Campaign seeks faster access to help for autistic children

Many autistic children are being forced to wait a year or more to get help at school, research suggests.

A study by the National Autistic Society (NAS) found that parents of youngsters with the condition are left fighting the system to get the support they need. Almost half (48 per cent) of parents say they waited more than a year to get the right educational help, while 27 per cent said they waited more than two years and 18 per cent said they were forced to go to a tribunal to win the right help for their child.

Many said that while they were waiting, their child's mental health, educational achievement, behaviour or self esteem had suffered.

The NAS released the report, which includes responses from more than 1,000 parents as well as young people with the condition, to mark the launch of its Great Expectations campaign on special educational needs.

It says children expect to get the support they need quickly and easily, and parents should be able to easily challenge the system if their child does not get the right help.

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