Stephen prepares to 'Cycle for Samuel'

PUBLISHED: 14:57 12 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:51 06 May 2010

Samuel Collinson

Samuel Collinson

A FATHER will cycle from one end of the country to the other to put pressure on the government to start helping youngsters with autism. Stephen Collinson, 40, of Vaughan Road in Stotfold, came up with the idea for Cycle for Samuel - in aid of his seven

A FATHER will cycle from one end of the country to the other to put pressure on the government to start helping youngsters with autism.

Stephen Collinson, 40, of Vaughan Road in Stotfold, came up with the idea for 'Cycle for Samuel' - in aid of his seven-year-old son.

Samuel is severely autistic and has been attending a special needs school, Sunnyside in Biggleswade, for three years but Stephen said: "The people at Sunnyside are lovely but just didn't have the resources or skills to teach Samuel and the headteacher hadn't heard of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) - our preferred teaching method."

His dad said his son "lives happily in his own solitary autistic world." But warns the government will soon face an "autism epidemic" that will result in a huge social care bill, as children like his son become adults.

As well as raising the profile of autism, Stephen as wants to raise enough money to keep sending his son to Chrysalis School for Autism based in Welwyn - where he started last week.

The school cost £15,000 a term and does not receive government funding.

The couple have approached the government and explained their situation but they refused to help out.

Stephen, who has never completed a challenge like this before, wants to be sponsored and raise enough money to cover the £30,000 fee for the first two terms.

If Samuel progresses well at the school he then hopes the government will decide to help with the funding.

Stephen and his wife, Anne, have been using ABA with Samuel for about three years.

Already Samuel can say three word sentences by using the program.

* If you would like to sponsor Stephen make cheques payable to "Cycle for Samuel Appeal" and post it to Stephen Collinson 27 Vaughan Rd, Stotfold, Herts. SG5 4EH.

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