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MP backs new strategy to help children with autism in schools

February 5, 2018 2:58 PM

National autism and education strategyLocal MP Tim Farron has signed an open letter to the Government calling for new measures which would help children with autism in schools.

Tim is supporting the National Autistic Society's 'Held Back' campaign which calls for the introduction of a national autism and education strategy.

The strategy would include:

  • training for school staff
  • reasonable adjustments for pupils on the autism spectrum in schools
  • provision of a specialist curriculum for all pupils who need one
  • measures to reduce bullying and promote inclusion
  • and guidance for local authorities on commissioning the full range of educational provision and support.

According to the Society, 50% of children on the autism spectrum in the UK have to wait more than a year for the help they need at school.

42% of children are refused an assessment by their local authority of their education, health and care needs the first time this is requested. while four in ten parents say their child's school place does not fully meet their needs.

The letter, which is addressed to the Secretary of State for Education, has over 20,000 signatures.

Tim said: "Too often when I talk to young people with autism and their families they tell me about the struggles they face to get the right support, and how the education system doesn't meet their needs.

"As a result, children often have to fail at school before support is provided. This has a negative impact on both their self-esteem and life chances.

"A national autism and education strategy would help schools to develop a better understanding of the needs of children with autism and make the necessary changes to meet those needs.

"No child should be held back in their education simply because they're autistic."