The crisis is here: how the education system is failing my autistic son

Oct 26, 2018 by

We had to fight for even a basic assessment. Now we’ve been told the school setting he needs is not available

Katy Brent –

While most families in the UK have spent their half-term in pumpkin patches or picking out frightening outfits for Halloween, this week has been terrifying in a completely different way for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send). Two Guardian reports have highlighted the looming Send crisis our children are facing in school. I can tell you that crisis is already here.

My seven-year-old son has autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), with the added complication that he also has a diagnosis of pathological demand avoidance (PDA) – complicated because, although it’s under the umbrella of ASD, it isn’t recognised by most health authorities, and the condition – though on the autism spectrum – requires techniques very different from classic autism to manage it. In a nutshell, while my son is very bright, he has a host of complex needs that manifest as anxiety, which in turn presents in violence and aggression, meaning that he finds mainstream school impossible.

He has just started in Year 3 at our local junior school and I have been fighting to get him what he has been legally entitled to since he began formal schooling. When we – I must add that I can’t fault my son’s school, it has been completely supportive – first applied to get him an education health and care plan (EHCP), it was rejected. His condition wasn’t even considered severe enough to warrant an assessment. This is a child who has such extreme sensory needs that he goes into meltdown if there is too much noise, too much light, too many people in his personal space – all problematic in a mainstream school.


Source: The crisis is here: how the education system is failing my autistic son | Katy Brent | Opinion | The Guardian

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