Monday, December 6, 2010

Gaps in support for Scottish children with autism highlighted by inspectors.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) has produced a new report reviewing the impact the Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Act is having in Scottish schools.

Called ‘Adding Benefits for Learners’, the report concludes that on the whole, the majority of schools are effectively identifying children’s additional support needs, that good strategies built around multi-agency working are in place and that education and health professionals are working together to effectively identify and assess children’s needs.

This is good news for the ASL system in Scotland. However inspectors have also identified that progress has not been universal across all groups of children. They have especially highlighted significant gaps in meeting the more ‘hidden’ needs, such as autism.

One example used of this problem is awareness around the barriers to learning that can have a direct impact on children’s mental health, for example autism, ADHD, long-term medical conditions and being looked after.

Inspectors highlight significant problems with accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provision who can provide direct support to children and young people and advise teachers on appropriate interventions for learning.

The report also highlights issues around the accuracy of the data collected on pupils, the numbers of cases involving a pupil with an ASD who have to use the Tribunal service, gaps in pre-5 training and the consistency of the use of Co-ordinated Support Plans.

NAS Scotland has welcomed the report as it confirms our own concerns that children and young people with autism are often not getting the support the need in school.

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