schools.
"Let Ryan's death not be in vain," the website stated.
"Body of woman found in river" (Stockport Express)
Autism Awareness Campaign - United Kingdom