Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
"What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless."
UK media editor, Age of Autism
"The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country."
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.”
“They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.”
DR SAM PARRETT OBE
CEO, London & South East Education Group
A dramatic rise in pupils being diagnosed with special educational needs means many schools are facing significant challenges. We have to rethink our systems and assumptions accordingly, writes Sam Parrett
London South East Academies Trust consists of seven schools, only one of which is mainstream. The others – two alternative provision (AP) academies and four special schools – look after children whose needs can’t be met in the mainstream system at particular points in time.
Young people between the ages of five and 18 arrive at our schools for a wide range of reasons. For some, it’s the culmination of various difficult behaviours. For others, the result of a one-off incident. Some pupils are with us for a short time while others will stay on a longer-term basis, particularly in the latter two years of compulsory schooling. Others still are assessed as having specific educational needs, get an ECHP and move into specialist provision where their needs can be best met.
This may sound straightforward, yet it’s anything but. Many who come to our AP schools are more than capable of achieving qualifications and progressing into further/higher education and ultimately into a fulfilling career. But two things conspire that limit their opportunities.
First, against a backdrop of limited budgets, the default is to move “difficult” children on, and ultimately make them someone else’s problem. It’s a truism to say that permanently excluding a “difficult” child can release pressure on staff and indeed, other pupils, but consideration is rarely given to the needs and entitlements of the excluded children.
Second, often able young people are seen as too much of a liability for a mainstream school’s performance measures. This is especially the case for pupils who are unlikely to make the grade at GCSE. With accountability measures as they are, the bar for exclusion is certain to remain low….
Structural reform can only create more perverse incentives. What the system needs is an overhaul in terms of what constitutes progress, achievement and success, and fairer national funding to ensure the calibre of AP is always high….