Katie Price has made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to put her son Harvey into full-time care.
The television personality, 42, said she will send her eldest child, 18, who suffers from a number of health conditions, to a residential college where he can lead a more independent life and learn new skills.
Harvey will live in the facility until he’s 25 and Katie believes the move is vital for his well-being because she can no longer restrain the at 6ft2in and 29 stone teen if he has a mood swing – and fears he could be sectioned if she doesn’t act now.
Harvey, whose father is retied footballer Dwight Yorke, 49, 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.
‘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) as she believes the move is ‘vital for his well-being’
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.’
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 the mother-of-five 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.
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)
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
Katie is also mother to son Junior, 15, and daughter Princess, 13, with her ex-husband Peter Andre, 47, and son Jett, seven, and daughter Bunny, six, with former spouse Kieran Hayler, 33.
The My Crazy Life star 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 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.
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.
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 Harvey’s breathing has got worse in recent months, but says he will be able to go swimming and work out with trained specialists at the college.
In June, Harvey was rushed to intensive care after having trouble breathing. He experienced extreme chest-pains and a soaring temperature and was thought to be at risk of organ failure.
Heartbreaking: Harvey’s father, retired footballer Dwight Yorke is absent from his son’s life (Katie pictured with Dwight in 2001)
WHAT IS PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME?
Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes problems including constant urges to eat food, restricted growth and reduced muscle tone.
Other potential issues include learning difficulties, lack of sexual development and behavioral problems such as tantrums or stubbornness.
The rare condition, which affects one in every 15,000 children born in England, is caused by a defect on chromosome number 15 – and happens by chance.
Because there is no cure, treatment aims to manage the symptoms – with parents of sufferers urged to get their children to stick to a healthy, balanced diet.
Children with the syndrome can eat up to six times more than children of the same age – and still feel hungry.
It was first described in 1956 by Swiss doctors A Prader, A Labhart and H Willi.
Katie recalled seeing eight doctors crowding around him in the resuscitation room and said she was ‘terrified’ by the horrific ordeal. He was discharged after 10 days.
Katie made the decision to put Harvey in part-time care in April 2019.
The mother-of-five candidly admitted on her show 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’
But Harvey had to move back home in March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last six months, the teenager’s behaviour has got progressively worse.
She told The Sun in November: ‘He’ll smash things up if you say no. I’ve had to re-plaster my walls because he’ll bash holes in them with his head.
‘He knows what nice things taste of. I’ll give him sweet potato chips instead of real fries but he knows the difference.’
She continued: ‘It’s not what he eats in the day, it’s what he eats when I don’t see him. I’ve tried hiding food but he’ll find it.’
Katie went on to say that anyone in the house daren’t leave leftover food lying around as Harvey is ‘really quick’ and will be sure to eat it.
Continuing to outline her struggle with Harvey’s insatiable appetite, Katie previously explained to the publication how she’s taken drastic steps to try and reduce his eating and has even started to padlock the fridge.
Tough: Describing his condition as a ‘cruel and horrible illness’, the reality star described how her son is constantly hungry and will lose his temper if he doesn’t get his food
Harvey Price’s medical history…
May 27, 2002
He was born and was yet to be diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome partial blindness and being on the autistic spectrum
Shortly after he was born, Harvey was constantly thirsty and gaining weight rapidly, leading to initial suggestions that he could be suffering from the rare disorder, septo-optic dysplasia (SOD)
Aged just three, Harvey weighed five and a half stone and was wearing clothes for 16 year olds.
He was then diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome – the genetic disorder that leads to excess eating and obesity – as well as diabetes inspipidus, autism, attention deficit disorder and oppositional defiance disorder which causes agression
Harvey spent three months in hospital after burning himself when he ran himself a bath with boiling water
Katie reveals Harvey’s conditions are so serious that he would die without medication and requires round-the clock care
Harvey was raced to hospital last week after he suffering from breathing problems and a fever and was kept in an intensive care unit
Katie also said that Harvey, who now wears 7XL clothes, doesn’t understand why she wants him to lose weight.
The worried mum explained how he gets breathless and sweaty just walking up the stairs and that she agonises over his increasing weight, because now the weight is on, the ‘damage’ has already been done.
It comes as Katie emotionally declared her son Harvey is ‘not a thing to poke fun at’ as she said being a mum to a disabled son is a ‘badge of honour’ on Instagram on Thursday.
She has previously said that one of the hardest parts about Harvey’s condition has been having others blame her for her son’s disability, which she has explained was a ‘one-in-a-million chance’.
She has said: ‘It’s no one’s fault… That’s why it’s still so upsetting when people say it’s my fault. It’s not.
‘I did go out. I was single, I was going out. But they’d get pictures of me coming out of the club looking drunk even though I was driving.
‘I had lots of speculation with his problems, and I was blamed for my partying. I wasn’t drinking at all.’
In 2019, Katie expressed her worries over Harvey saying she hopes she outlives him, because he wouldn’t be able to cope without her.
Speaking candidly about her relationship with her son, , the former glamour model, said that she worries how Harvey would take care of himself.
Katie told The Sun that she worries how Harvey would cope on his own due to his complex medical needs.
She said: ‘I know it’s horrible to say, but I wish he’d go before me because he wouldn’t cope without me.
‘He’d be so heartbroken and wouldn’t understand where I’d gone.’
Back in 2013, Katie told The Guardian that she would never put her son in care and called residential homes ‘evil’.
She said: ‘He’ll always live at home. He’s not leaving me. There are a lot of evil people out there’.
She also said she doesn’t want her other children to end up taking care of Harvey when they are older because she thinks it’s her job.
But Katie has understandably had a change of heart about care homes after learning what would be best for her son.
And no doubt she has already seen him thriving being in residential care five days a week.
Promoting her new BBC documentary Katie Price: Harvey and Me on BBC One, Katie wrote: ‘I wanted to share what really goes on behind closed doors.
‘Harvey isn’t a thing to poke fun at, he’s my son, he overcomes mountains and obstacles everyday that other people take for granted. Being a single parent of a disabled child is a badge of honour for me!’
The documentary will air later this month on Monday January 25 on BBC One.
Emotional: It comes as Katie emotionally declared her son Harvey is ‘not a thing to poke fun at’ as she said being a mum to a disabled son is a ‘badge of honour’