Photo: A* fir AutismThe National Autistic Society Northern Ireland (NAS NI) is calling on MLAs to consider the needs of children with autism as they debate the reforms to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system.

The charity is today launching the A* for Autism campaign on SEN, which points to current failings in the education of children with autism in Northern Ireland.

Take action - ask your MLAs to support A* for Autism.

Research carried out by the NAS NI found that over half of children with autism wait over a year for appropriate educational support and that almost one in three parents feel that the education their child receives is not adequate to their needs.

Over 80% of parents who took part in our research say that a lack of support has harmed their children’s social and communication skills. And a further 65% said that a lack of support had affected their child’s mental health.

49% of parents also told us that they did not have enough information when choosing an educational placement for their child.

Shirelle Stewart , Co-Director of the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland said:

“We hope that this campaign will enable children with autism to access an A* education that sets them up for life. Every area of Northern Ireland needs to have education provision that understands autism.

“It is completely unacceptable that so many parents have to battle to secure their child’s fundamental right to an education. The proposed reforms to the Special Educational Needs system will shape the future of a generation of children with SEN so the Northern Ireland Assembly must listen to parents when they say that the system must do better to meet their needs.”

Download a copy of the A* for Autism campaign report.