Why do we have to fight for the right education and support for our Autistic children?

Humour me a little here as I know I am in a dream world but imagine this:

You have a child who shows signs of Autism so you take them to the GP who agrees and refers you to a children’s mental health unit who agree to see you the next week. They meet with you and decide to assess your child the following week. A week after that your child receives a diagnosis.

So you go to the school SENCO who quickly suggests your child will probably need an EHC Plan. She gathers all the evidence she has been getting together over the last year and contacts the educational psychologist, who comes in the following week. Three months later the educational psychologist comes back and then writes a report. Your SENCO sends the report along with her paperwork to the LA assessment team.

The LA assessment team receive your child’s application for an EHC Plan and they have a meeting and decide to assess your child. You get a letter asking for any extra information at the end of that week and so do any health care professionals they have contacted. Everyone replies promptly with this information and your child is assessed the following week. An EHC Plan is issued.

You are then asked what school you want your child to attend and the assessment team arrange that. Less than five months from taking your child to the GP, they are starting to settle in to their new school, where they will receive an education that suits them.

So maybe my time scales are a little unrealistic but my point is that we have a system in place in the UK that should be easy. A system which allows children to be diagnosed, assessed for EHC Plans and allocated the right schools. Yet a lot of parents and carers have to fight for years to get these things for their children. 

Unfortunately there are waiting lists and overworked offices and funding issues to deal with. Most people will end up fighting at some stage or another, a lot of people every stage. Parents end up appealing decisions to get them overturned, attending hundreds of unnecessary meetings and in some places going to tribunals to get their child the education that is their given right.

We have, instead of the easy system, a system where unfortunately if you don’t have the means to fight either academically or because of language barriers, you don’t stand a lot of chance of getting anywhere.

 The very system set up to help our children is instead setting them up to fail!

Diagnosis’ are taking too long.

EHC Plans that are very needed by children are either not being applied for or not given due to funding.

School places are allocated because of funding rather than the actual needs of the child.

We have a system that appears to most parents of autistic children to be based more on funding than their children’s needs.

We have a system where some parents of children with autism have to fight to get their children out of mainstream education when those children so obviously can’t cope in a mainstream environment.

This fight takes so long that we have ended up with parents out of work and in debt, children out of school or depressed and suicidal, schools with completely avoidable behavioural issues and teachers off sick with stress!

We should not have to fight for things that should come as standard such as the right education or support for our children!

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracey Abrahams says:

    It’s a tragic sign of our broken health and education system that everybody has to fight to prove they need support. The systems are not there to help, they are there to filter out the ones who are not strong enough to reach the end goal of support. The view being if they dont want to fight for it then obviously they dont really need it. 😕😬

    1. That! And the unfortunate consequence is that those who dont have the means to fight are unable to get support!

  2. And….many parents just don’t have the fight in them or the knowledge to help their hickdren. It’s a broken and tragic state. 😢

  3. fatamsimth says:

    More funding for autism here is going to be spent on a military parade for our president.

  4. Ruth says:

    I agree with you, but what’s keeps me going is knowing that I am my son’s voice. If I don’t fight for him, who will?

  5. Alice Letters to my Daughter says:

    Blue sky thinking is great – and in fact, your scenario really doesn’t sound all that difficult. There just need to be better, more efficient systems in place and some joined up thinking.
    And congrats, because someone loved this post so much they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your ‘I’ve been featured’ blog badge 🙂

  6. Lucky you!
    In Africa , children with learning difficulties are not recognised.

      1. Its a reality for some of us

      2. We are advocating for inclusive education

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