Katie Price is putting her 18-year-old son Harvey into full-time care.
The television personality, 42, said she has made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to send her eldest child- who suffers with a number of health conditions- to a residential college.
Katie said Harvey will live there until he’s 25 and believe the move is vital for his well-being as, at 6ft2ins and 29 stone, she can no longer restrain him if he has a mood swing and fears he could be sectioned if she doesn’t act now.
‘I need to get him the help he deserves’: Katie Price is putting her 18-year-old son Harvey into full-time care (pictured last year)
Harvey, whose father is footballer Dwight Yorke, was born with septo-optic dysplasia- a condition that means the development of his optic nerve was unpredictable.
The teenager is also on the autistic spectrum, is partially blind, gains weight easily because he suffers from Prader–Willi syndrome, and finds mobility difficult.
Katie told The Sun: ‘It’s so upsetting to think I won’t see him every day but this is the best thing for Harvey and we have to think positively because I don’t want him to think I’m just getting rid of him.’
Full-time care: The star , 42, says she’s made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to send her eldest child- who has a number of health conditions- to a residential college (pictured in November)
The former model said Harvey’s new chapter will bring him the opportunity to have as much as an independent life as he can and learn new skills.
Katie has spent six months visiting colleges for children with autism and learning disabilities in order to find the best place for Harvey, and is hoping he’ll be able to start at their top choice later this year.
But Katie is finding it hard to ‘let go’ as she has an ‘incredible bond’ with her eldest son.
‘I need to learn to let go but it’s tough – anyone in my position knows how hard it is. We have an incredible bond. I don’t know how Harvey will react or how he’ll feel when I can’t get to him. It’s too painful to think about,’ she said.
Disability: Harvey, whose father is footballer Dwight Yorke, was born with septo-optic dysplasia- a condition that means the development of his optic nerve was unpredictable
The My Crazy Life star – who is also mother to Junior, 15, and Princess, 13, whom she has with her ex-husband Peter Andre, and Jett, seven, and Bunny, six, added: ‘When he’s three hours away it will break my heart because I won’t be able to get there as I’ve got to juggle him with my other kids.’
Harvey’s autism means he can have violent outbursts, such as head butting walls and smashing iPads, if he hears loud noises or slamming doors.
And Katie said she made the decision to place Harvey in full-time care for fear of him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act if he lashed out in public and was deemed a risk to society.
The star added Harvey’s weight means she can no longer manage to calm him down on her own.
Katie explained Harvey is excited about the prospect of going into full-time care, after previously going to a residential college five days a week last September.
He had to move back home in March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Family: Katie said her other four children; Junior, 15, Princess, 13, Jett, seven, and Bunny, six, will miss Harvey at the weekends (pictured last year)
Katie added her four other children will miss Harvey when he is not around at weekends.
Harvey previously went to a residential school for five days a week, but had to move back home in March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The teenager is supposed to start at his residential college in September, but Katie isn’t sure if he will amid the ongoing global health crisis.
Katie said the main focus is to bring Harvey’s weight down, saying she needs ‘to get him the help he deserves because he will die if he doesn’t exercise’.
The television star added his breathing has got worse but says at the college he will be able to go swimming and work out with trained specialists.
Katie made the decision to put Harvey in part-time care in April 2019.
The mother-of-five candidly admitted on her show at the time that she ‘had no option’ but to send Harvey, who was 16 at the time, to the care centre, as she admitted it’s ‘selfish’ of her to keep him at home.
The former glamour model admitted: ‘I don’t want him to go, but the doctors and my mum say it is the best thing for him.’
The star then explained to the camera: ‘What they can offer Harvey that I can’t, is daily exercise, a food plan, he can’t go into the cupboards and eat. He’ll socialise with his friends, it’s more freedom for him.’
Fears: Katie said the main focus is to bring Harvey’s weight down, saying she needs ‘to get him the help he deserves because he will die if he doesn’t exercise’