Mum claims autistic son was called a 'distraction' during Holy Communion

A mum has said a "special day" for her and her son was ruined because of how he was treated for having special needs.

Hayley Bradley, from Scotland Road, claims her son, Bobby, who has ASD and learning difficulties, was discriminated against during his Holy Communion at Liverpool’s St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

The mum-of-three claims she was asked to return to the church the following day, Friday, May 24, because eight-year-old Bobby was "a distraction to the other kids" during the religious ceremony. Hayley said she believes this to be a reference to the "beautiful noises" Bobby makes because of his ASD.

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The full-time carer told the ECHO: “We were all prepared to have the Holy Communion on Thursday so we said no. I told them Bobby was doing it today with all the other kids, he has been friends with those kids for years.

“We were all dressed up, we had a meal booked - it was a special day for us but it was horrendous how the day went. It was a terrible experience. It was heartbreaking for us, people were crying after it because of how Bobby was treated.

"It was a gut-wrenching feeling. The pain felt like a kick to my heart. I found myself in shock and disbelief."

Hayley Bradley's son Bobby receiving Holy Bread from Parish Priest. Rev Richard Ebo
Hayley Bradley's son Bobby receiving Holy Bread from the Parish Priest. Rev Richard Ebo -Credit:Hayley Bradley

In preparation for the day, Hayley and Bobby had been attending meetings four weeks prior so that Bobby “could get used to the church”.

Hayley had also been teaching Bobby, who is non-verbal, to say Amen for when he received the Holy Bread. However, Hayley claims the requests made to make the ceremony more accessible for Bobby were also "not done properly".

Bobby knew all the others who were having their Holy Communion on Thursday, May 23, as he attended The Trinity Catholic Primary School with them. Bobby is now a pupil at Millstead Special Needs School in Everton.

Hayley Bradley's son Bobby with his friend Kevie
Hayley Bradley's son Bobby with his friend Kevie at the ceremony -Credit:Hayley Bradley

She said: "Every day we worked on how we could encourage Bobby to participate in this very exciting new era for him with his peers. I was so happy seeing his progression because even though others may not have realised it, I could see Bobby's excitement. I could see him learning. I could see him understand because I am his mum."

Hayley has since filed a complaint with The Archdiocese of Liverpool, which St. Anthony’s Catholic Church falls in the purview of, about the claimed treatment. A spokesperson for The Archdiocese of Liverpool confirmed to the ECHO it was aware of the allegations and is currently investigating them.

She said: “They need to learn about SEN kids. They don’t seem to understand when kids have disabilities. When we went for the meal we couldn’t enjoy it because my family was heartbroken. It was like we had been pushed out.”

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