Union backs new report’s recommendations on tackling autism assessments crisis

Community has voiced support for recommendations contained in a new report which details severe delays in autism assessments for children and a subsequent lack of appropriate support in healthcare and education settings.

The new report – co-authored by Child of the North, the Centre for Young Lives, Health Equity North and the N8 Research Partnership of leading universities in the North of England – highlights a staggering 306% increase in the number of children waiting for an autism assessment since the pandemic. Among this cohort, just one in ten children are receiving an appointment within 13 weeks of being referred, while more than a quarter of parents have waited over three years to receive appropriate support for their child.

The report calls on the government to urgently improve partnership work between local government, the education sector and healthcare professionals, and to provide access to mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for health, education, and social care professionals to improve understanding and awareness of autism and related issues.

Helen Osgood, Community’s National Officer for Education and Early Years, said:

“This report shines a light on the dire state of the lack of support for children with autism in our health and education systems. It’s absolutely outrageous that 93% of children are not receiving an appointment within 13 weeks of being referred, and this will only lead to poor long-term outcomes for children.

“The report demonstrates that children and young people with autism and conditions such as ADHD can thrive in mainstream education if their needs are supported in a timely way. Our members in the education sector see this with their pupils everyday – just as they see the lost potential of children who aren’t being properly supported because of systemic failures that they are powerless to address.

“We fully support the recommendations put forward in the report, and the government needs to take note and put in place an immediate action plan to deliver them.”

You can read the new report, ‘A country that works for all children and young people’, here: http://tinyurl.com/cotncfyl1 [tinyurl.com]

Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need advice or support, please contact our Service Centre at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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