June 2011



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Archive for June 30th, 2011

Half of all children with autism wait over a year for appropriate educational support, and over a quarter have waited more than two years, finds a new report by The National Autistic Society, published today.

The report launches our Great Expectations campaign on Special Education Needs (SEN), which aims to inform and influence the Government’s proposed overhaul of the SEN system.

Children should expect an education that sets them up for life, yet our research, with over 1,000 parents of children with autism and young people with autism themselves, found that far too many children with autism are not getting the education they need and deserve. Our research found:

  • *just half of parents (52%) feel their child is making good educational progress
  • *30% of parents feel that their child’s educational placement is not adequate
  • *43% of young people feel teachers don’t know enough about autism.


This whole experience has been utterly destructive for the family. An ongoing, uphill daily battle, trying to help a child who is becoming increasingly socially isolated.
Parent of a child with autism

Parents should expect an education system that works with, not against, them, but too many parents have to fight the system to make it work.

  • *7 out of 10 parents say it has not been easy to get the educational support their child needs.
  • *47% of parents say their child’s special educational needs were not picked up in a timely way.
  • *48% of parents say they have waited over a year to get the right support for their child, and 27% have waited more than two years.
  • *18% of parents have had to take legal action to get the right support for their children, and have been to tribunal an average of 3.5 times each.

Stop picking on meParents told us that while they waited and fought for the right support, their child’s educational progress (70%), mental health (60%), behaviour (68%) and self-esteem all suffered enormously.

It’s really hard to go to school. People don’t understand how hard it is. They judge me for doing things I can’t help.
Young person with autism

Mark Lever, NAS Chief Executive, says: “We have Great Expectations that the necessary changes to the education system can, and will, be made. It is completely unacceptable that so many parents are still fighting a daily battle for their fundamental right to get an education for their child.

“The Government rightly recognises that action is needed, and that they need to reform a system which continues to let many children with autism down.

“Our report sets out the practical, often simple, steps that the Government can take to create a system that works for everyone. The proposed ‘biggest SEN reform in 30 years’, will shape the future of a generation of children with autism. Let’s get it right.”

Our campaign will be launched in Parliament this evening at a reception expected to attract around 80 MPs, including the Disability Minister, Maria Miller and Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham.

We need your help

You can support our Great Expectations campaign by emailing your MP to ask them to raise these issues in parliament. To find out more about the campaign, and other ways you can get involved, visit our campaign homepage.

Our key recommendations

An education that sets children up for life and a system that works with, not against, parents.

Children with autism expect:

  • *to get the support they need quickly and easily, regardless of whether they have a statement or EHCP
  • *teachers who understand how to support them and who have easy access to autism specialists for help.

Parents of children with autism expect:

  • *to have robust, simple ways to challenge the system if their child doesn’t get the support they need
  • *local authorities to have a thorough understanding of the needs of children with autism in their area, and to plan provision accordingly
  • *to be equal partners in the system and genuinely involved in decisions about their child’s education and the planning of local services
  • *local information that empowers them to make the right decisions for their child.

Illustration - let's work togetherWe expect the Government to listen and to act.

Let’s work together. Let’s get it right.

To read the full report please visit www.autism.org.uk/greatexpectations



Devoted: Katie Price with her son Harvey, who recently turned nine, says she would never swap him

Mock me all you like but leave my disabled son alone: Katie Price’s heartfelt denunciation of Frankie Boyle’s vile slur and the TV bosses who defended it

By Katie Price

Last updated at 4:07 PM on 30th June 2011

My son, Harvey, turned nine last month, and we held a little party to celebrate.

The only guests were immediate family — too much activity causes Harvey stress and his behaviour can become disruptive — but he did have a big cake decorated with a picture of a frog.


Harvey loves cakes. He always enjoys blowing out the candles, and he adores frogs. They are his latest obsession. He draws them so carefully — the bulging eyes, the long back legs — and colours them in bright green.

At the moment, every scrap of paper in the house is covered in leaping frogs.


The cake and the frog obsession explain a lot about Harvey. Most mothers of nine-year-olds might boast that their child is learning French or the violin. I’m just pleased and proud that Harvey can draw, observe and see colours.


Soon after he was born, I was told he had a serious problem with his sight. Later, I learned that he was blind. Actually, he has some residual vision, and he is brilliant at using it.

He recognises colours and shapes. He has even learned to turn them into pictures.

He draws the same things obsessively, over and over again. First it was aeroplanes, then rainbows, now it’s frogs. That’s down to his autism. Like most children with the condition, he periodically gets fixated on one subject.

He is also compulsive about routines. Nothing must disturb Harvey’s ordered world, or there is hell to pay.


The cake is another matter. Harvey eats and eats, and if I did not stop him he would do so continually. He is prone to weight-gain, but he is not greedy.

He has a clinical condition — I’ll come to that later — which means he can’t control his appetite. The hormones that control his growth are also out of kilter. So he is bigger than most kids. But to the ignorant, Harvey is just a big, fat, blind kid — and he has been called that many times.

I’ve only skimmed the surface of the problems facing my much-loved eldest child, but by now you know enough about Harvey’s disabilities to understand the hurdles he leaps each day.


So you will understand the extent of my shock and anger when I learned that Frankie Boyle, the comedian — though he barely deserves the title — had singled my son out to be the butt of a vile ‘joke’.


To convey the full impact of what Boyle said on his Channel 4 ‘comedy’ show last December, I must, I’m afraid, repeat his offensive remarks in full.


To begin with, he said my ex-husband, Peter Andre, and I had been fighting over custody of Harvey. ‘Eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him,’ Boyle said.


That is the type of cruel offence we expect disabled people to accept. If you are disabled, you are a burden, and people want rid of you.


Then Boyle made a remark so offensive it has no place in civilised society.

Read in Full:


3:33 AM, Jun. 29, 2011
Written by Megan Williams

WAYNESBORO — David Murray knew the job search wasn’t going to be easy.

Besides the tough job market, the 20-year-old had another disadvantage: he has a learning disability.

Unemployment for Virginia job seekers with disabilities is twice that of the general population.

But Murray, with the help of the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, where he is currently a student, has a leg up.

He received a Career Readiness Certificate, a component of former Governor Mark Warner’s “Education for a Lifetime” initiative, which illustrates for employers the skills the holder has.

“It felt wonderful,” Murray said when he found out that his performance on the test qualified him for a silver certificate, meaning he has the skills to perform over 11,700 jobs, according to ACT Inc., which developed the test.”I feel that if there are two people who come for a job and I have a certificate and the other person doesn’t then I have a better chance of getting a job.”

Read in Full: