Thursday, 7 January 2010

Review into FE barriers facing young people with autism

From the Western Mail:

PARENTS, sufferers and professionals will help an inquiry into autism in further education.
The Welsh Assembly Government will assess the barriers facing young people with autism when they reach college.
The review, conducted by the Assembly’s Enterprise and Learning Committee, will take place in February over two sessions.
It will invite oral and written evidence from affected parties.
The move has been welcomed by the Assembly’s Cross-Party Autism Group (CPAG), which commissioned a damning report on education providers in May.
It revealed that 75% of schools surveyed felt there was a lack of adequate local help available.
Some 58% described FE provision in Wales as inadequate.
Group chair, Plaid Cymru AM Janet Ryder, is backing the new inquiry.
She said: “The research published by the CPAG demonstrates dissatisfaction amongst young people, parents, and schools and colleges with how people with autism are supported in further education.
“All too often, college life for a young person with autism can be one of isolation, where their educational requirements are not understood or accounted for.
“We also know that there are examples of good practice in Wales, often when colleges have improved their awareness of autism, backed up with the appropriate guidance.”
She added: “I look forward to seeing the findings of the inquiry, and expect the Welsh Assembly Government to take them on board.”
The CPAG study, A Snapshot of Autism Education Provision in Wales, was based on information gathered from 33 education providers.
Contributors included statutory and independent special schools, mainstream schools with autism resources and further education colleges.
It examined topics such as the role of the Assembly’s strategic action plan on autism spectrum disorders, and disparities between state and independent provision.
The study followed a number of concerns raised at CPAG meetings that young people with autism in post-16 education were missing out because of a lack of organisation, awareness and understanding.
Rebecca Evans, policy and public affairs officer for the National Autistic Society Cymru, said: “Further education in Wales can be seen as a bridge from childhood into adult life, yet young people with autism often miss out on the benefits when their requirements are not taken into account.
“For example, we have been told of parents who have had under a week between hearing a decision on a placement, and their child beginning college – this does not take into account the anxiety and distress sudden changes can cause for people with autism.
“Although it is a complex condition, we know that the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference,” she added.
The CPAG was established in 2002 to bring individuals, families, professionals and AMs together to discuss issues affecting people with autism, their families and carers.
Autism affects more than 25,000 people in Wales, of whom 6,000 are young people under the age of 18.

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