Lostock Hall teen from Channel 5's My Violent Child bidding to become 2020 BMX World Champion in 16-year-old category
Once featuring on Channel 5's My Violent Child for using his mum as "a punch bag," this Lostock Hall teenager with specialist needs has transformed into a national BMX racer.
Now Robert Iddon, who has ADHD, ODD, attachment disorder, conduct disorder, dyslexia and autistic tendencies, is hosting a family fun day on Saturday, December 7th, at New Day Church, Ward Street, in Lostock Hall, from 2pm to 5-30pm.
Having qualified to represent Great Britain in his age group in the 2020 BMX World Championships in Texas, USA, next May, the 15-year-old hopes to raise £5,000 to cover travel costs and fulfil his racing dream.
His mum, Tracy Iddon, said: "I'm amazed, I really am. In primary school, he had a lot of aggression and was using me as a punch bag.
"But he's improved so much as a person since taking up BMXing. Lots of children have been doing it since three or four-years-old but he only started when he was 11. He's put in a lot of hard work and he now has the chance to race against the best in the world.
"We have a house full of trophies and to get those in four years shows he has a real love for the sport. I'm so proud of him and I think he's done exceptionally well."
When Robert was two-years-old, Tracy, who is originally from East Anglia, began struggling with his emotional outbursts and wondered if they were normal for his age. But her concerns were dismissed and she was told it was just down to her being a single new mum.
But then Robert, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) aged five, started to become violent towards her and has even chased her with bread knives.
"I've had the police out on more than one occasion, and they've brought him downstairs in handcuffs and had a doctor sedate him. It's been horrific, it really has," she said.
But despite the physical abuse, Tracy struggled to obtain long-term support from the police, doctors, social services and the NHS' Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Social services put her on several parenting courses, which she said helped for a little while, and despite reaching out to CAMHS, she struggled to obtain a diagnosis for Robert.
The family then moved up North when Robert started primary school, where he was branded "the naughty child", found socialising difficult and had some support from a teaching assistant.
Following numerous assessments and play therapy, their questions were finally answered when they received a diagnosis of both ADHD and autistic tendencies.
Still, finding the right level of support proved difficult and life didn't become any easier over the years.
At 11, Robert went to Wellfield High School in Leyland but struggled due to severe dyslexia and a reading and writing age of three-years-old, with the school psychologist claiming he needed more support than their budget would allow.
But life became more chaotic when he was excluded from school for assaulting a teacher when he was still in Year 7.
Hearing the news of her mum's death, Tracy had travelled back down South to make arrangements, leaving Robert at home with a relative.
"His whole routine was out of sync and he doesn't like change so it got to him," she said.
"One particular day he was very distraught and wanted to talk to the school's special educational needs coordinator but a new teacher wouldn't let him and said he was disrupting the class.
"He threatened to jump out of the window and when he went to the door to leave, the teacher put her hand on the handle. He used her hand as a door handle and was kicked out of school as it was classed as assault. He hadn't even been there a year."
From there he went to a temporary school in Chorley where he had further assessments and was given an Educational Healthcare Plan, allowing him to apply to specialist need schools.
He now attends Cumberland School in Rivington, which offers intensive support for ADHD.
"I had to drag him to primary school but now he gets into a taxi and goes," Tracy said.
"His school life isn't perfect and he has had some nasty outbursts but they're amazing with him at Cumberland. When he's upset they give him space to go out for a walk, shout at trees and calm down.
"He's already sat some of his entry-level GCSEs and is doing vocational courses in construction and motor mechanics, which he absolutely loves. I don't think I've ever had a report of bad behaviour since he started doing them.
"And because BMXing is now classed as an Olympic sport, he's allowed time off school to compete."
Robert began the sport just four years ago after watching a family friend race at a club competition. Immediately transfixed, he wanted to give it a go himself so the family hired a bike and equipment from the club for several months before he slowly acquired his own.
He now attends both Blackpool BMX Club and Mid Lancs BMX Racing Club, has been named 12th in the country for his age group on a 24 inch wheel and has won trophies for coming first in the North on his cruiser for two years on the trot.
"It's so calmed him down and he even helps to coach the younger ones," Tracy said.
"He crouches down to talk to them on their level and it's so heartwarming to see his empathy and compassion for little ones who are struggling.
"I'm so proud of him, it's unreal."
The family fun day will include a raffle, stalls, family games, refreshments and tombolas.
If you cannot attend the event but would still like to make a donation, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/p5kmup-bmx-world-championships?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet