Act Now For Autism is a core group of people passionate about the future and well-being of children and adults with autism and associated conditions in the UK.
Act Now For Autism are campaigning against aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill, specifically the WCA, Work Programme and the impact of the changeover to Universal Credit and PIP. We are ardently campaigning for advocacy to be offered to anyone who has to have a face-to-face assessment.
In the Queens Speech today, the Government announced a Children And Families Bill.
Act Now For Autism fears that once again children with autism, many of
whom currently don't have a Statement, will continue to have their complex
needs ignored following the announcement that the Government plans to replace statements for children with a Education, Health and Care Plan.
Children with autism are some of the most vulnerable in the UK, with often complex needs.
Despite this, children with Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism are often left
sitting unsupported in mainstream classrooms.
Act Now For Autism
hopes the introduction of the Education, Health and Care Plan
will at last encompass every child with a diagnosis of autism (or traits but waiting for a diagnosis) and
address their complex needs. It is sadly all too usual that
once a child has a main diagnosis of autism the professionals
involved stop looking at any additional
issues they may have.
Levels of health related
co-morbidity are high in autism. Many children will have
dyspraxia and dyslexia and the vast majority have sensory issues that
are often left unaddressed. Many also live with hypermobility
syndrome (affects everything from how much they can tolerate PE to
whether or not they are in pain when holding a pencil) dietary
problems, sleep problems, epilepsy, allergies, etc.
Having an Education, Health and Care Plan would (we hope) mean the additional
needs of children with autism, who are in mainstream schools, would have
their other health needs assessed and hopefully strategies then put in place to support them.
The Department of Education has
said that the Children and Families Bill will be 'the biggest reform in
30 years' and state that the main elements for children with
special educational needs and disabilities are:
-Replacing Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements and Learning
Disability Assessments (for 16-25 year olds) with a single, simpler 0-25
assessment process and Education, Health and Care Plan from 2014 -
Providing statutory protections comparable to those currently associated
with a statement of SEN to up to 25 in further education - instead of
being cut off a 16 - Requiring that local authorities and health
services jointly plan and commission services that children, young
people and their families need - Giving parents or young people the right to a personal budget for their support'
Act Now For Autism welcomes that the planned legislation
will create a legal requirement for joint commissioning between health
and social care. We do however have grave concerns that without an Education, Health and Care Plan in place children with Aspergers Syndrome
and High Functioning Autism will not be included in the data which will be recorded and drive
the commissioning needs. If there is no data to include the
specific needs of a group of children whose complex and specific needs
have been ignored now for many years, they will continue to be failed.
Act Now For Autism
calls on the Government to stop splitting the autistic spectrum up into
segments and allow a system like in Scotland, where every child with additional support needs (diagnosed or not) is protected in education and afforded the right to support by the Additional Support For Learning Act (2009).
We mustensure that every child with an autism spectrum condition
will be given an Education, Health and Care Plan to ensure they
can have all of their needs addressed and meet their full potential in education.