A Birmingham mother whose son has cerebral palsy has dismissed joined-up services as a wonderful idea "in theory."
Sue Waterson has constantly fought to get help for James since he was born.
But the 48-year-old, who saw her marriage fail as a result of the strain, explained the real problems began when he was ten.
"When he was born we had plenty of follow-ups which, in hindsight, was pretty good," she said.
"He was at Wilson Stuart School, in Perry Common, where he was taught with other children with special needs or learning difficulties.
"But at ten years old, he was put in with able-bodied pupils at St Wilfrid's School, in Castle Bromwich, to prepare him for a mainstream school. That's when all the doors seemed to slam shut on us."
She said: "From that point on we had to fight for everything - his physiotherapy, his speech therapy, and so on.
" So when he finally moved up to Hall Green Secondary school at 11, there was no transport or any other provisions for him - except a wheelchair ramp so he could get into school." James, now aged 24, could not walk on his own, so his mother would help carry him upstairs at night.
But in 1997, she had to go into hospital for a hysterectomy which meant no lifting, driving or other physical activity.
"I couldn't believe it when I was told by social services that their carers 'don't lift'," said Mrs Waterson.
"Even though I was in and out of hospital, there was nothing they could do to provide care for James.
"If mothers like me could go to one place or speak to one person and tell them what I need, that would make such a difference.
"So joined-up services would be a wonderful idea, in theory.
"I don't begrudge James anything, but this has all been a real strain.
" It's what broke my marriage but this is never going to go away, I am his carer for life."
Last month, she received an out-of-court settlement for a negligence claim following complications during James' birth at City Hospital in Birmingham.
"I don't want to go into details but this award will make a major difference to both our lives," she said.
"James can now afford to have a live-in carer if I want to take a couple of weeks holiday. Life shouldn't be an uphill struggle any more.
"While I can see a future now, there are hundreds of families in similar situations. They are caught up in the system because agencies aren't talking to each other and that makes things harder for everyone."