Letter: Children's interests

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The Independent Culture
Sir: When parents are successful in their efforts to gain the targeted help and protection of a formal statement for their children it is the culmination of an agonising search for proper help for complex needs.

Their motive is their children's education and happiness - and that alone.

The special needs labels derided in your leader are crude descriptions of complicated, unique and above all real difficulties. These labels represent valuable steps towards knowledge about often-severe challenges to learning.

We now know, for example, that there is an autistic spectrum. Every day continuing research, alongside educational and support initiatives, brings us closer to improving the future for these children.

Of course, in an ideal world we should be able to respond to their needs at all stages, before statementing is even necessary. To achieve this understanding is needed a complex debate about limited resources.

PAUL CANN

Chief Executive

The National Autistic Society

London EC1

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