Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Autism & being educated outside school in Wales.

There is a whole grey area that grows in population size year on year of children/young people who need to be educated outside the state system.

Who are these children and young people? 

Below is a really rough attempt to categorise the groups our ASC children fall into. It's a 
rough indicator only as regards how ASC and home education has become a growing phenomenon in recent years. 

1. LA funded home education programmes. These are most often ABA & II programmes, 8 Welsh LAs fund pupils who attend online schools. 
2. Children who have sensory issues that mean they just can't tolerate a school environment. These children most often seem to wind up being electively home educated by their parents and thrive being educated in an environment that can be tailored to meet their sensory needs. 
3. Aspies who just cannot cope in mainstream schools but are too "academic" for specialist provision. This is a suprisingly large group & again they tend to really thrive thru elective home education. 
4. Those children who have hit crisis point. Sadly within this group we have mostly teens (but some are much younger) who have become too traumatised by the school system to attend. Secondary mental health issues are a huge factor here and range from anxiety, suicidal thoughts, pstd etc. These families are often almost broken by unhelpful professionals and recovery from trauma is the priority before education in the sense most folk understand it can even begin to commence. These families have been let down by the system and we consider them to be "forced" home educators. 
5. Elective Home Educators - some parents choose right at the start to educate their children at home. All counties of Wales have a mainstream local HE group that oraganises social events, learning activities etc for their members. The issue is that often our kids don't fit within these NT alternative spaces either. 

This diagram demonstrates how many parents of neurodiverse children need to address their child's learning needs. Typically mainstream schools focus on the tip of this pyramid.

There is urgent work to be done in getting LAs to understand the fluidity of placement provision as ASC kids change and grow. There needs to be much more official acceptance that not all children are suited to a particular placement for the entirety of their education. Some children find that after a few years of elective home ed they are able to return to the school/college environment but their parents find the barriers to doing so are enormous.

Primary Goals right now. 

1. Remove barriers to learning at ALL stages.
2. Improve access to support services within the public and third sector for our children & young people. 
3. Peer support for families whose children are educated outside the school system.
4. Help our children and young people learn how to self-advocate
5. Transition to adult life - obtaining qualifications, work experience and placements, negotiating the oft confusing world of adult support services, PIP etc. 
6. Legal stuff. There is no legal aid office in Wales for education issues. We really need lots of help in this area. 

We really need the help of ASC adults across a whole range of issues to help us help our children & young people get to a point where they can fulfil their true potential and lead happy, independent productive adult lives within their communities. Noone is better placed to advise & mentor both parents and young people with ASC.

Home Education Acronyms.  

EOTAS - LA funded home programmes are commonly referred to as EOTAS (Education other than at school) in official documentation.
EHE - Self-funded programmes are called
(elective home education).
ASC - Autistic Spectrum Conditions. We use this as an umbrella term covering a whole range of neurodiverse conditions in addition to/co-morbid with Autism. Examples might include social communication disorder, dyspraxia, adhd, sensory processing issues.

Join us

If you are a parent of a child with an ASC condition then we cordially invite you to join us on facebook here

If your organisation is interested in co-production with ourselves or our Young people then drop us a line to this address - 

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