ANGUISH: Leith and Britta Atterton have been left without support for their son and brother, Devlan, who lives with autism.
ANGUISH: Leith and Britta Atterton have been left without support for their son and brother, Devlan, who lives with autism. Contributed

Family's anguish as violent, autistic son left without help

THE mother of an Ipswich teenager who suffers violent autism has been left devastated after her son was moved to a care facility in Toowoomba.

Leith Atterton has been desperate for help to manage her 17-year-old son, Devlan Prantl.

Devlan suffers autism and would often violently assault his mother and big sister, Britta.

As Devlan grew into a young man, his large build and aggressive snaps put the safety of his family in jeopardy.

His mother sobbed as she recalled the moment she stopped being able to predict Devlan's temper.

"He would go looking to hurt you," Ms Atterton said.

"We thought we'd seen the worst of his autism but it went to a whole new level.

"I never thought I'd be frightened of him.

"It is one of the hardest things as a parent; you go from loving and hating and confusion, to adoring."

Mrs Atterton believes Devlan has "fallen through the cracks" of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Medication that was supposed to calm him for eight hours would work only for two, leaving Ms Atterton desperately seeking help and conflict between health departments stopping assistance.

He is too young to receive adult mental health services and too young for pediatric support.

"They'd take him in and send him out within 24 hours because he'd assaulted a staff member," Ms Atterton said.

"The people on the ground that we deal with, 99 per cent of them are fantastic.

"But they don't have a framework behind them and the system is not there."

After the teenager split his head open on a cupboard door in a fit of rage, Ms Atterton decided enough was enough.

Leith and Britta Atterton
Leith and Britta Atterton Rob Williams

During a visit to the Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department in November, after one of Devlan's violent outbursts, Mrs Atterton refused to take her son home.

"I was frightened to bring him home, it sounds like I failed because I couldn't control him," she said.

"As a parent, I had to refuse to take my child back.

"I had to stand my ground and say no, he's going to hurt all of us and himself."

Child Safety stepped in and found a care facility, located in Toowoomba, where Devlan was supposed to stay for a few weeks.

Six months later, he remains at the facility waiting for services to become available in Ipswich.

Padding has been glued to the walls and Ms Atterton has prepared her home for when Devlan eventually returns home.

"I wanted him back home for his birthday, for Christmas and for Britta's birthday," she said.

"He's never been away from home for more than two nights before this."

Ms Atterton says the lack of communication, responsibility and funding meant her son and family were not getting the support they needed.

She wants other parents or carers in similar situations to share their stories on her Not Good Enough for Devlan Facebook page.