Very long waits for school support for Autistics in England

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ASPartOfMe
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10 Nov 2021, 8:37 am

One in four autistic children wait over three years for school support, poll finds

Quote:
One in four autistic children wait more than three years to receive the support they need at school, leaving families “exhausted and on the edge of crisis”, according to the National Autistic Society.

Seventy-four percent of parents who were polled by the charity said their child’s school did not fully meet their needs – double the dissatisfaction levels four years ago in the charity’s last education report.

Parents also complained they faced lengthy battles trying to secure the right support for their child, with 57% reporting they had waited more than a year and 26% waiting more than three years.

The NAS school report, based on surveys of 4,000 parents, carers, autistic children and young people, also highlighted the impact of the pandemic on autistic children, with 44% of parents of the view their child has fallen behind with work and 59% concerned their child has become more socially isolated.

According to official government data there are more than 160,000 autistic pupils in schools across England, of whom 70% are in mainstream schools, while the rest are either receiving specialist education, are home educated or are out of education altogether. One in five parents responding to the NAS survey said their child had been “informally” excluded at least once in the past two years.

Caroline Stevens, the NAS chief executive, said the system was broken and called on the government to act. “The education system simply isn’t working for autistic children and their families, and things have been made even harder by coronavirus.

“Families told us they had to spend months, even years, without the right support, often because there’s no school to meet their needs. And two in five of those who were refused an assessment of their child’s needs said they took legal action.


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Ade C
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10 Nov 2021, 4:45 pm

All too familiar. My 7 year old has been home educated now for around a year as he couldn't cope with school. We got absolutely no support from them. Took months to get the GP to do a referral to children's mental health services and when he finally had an appointment we now need to wait 15 months for an autism assessment. The system is indeed well and truly broken, but unfortunately the conservative government couldn't care less, and it suits their agenda to privatise more services.



Mountain Goat
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10 Nov 2021, 6:10 pm

I am in Wales which usually has much longer waiting lists then England though there are large attempts to catch up in recent years and I know that a few years ago (After the time of the situation I write about below) that our Welsh Assembly has invested large amounts of extra funding into mental health care and assessments.


My brothers ex GF's child had to wait six years to get assessed as she was nearly 10 years old before she was assessed and was close to going to secondary school without being able to read or write. She is a highly intelligent girl so it wasn't as if she lacked intelligence. The school kept putring immense pressure on my brother and his ex, so after waiting five years they took out a large loan to do it privately and there was no where ear that could do it, and the nearest one was quite a lengthy journey (80 miles?)
After paying out some £4000 to £5000 (I think the official assessment bill was £4500 and the rest was taken out to pay for the travelling as she was assessed over a lengthy period of a few months with many vistits), she was assessed and found to have AHCD or something losely related to autism, but they then found out that the education athority would not accept the results from the private assessment and would only accept NHS assessments. (She was 3 years old when they were first told by the school to ask their GP for her to be assessed).
They had no option but to wait and she was assessed a year later.
After being assessed, suddenly there was extra support offered and with that support, she was reading, writing and spelling words of up to 6 letters in less than a year! Before being given that support she was not able to write or read even 3 letter words despite her age.
Repeatedly over her early schooling years they asked the school why she was not allowed any extra help to learn to read or write and the schools (Three separate schools as they moved er from one to the other in attempts to try to get teachers to help her) were not allowed to give her any help until she was assessed. That is a whole six years she had to wait.
When she had been assessed, the schools were given extra financial help because of her condition a d suddenly they were all over her in providing the help she needed!
In the past when I was in primary school (Age 4 to 11... Now they start age 3) teachers would have spent more time with the children who were falling behind. Sadly not allowed anymore unless they have been officially diagnosed with a condition. What about the pupils who have no condition but just have a lower IQ level. Where is the help for them these days?



Ade C
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11 Nov 2021, 2:21 pm

Makes you wonder how many thousands of children have been failed by the system which should be there to support them.
The cost to society is far greater in the long term when these kids aren't able to fulfill their true potential and end up needing to rely on the state instead of learning how to be independent and self sufficient. Sad indictment of a so called developed country