Parents 'frightened' for gifted autistic son’s future

Parents 'frightened' for gifted autistic son’s future

THE father of a man with severe autism is hoping his  amazing talent to sing will save him from a life of inadequate healthcare.

Martin Finn, 22, from Atherton in Greater Manchester, cannot speak but his ability to perform and mimic top pop and Irish country artists has seen him star on shows like BBC’s Autistic Superstars and even led to recording his own album.

In recent weeks the second generation Irishman has performed on a bill with Sean Cuddy and has previously performed solo shows in Manchester.

But the difference between the level of his ability and disability is so vast that Martin requires round-the-clock specialised care — the vast majority of which is provided by his parents John, 64, and Norma 67.

“We are fighting a real battle. It’s frightening, it’s a struggle,” said dad John, who is from Lisdoonvarna in Co. Clare. “We have had to wind back the clocks ourselves. Parents half our age would struggle. But the authorities are not linking in with us.

"We asked for our future to be planned, but for any future you have to put it to them that you are failing at home. Yet saying that could lead to a knock at the house and someone telling you they have come to take Martin away from us.”


Now John is hoping that his son’s “one in a million” ability will create the kind of opportunities that would lead to adequate care in the future.

And the idea to record an album of cover songs by Irish artists is already being mooted.

“If someone could link in with the music and build around that, if Martin could produce a CD or something then the music would help him when we are not around,” John said.

“We just can’t afford to get ill,” he added. “Martin would have to go into care. He wouldn’t understand why one of us is missing. If we get ill today, where is Martin going to go?

"The authorities wouldn’t have the right experience to handle Martin and would end up having to sedate him. When we are not around it would be easy to say ‘we’ll just double up on his medication’.”