Sept 14, 2018, East Anglican Daily Times: ‘It just seems a bit hopeless’ – family’s desperate plea for autistic son’s education http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/lowestoft-family-claim-autistic-son-without-appropriate-education-1-5694722 A family who claim their autistic son has not had suitable education since April have described their plight for appropriate provision as “hopeless”. Chris and Karen Stride-Noble moved to Lowestoft from Surrey in October last year with their nine-year-old son Joseph, who was diagnosed as autistic at the age of three, and daughter Charlotte, two. Joseph suffers from behavioural issues and high anxiety and had been educated at a special school in Surrey. The youngster was being taught at The Landing, a facility in Lowestoft which provides education for children with higher functioning autism, but the family said his inability to cope with the class sizes and his social needs meant he struggled to thrive. A meeting with the school resulted in an outside tutor for three hours a day providing specialist education and practical skills such as cooking, but the family claims Joseph has not had full time education for more than five months. The couple say work to get him into other schools resulted in him being turned away – either because they could not meet his needs, or because they were full. … “There’s a limit to how much we can take but we are hanging on by a thread at the moment. “One of the worrying things is we are aware that there are so many people out there [wanting specialist places]. It just seems a bit hopeless.” Their plight comes after a cabinet report published last week highlighted the huge demand on special education needs services in the county, with education chiefs stating that a further 300-400 SEN places are needed in the next two years alone to meet demand – the equivalent of three or four special schools. … The number of children and young people with special educational needs in Suffolk is growing, mirroring a national trend. The council hopes to create these places as soon as possible with the help of a development panel…. Jack Abbott, Labour education spokesman, said: “Sadly, this story isn’t unique but one of many. I have an ever increasing number of families contacting me out of desperation as they have nowhere left to turn. “We are in the midst of an SEN crisis here in Suffolk and for too long the Tories have turned a blind eye to the growing and desperate need of children and their families and have failed to provide critical support to schools and teachers.