Campaigners call on British government to stop bullying of autistic children|
LONDON, UK: Autism campaigners in Britain are calling on the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to act on the bullying of autistic children in primary and secondary schools.
According to parents, autistic children not only suffer bullying but have been excluded through "internal exclusions" and "indirect exclusions," with the onus on the autistic child rather than the bully. There have been instances of name-calling of autistic students in mainstream secondary schools.
The House of Commons Select Committee on Education has just released a major report on bullying in schools highlighting the issue of bullying and children with autism and Asperger's Syndrome. MPs are concerned about the issue and have called for a national inquiry into bullying.
Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said that autism was a serious issue during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in Westminster, London on March 21.
The Autism Awareness Campaign UK asked the parliamentarian, Lee Scott, to raise the issue of bullying in his landmark debate on autism held in Westminster Hall on March 7. Ivan Corea, chairman of the Autism Awareness Campaign, said: "Bullying of autistic children is going on in primary and secondary schools. This must stop. Some schools are punishing the autistic child, rather than the bully. We are asking the Secretary of State [for Education], Alan Johnson, to keep specific data of incidents of bullying and exclusion of autistic children and set up a mechanism where parents and carers of children with autism can register incidents of bullying, because some autistic children with communication disorders may not even be able to tell their teachers about the bullies. We need real action on this and Lee Scott MP has already highlighted the seriousness of this issue in his debate on autism in Parliament."
(Source: Medical News Today, March 30, 2007)