Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NAS at Lib Dem Conference

The Policy and Campaigns Team have been busy this week at the Liberal Democrat Conference talking to MPs about issues affecting children and adults with autism, including education.

We spoke about our concerns about a lack of awareness and understanding of autism among school staff and about the challenges facing parents with autism, as they battle to get the support  their children need at school.

NAS Fringe event
The NAS also held its third annual 'Cocktails and Conversation' fringe event, this year focusing on mental health services for children with autism, following the launch of our You Need to Know Campaign.  

One of our young campaigners Hayley Nickels spoke at the event about her experiences of mental health services. Among other things she highlighted some of the problems she had had at school that had led to her developing mental health problems.

In the discussion that followed, the importance of better integrated working between health, education and social care was stressed.

Government spokesperson Baroness Northover said that it was worrying that so few parents and families felt that mental health services were helping them and that resources were being wasted as a result.

Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke stressed that it was really important that schools worked to prevent mental health problems from developing. 

To find out more about the You Need to Know campaign see: 

We will also be at Labour and Conservative Party Conferences and will keep you up to date on what we are doing on this site.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too many children labelled as having a special educational need?

This week Ofsted published a report on education in England for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Much of the media coverage of the report focused on its claim that too many children were being identified as having a special educational need, when in fact what was needed in schools was better teaching.

However, the report also highlighted that children with complex needs, such as autism were not being identified or given access to the support they needed.

The report also recognised that all too often parents were having to fight to get the right support for their children. At the NAS, we regularly hear from parents who have experienced these battles.

Ofsted also noted that even when additional support was in place, not enough was being done to make sure that it was effective and actually helping the child to achieve their potential.

Click here to read our response to the report

Click here to read the full report.

Please comment below on your thoughts about the report and the press coverage.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Government asks for views on education for children with special educational needs

The Government has today launched a 'Call for Views' on how the education system is working for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

They will use the information they get from this to write a 'Green Paper' which will set out proposals for reform. The Green Paper is expected to be published later this year.

The National Autistic Society will be responding to this Call for Views. Later this year, we will also be carrying out some research with parents of children with autism, children with autism and professionals to inform our response to the Green Paper. More information on this research will follow on this page.

If you want to take part in the current Call for Views, go to the Department for Education's website. You have until 15th October 2010 to let them know what you think.

Please also leave a comment below, telling us what you think would make the biggest change for children with autism.

National Autistic Society Launches NAS Education Update!

The National Autistic Society has today launched NAS Education Update!

This is a new service designed to keep you up to date about reforms of the education system, what the NAS is doing and what you can do to make sure the education system understands and meets the needs of all children with autism.

Save it to your favourites and keep popping back to make sure that you are up to date!