ONE Scottish family fought for seven years before they were able to secure the right level of support for their autistic child.

The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, said their son, who is now 18 and pursuing a modern apprenticeship, struggled throughout nursery without staff knowing what was wrong.

Read more: Parents face postcode lottery over support

His mother said: “Things were not right and we became more aware of behavioural issues once he started nursery where he had major difficulties getting on with fellow pupils and problems taking instructions from teachers.

"This would result in frustration and anxiety and his way of communicating this could sometimes result in bad behaviour, but it wasn’t until he was aged seven that we got a diagnosis.

"Before we got that diagnosis we really struggled and it was only when we had it that we became aware of the support that was available and which we were entitled."

However, despite the fact their child's complex additional support needs required input from a variety of services including social work, education and adolescent mental health services it still took seven years for him to get a co-ordinated support plan (CSP).

Read more: Number of pupils with autism reaches record high

His mother said: "We took the decision to apply for a CSP, which we were entitled to given the involvement of all these sectors, but the council did not respond within the statutory time.

"The decision was therefore taken to bring this to a tribunal and the council was informed that it had to act on this requirement, but we still didn’t receive anything from them.

"Unfortunately, his conditioned worsened, with increasingly serious emotional and mental health challenges and it is difficult to put into words how demanding it was."

After being out of school for over a year due to there being no suitable local placement that could meet his needs the council finally secured a place at a special school, but even then he was not given a CSP, only receiving one a year later.

His mother added: "We are not a particularly well-off family and with me having to give up work to pursue and ensure the right support for our son, the whole process has taken an immense toll on myself and my husband, both financially and in terms of our health.

“Councils are not forthcoming in highlighting the support that is available and you are very much left to find this out for yourself.

“I am conscious that while we were able to do this, it was a tremendous struggle and for many families seeking such support it is a real minefield and incredibly daunting."