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Autistic pupils often excluded as schools have no support available

Monday 9th October 2017
A lack of available speech and language specialists to support schools is contributing to an increase in the number of autistic pupils being excluded. Image: DGLimages via iStock
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The number of children with autism being excluded from primary school because their school is unable to provide the speech and language support and other specialist help they require is on the rise across the UK.

The charity Ambitious About Autism has obtained official government figures that show that temporary exclusions for autistic children rose by almost one-quarter (24.69 per cent) between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

At the same time, the number of children with autism being permanently excluded increased by more than one-third (36.4 per cent).

Speaking to the Huffington Post, head of policy at the National Autistic Society Sarah Lambert explained: "When children and young people on the autism spectrum have problems at school, it is often because their school doesn't have a good enough understanding of autism or their placement isn't appropriate for their needs.

"When a person's needs aren't met, they can become overwhelmed and 'melt down', which leads to difficult behaviour which others may think is naughty or disruptive."

The statistics from the government therefore suggest that more specialists, such as speech and language therapists and even behavioural experts, need to be brought into schools where there are children who have been diagnosed as falling onto the autistic spectrum.

This will help to ensure that they are receiving proper intervention from specialists at an early age and are taught how to channel any frustrations they may have so they do not appear disruptive.

As a result, they will be less likely to be excluded, preventing them from becoming isolated from their peers - something that could make any social or communication problems they already have even worse.

In addition, specialist support will help to stop them from falling behind academically too due to less risk of exclusion.

Elizabeth Archer, campaigns and policy director at Ambitious About Autism, added that the charity has guidance available for schools on how they can best support pupils with autism in order to stop them being removed from vital lessons.

Written by Martin Lambert

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