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(UK) Autism charity: "Stop autistic children...[from] being 'written off'"

Nov 29, 2022, Special Needs Jungle: Don’t write us off before we’ve started, say autistic pupils in new campaign to protect rights and funding

A new campaign to stop autistic children and young people being ‘written off’ at school is being launched today by charity, Ambitious about Autism. The Written Off? campaign calls on the government to protect SEND funding and families’ legal rights to get support for their children.

The charity’s new report shows two-thirds (65%) of almost 2000 families they spoke to say they are not happy with their autistic child’s mainstream education, while over a third (36%) of autistic pupils say they have been out of school against their wishes.

Ambitious about Autism is also launching a petition today calling on the government not to write off autistic children and young people’s chances of achieving in education.

The charity wants a public pledge from decision-makers that SEND funding and families’ legal rights to get support for their children will be protected.

Today we hear from Megan Horan, a member of the Ambitious Youth Network, a group of autistic young people from across the UK who campaign for change. Megan’s education has suffered from a lack of the right support and she’s worried the government’s education policies are set to write-off the next generation of autistic children too.

Don’t let the next generation of autistic children down too. By Megan Horan, Ambitious About Autism…

When my EHCP was written it sounded amazing. Everything I needed was on there and it was meant to be reviewed yearly. I was promised additional time to process instructions and interventions in Maths and English to help me learn. But none of this ended up happening.

My Maths interventions were stopped after one week because there weren't enough staff.

There was so much I struggled with at school. Teachers didn’t listen to me when I told them I couldn’t understand questions, so I would sit and cry or not take notice. School didn’t listen to my parents, who tried to tell them how to support me….

I'm now in my 20s and still trying to achieve my school targets. I want to be a teaching assistant in a special school to support others with their education – but I need a C grade to get the job. I still have an EHC plan but getting support is hard. At the moment I’m waiting for a panel to decide if I should get funding to pay for support to get my grades in Maths and English. My life in school was horrible and I didn’t meet my targets. This impossible expectation of meeting targets without any support has continued into adulthood.

The system to support people like me with special educational needs isn’t working. There is an opportunity right now to fix it with the SEND review –but as they stand, these proposals won’t solve the big issues. In fact, me and other autistic young people and families think they will make things worse, making it even harder to access support at school.

That’s why I’m making a stand alongside Ambitious about Autism and calling on the government to protect current laws and SEND funding. Our message is clear: don’t write off autistic children and young people’s chances of achieving in education. Listen to what we are telling you weneed – and focus on making all schools better at supporting autistic pupils.


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