Setting up a 'Free School' for high functioning children in Plymouth

Many high functioning autistic children aren't achieving their full potential due to the lack of support available to them in the current educational system. If they do not have a learning difficulty they won't necessarily fit the criteria for a specialist unit but with socia/lsensory//behavioural difficulties they often struggle in a mainstream setting. The National Autistic Society recognises there is a gap in the education system for these children and have begun setting up 'Free Schools' to help cater for their needs. A group of parents have got together and decided that something needs to be done and we are petitioning for a school like this to to be set up in Plymouth. Please sign this petition to show your support and pass onto as many people as possible. Thank you

Links


http://www.autism.org.uk/our-services/education-and-schools/free-schools-and-academies.aspx

Discussion

  • Anonymous Would be a very valuable resource for Devon/Plymouth, who knows what will be the needs of my toddlers in the future but I would be very glad of it being there if needed and I also know of a friend whose child it may well benefit.

  • sam avery I have worked with high functioning autistic children in mainstream schools for nearly 10 years. Sadly the lack of understanding these children face on a daily basis from many adults who make decisions about them can at times be astounding and frustrating. Even where there is some understanding hands are often tied. Why should we care? Firstly because these children, whilst each being individuals distinct from one another as all children are, often share one common problem.... DISTRESS. Distress caused by being in an unsuitable environment that does not meet their needs. Secondly, these children often do not meet their full potential in mainstream. Many of these children have very special qualities that do not get a chance to flourish through being in the wrong environment and so society as a whole misses out on their potential. I am a believer in encouraging all children to survive and do well in society with the best tools available to them. Nothing is more important than any society recognising that all our children are tomorrow's adults as the previous generation ages and steps back for them to move us all forward. We should think long term.
    I could say so much more but my last point will be this. Watching the horrendous fight parents of autistic children go through to get one of a handful of reasonably appropriate places within our education system is painful... and embarrassing. Embarrassing that our education system is so lacking. Remember, the vast majority of parents only get to realize this as their child grows from a baby and is 'different'. Many wonder what they've done wrong. Often they go through incredibly tough times both as families and out in society fighting not to see their child suffering in the wrong environment. However with the right support this can be turned around as they see their child helped to be the most wonderful special individual bringing laughter, insight and many amazing surprises as they flourish. I have been priviledged to see this and nothing beats it. These children have a great deal to offer and to give. Their parents wouldn't change their child... they're just great exactly as they are and they can see their child has been given the tools to cope more ably in a world they struggle to understand. They deserve the right support as do all our children.

  • Rebecca Belsten Fantastic idea, I hope this is successful. After undertaking my placements at a mainstream school with children with autism, and then a support centre for children with autism, I can see how, through comparison, children with autism cannot always receive the support they need in the mainstream. This will be so fantastic. All the best

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