In September, some of our supporters alerted us to a school in Great Yarmouth which had told their students they had to make eye contact with teachers during lessons.

At The National Autistic Society, we want all autistic children to get the right support at school. We know that many children and young people on the autism spectrum find eye contact anxiety-provoking – even painful. They simply cannot look people in the eye with confidence, so it was vital that we encouraged the Academy to change these unfair rules.

So we contacted the Great Yarmouth Charter immediately and explained to the school that they could not expect autistic students to follow rules like ‘make confident eye contact’. We also explained that many autistic children won’t be diagnosed because of waiting times of up to three years – so not only diagnosed children but also undiagnosed children should have flexibility on this rule.

After a couple of phone calls and further letters, we have now received a positive response from the Academy’s Chair of Governors, "I am happy to confirm that we are amending our public document to make clear that if a child has any officially diagnosed special need or disability, or a family suspects that their child may have, families should contact the school who will assist in the accurate assessment of their child’s needs.

We are also clear that where a child has particular needs, we expect to adapt to meet those needs, and this includes not punishing pupils unable to meet expectations we have for the majority of pupils.

Getting a result like this is part of the work we do, alongside our own education provision, to make sure that all schools are creating every opportunity for autistic students to thrive. Schools must make reasonable adjustments for students with SEND, and this includes behaviour policies as well as the physical environment. Families should have confidence that their autistic son or daughter will receive the support and understanding that they need at school.

Far too many children have traumatic experiences at school due to teachers not understanding autism enough. These experiences can stay with people into adulthood and affect people’s entire lives.

So we’re pleased to have achieved this change at one school and we have also asked that teachers there get involved in the Autism Education Trust and sign up to get information from us as part of our MyWorld campaign. But we know that far too many children are being failed by the education system.

Last month, our charity and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism published a report on autism and education in England. It found that the education system is holding autistic children and young people back from achieving their potential.

That’s why, together with Ambitious About Autism, we have launched our Held Back campaign. We want the Government to make sure no children are held back from meeting their potential because they’re autistic.

We’ve already achieved a huge amount of media coverage for the report and got national attention. If you want to support our campaign, sign our open letter to Government.