HOMECOMING: Devlan Prantl with sister Britta Atterton and mother Leith Atterton. Devlan secured care at an Ipswich facility.
HOMECOMING: Devlan Prantl with sister Britta Atterton and mother Leith Atterton. Devlan secured care at an Ipswich facility. Contributed

Mother's joy as autistic teen returns to city for help

A MOTHER has been reunited with her son after he was trapped at a Toowoomba care facility for six months.

Devlan Prantl, a 17-year old who suffers autism, was moved from his Ipswich home to seek care.

His mother Leith Atterton was desperate for help to manage her son and once refused to take him home from the Ipswich Hospital - fearing a violent outburst would injure her or Devlan's sister, Britta.

After six months of care at Toowoomba due to a lack of services in Ipswich, Ms Atterton got the call last week that Devlan would return.

"At first I just couldn't believe it - I thought this won't happen," she said.

"It was within 24 hours that they moved him back.

"It was the best Mother's Day present ever."

Devlan's large build and aggressive snaps put the safety of his family in jeopardy and forced them to seek alternative accommodation for him - only available in Toowoomba.

He was supposed to be there for several weeks until care could be found in Ipswich, but six months passed and Devlan remained out west.

Last week, he returned to Ipswich and is receiving individual care in an apartment.

Ms Atterton said it was overwhelming to have her son back in the same city.

"Knowing I can drop in every day now and work closer with him, it's so much pressure and anxiety off," she said.

"Britta has been able to drop in and see him, We can take his dog for a visit now and we're trying to get him back into school."

His autism coupled with mental health problems and large size caused confusion and problems when Ms Atterton attempted to seek support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Since returning from Toowoomba, Devlan has also secured a specialist who has been able to change his medication and keep him calm.

"That's all we wanted from the start, that medical help," Ms Atterton said.

She has accessed the specialist through the private health system with a rebate from Medicare.

Ms Atterton is working with the National Disability Insurance Agency to secure a tailored individual package for Devlan's needs, but at the moment is just happy to have him home.

"He recognises where he is, he goes for walks around Queens Park and recognises the Ipswich area," she said.

"That, in combination with being able to see him frequently and the medication working, has been wonderful.

"It's hard after what we've been through to think something good has happened."

The next step for Devlan will be returning to school and then back to the family's Chuwar home.



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