British autism campaigners call for full parliamentary debate on special educational needs|
LONDON, UK: British autism campaigners have called for a full and comprehensive debate on children and special educational needs in the House of Commons.
Ivan Corea, head of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK, has written to Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families, and the Shadow Children's Secretary, Michael Gove, urging them to debate the serious education issues concerned with special educational needs.
Ivan Corea said: "Parents, carers and children with special educational needs are going through a great deal of suffering. Some councils are witholding SEN statements, thereby denying the services children with SEN need.
"Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Children's Secretary Ed Balls have promised a world-class education for all - children with autism and Asperger's dyndrome are being denied a world-class education because of the lack of resources, lack of training for teachers and classroom assistants.
"We also need autism units in mainstream schools and specialist autism schools."
The autism campaigner recently met Dr Vincent Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons who pledged to do more for autism and Asperger's syndrome.
Support for the call for a full debate on children and special educational needs has come from Dame Stephanie Shirley, chair of the Shirley Foundation and Autism Speaks UK, the Chair and Chief Executive of The Disabilities Trust and other organisations and parents groups across the United Kingdom.
Parents have also expressed concern that special schools have been closed at an alarming rate. Others have voiced their support for special schools to be transformed into SEN/Autism Academies under the Government's Academy Programme.
Lee Scott MP, who has been championing the cause of autism in the House of Commons, is proposing to introduce an Autism Bill in Parliament calling for ring-fenced funding for autism services.
(Source: 24dash.com, October 26, 2007)