A FATHER who spent most of his childhood in care says he has been let down by the system after only just being diagnosed with a series of severe behavioural disorders.
Robert Joyce, 47, of Buntingford Road, in Monkwick, Colchester, was taken into foster care at five because his parents couldn’t cope with his behaviour.
In trouble at school and with the police, he ended up committing crime and spent much of his young life in and out of youth detention centres.
As an adult, he struggled with personal relationships and was unable to hold down a job because of difficulty interacting and overcoming his temper.
But only recently he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.
The father-of-three only went to see a psychiatrist because his wife, Annie, spotted similar patterns of behaviour in her 18- year-old son, Michael, who also suffers from ADHD. Mr Joyce said: “I feel so cheated by the whole system.
“I am even considering legal action.
“I don’t understand why not one of the social workers, teachers or carers that dealt with me during my childhood was able to spot the symptoms and help me.
“Everyone failed me. If I had been diagnosed 40 years ago, I could have taken medication to help deal with my condition and get on with my life.
“But because no one bothered, my life has been a disaster.”
He added: “I just feel bad for the way I have behaved towards other people.
“But I didn’t know how to deal with certain situations properly.”
Mrs Joyce, the full-time carer for her son, said: “If my husband had been given more help, things could have been very different for him.
“Medication would have helped him a million per cent.
“Without any help, his condition has been much worse.
“We want to get the message out there that if any parents have a child who is not complying at school and is hyperactive, they should fight tooth and nail to get the help they need.”