Recommended Resources

Thursday, 28 May 2009

UK Schools Should Take Note of the Following Before Blanket Banning Technology

iPhone applications can help the autistic

Leslie Clark and her husband have been trying to communicate with their autistic 7-year-old son, JW, for years, but until last month, the closest they got was rudimentary sign language.
He's "a little bit of a mini-genius," Clark says, but like many autistic children, JW doesn't speak at all.
Desperate to communicate with him, she considered buying a specialized device like the ones at his elementary school in Lincoln, Neb. But the text-to-speech machines are huge, heavy and expensive; a few go for $8,000 to $10,000.
Then a teacher told her about a new application that a researcher had developed for, of all things, the iPhone and iPod Touch. Clark drove to the local Best Buy and picked up a Touch, then downloaded the "app" from iTunes: Total cost: about $500.
A month later, JW goes everywhere with the slick touch-screen mp3 player strapped to his arm. It lets him touch icons that voice basic comments or questions, such as, "I want Grandma's cookies" or "I'm angry — here's why." He uses his "talker" to communicate with everyone — including his service dog, Roscoe, who listens to voice commands through the tiny speakers.
It's a largely untold story of Apple's popular audio devices.
It is not known how many specialized apps are out there, but Apple touts a handful on iTunes, among them ones that help users do American Sign Language and others like Proloquo2Go, which helps JW speak.
The app also aids children and adults with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS — even stroke patients who have lost the ability to speak, says its co-developer, Penn State doctoral student Samuel Sennott.
Using the iPhone and Touch allows developers to democratize a system that has relied on devices that were too expensive or difficult to customize, Sennott says. "I love people being able to get it at Best Buy," he says. "That's just a dream."
He also says that for an autistic child, the ability to whip out an iPhone and talk to friends brings "this very hard-to-quantify cool factor."
Sennott won't give out sales figures for the $149.99 app but says they're "extremely brisk."
Ronald Leaf, director of Autism Partnership, a private California-based agency, says he prefers to help autistic children such as JW learn how to navigate their world without gadgets. "If we could get children to talk without using technology, that would be our preference," he says.
Clark says the app has changed her son's life.
"He's actually communicating," she says. "It's nice to see what's going on in his head." Among the revelations of the past month: She now knows JW's favorite restaurant. "I get to spend at least every other day at the Chinese buffet."
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Eight Countries Unite to Raise Awareness and to Send a Message of Hope

National Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated in the United States every May 25th since 1983. In recognition of the fact that the issue of missing children is complex, multifaceted, and global, in recent years other countries have begun observing May 25th as a national day for missing children as well. This has led to what has come to be known as International Missing Children’s Day, a special day set aside to encourage the public to think about and remember all the children who have gone missing around the world.

This year, for the first time ever, eight countries from four continents are joining with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) to mark International Missing Children’s Day by raising awareness of the issue of missing children and spreading a message of hope and solidarity to parents, family members, and loved ones of missing children. These eight countries – Australia, Brazil, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa, and the United Kingdom – are all members of ICMEC’s Global Missing Children’s Network, a resource comprised of a central, Internet-based multilingual database featuring information about and photographs of missing children from around the world.

Each of the eight participating countries is commemorating International Missing Children’s Day with national events, including showing a jointly-developed public service announcement and profiling cases of missing children from around the world on balloons in the hopes the children will be recognized and brought home. A similar balloon launch in South Africa in 2007 resulted in the recovery of a missing child.

“It is wonderful to see different countries coming together with ICMEC to build a global movement to help protect those who are the most vulnerable,” stated Nancy Dube, ICMEC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Today is a reaffirmation of the commitment each of these countries has made to keeping children safer and to reuniting missing children with their loved ones. Together, we will find them.”

Participating countries will be displaying and / or releasing balloons displaying missing children photo and details on May 25th in their respective country. An awareness video was produced with the assistance of Australian Federal Police. To view the video please visit our YouTube Channel “Don’t You Forget About Me”.

Caroline Humer

Program Manager


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Please Help Gary McKinnon

Time is running out...

Dear Supporter,

My name is Janis and I am Gary McKinnon's mum. My son has Asperger syndrome and is facing extradition to the United States for hacking into American military computers, where he could be placed in a maximum-security prison for up to 70 years.

Gary's late diagnosis of Asperger syndrome explains much of his unusual behaviour and the irrational fears he has had since he was a child. My son's actions were intended as a voyage of discovery and he had no idea of the possible consequences of this, as no one has ever been extradited for computer misuse. If imprisoned in the United States, I know I would rarely see Gary, if at all, and the strain for him of being away from his family and familiar surroundings would be devastating. As I am in my sixties, it is doubtful if I would live to see my son free. Gary has always been terrified of travelling and as an adult never goes on holiday and has never left the UK. This may be part of the reason that he travelled in cyberspace.

Time is running out so I am urgently appealing to you to please take action with the NAS now by emailing your MP asking them to support my son. I'm not asking for special treatment for Gary, but simply that he has the right to be tried in his own country and - if convicted - be given a sentence proportionate to the crime. Gary needs to be where he can get the support he so desperately needs.

Many thanks and best wishes

Janis Sharp
Gary McKinnon's mum

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Challenging Behaviour

Behaviour: teachers can see the signs of violence

Murder in mind
Features | Published in TES Magazine on 15 May, 2009 | By: Nick Morrison


Teachers are particularly well placed to spot children at risk of becoming violent offenders. But what are the warning signs, and what can be done to halt the decline into criminality?

After his son’s murderer had been convicted, Barry Mizen said he had been struck by a remark made by the killer’s primary school teacher. The teacher, Mr Mizen told a press conference, said he was “not surprised” to hear that Jake Fahri had committed murder.

Tom Crispin feels he has been misquoted. As Fahri’s only male primary teacher, he says the comment must have come from him, although he has no recollection of making it. But he does remember talking about the boy he taught at a south London primary school more than a decade ago.

“I remember Jake Fahri well,” says Mr Crispin. “When people have asked me about him I have recounted the comment of a colleague in the staffroom all those years ago: ‘If you held him under water for 10 minutes, he would still come up smiling’. Such was the arrogance of the boy that no matter what sanction was imposed against him, it would have little or no effect.”

Arrogance, imperviousness to punishment, lack of remorse, all fit the classic description of a sociopath, an individual with little or no social emotions, or conscience. Such an absence can make sociopaths prone to antisocial behaviour, including violence and crime. Even at an early age, many of the signs are visible, so can teachers spot children who may go on to commit violent crime? And if so, can they do anything to stop their pupils turning into criminals?

Barry Mizen certainly feels his son’s killer could have been stopped. Fahri was convicted in March for the murder of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, killed during a fight in a bakery when Fahri threw a glass dish at him, which shattered and pierced his neck. For Fahri, the only exceptional aspect of the altercation was the consequences. His life up to then had been punctuated with violence. Any absence of surprise at his fate seems entirely understandable.

After John Ball Primary School in Blackheath, London, Fahri went to Crown Woods School in Eltham, where he is said to have bullied other pupils and attacked them in front of teachers. He was suspended, but by the time he was 16 he had three convictions for violence, although he escaped jail each time. “He could have been identified a long time ago,” Mr Mizen told the press conference.

Professor Sheilagh Hodgins, head of the forensic mental health science department at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, believes teachers are in a particularly good position to identify future offenders. “There is a very small number of individuals who commit between 50 and 70 per cent of all violent crimes, who show an early-onset pattern,” she says. “Teachers are well placed to spot them because they are good observers and they have this large reference group.”

But this doesn’t mean all children with similar behaviour problems become serial offenders. Professor Hodgins says research in this area has pinpointed some temperamental and neurological differences between those who go on to commit violent crimes and those who do not. These only become apparent through extensive testing and also only show likelihood rather than cause and effect. “You can’t pick out a three-year-old and say this is a future persistent offender,” she adds.

It will come as no surprise that the characteristics in question include an inability to follow rules, aggressive behaviour, bullying, disrupting lessons, inability to defer gratification and an extreme reaction when they don’t get what they want. The signs are often visible by reception age, says Professor Hodgins.

She argues there should be a more comprehensive use of tools to help teachers spot children at risk, and cites scoring systems used in some European countries, where children are marked on a range of factors including physical health and behaviour, as one option. “We need to get teachers to identify children with conduct problems as early as possible, and then carry out a more complete assessment of the child and their family,” she says.

Signs of possible future offending are likely to be routinely picked up by teachers, says Kairen Cullen, an educational psychologist based in London. It will usually be apparent when a child’s behaviour is impeding their development. A propensity to break rules is particularly apparent. “Schools are very rule-bound places so they’re an ideal barometer of how well children follow rules,” she says.

But while certain types of behaviour can indicate a propensity for future violence, particularly where there is a family background of criminality, mental health problems or drug use, there is a danger in assuming this will add up to an offender in the making. Classifying a young person as a potential criminal could end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they live up to other people’s low expectations of them.

“It is a challenge for schools not to use this as evidence against a child,” Ms Cullen says. “Obviously they’re more vulnerable, often because some of the adult norms are not available, but there are so many other factors. It is a nonsense to make long-term predictions - it is too complex a situation and there are too many variables.”

She says how a child develops depends on their character traits and environment, and the interaction between the two. “We can’t predict how many opportunities and temptations might be waiting for each individual.”

While many children who become violent criminals fit this stereotype, others do not. Robert Thompson and Jon Venables both had troubled home lives and chequered school careers, but were not considered potentially violent by their teachers, although Venables once tried to choke another boy with a ruler. Thompson was a regular truant, but when he did attend school he was viewed as manipulative rather than a troublemaker. Venables was referred to an educational psychologist after he banged his head against a wall, cut himself with scissors and tore at his own clothing. There was little in their background to suggest the 10-year-olds were capable of serious violence against others, until they abducted and murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993.

There will always be exceptions, but many teachers do feel it is possible to spot future criminals nonetheless. “Absolutely you can tell, sometimes from the minute they come into secondary school in Year 7,” says Jo Shuter, headteacher at Quintin Kynaston School in north London.

O ne of the first signs is lack of academic progress, suggesting family or health issues are creating a barrier to learning, as well as disruptive behaviour. “Children aren’t badly behaved for the sake of it,” says Ms Shuter, a former Teaching Awards headteacher of the year. “For most young people, disaffection is a sign of some underlying problem.”

She cites two former pupils who have recently been jailed for violent offences, one for armed robbery, the other for assault. Teachers identified both girls as potentially at risk of committing offences, but both were regular truants, and not in school often enough for any interventions to make much difference. “We knew they might be in trouble with the police. We tried everything, but we couldn’t hang on to them. It is not surprising that both ended up in prison at one time or another.”

James Williams, a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex, recalls a pupil from his days as a science teacher at a north London secondary, whose schooldays were studded by attacks on staff. “It came as no surprise when he was constantly in trouble with police,” he says. “It was not difficult to spot.”

He says some children have certain traits, such as maintaining a lie in the face of overwhelming evidence, challenging authority, and aggressive behaviour, that, while not always translating into criminal behaviour, make it less unexpected.

But if experts believe it is so easy to identify many of the children who will go on to commit violent crime, why can’t teachers do more to intervene? Professor Hodgins says there already exist interventions that have a high success rate; the key is early identification.

Programmes with a proven success rate include mentoring schemes, peer support, group work and one-to-one counselling. A range of schemes address a child’s life outside school, such as parenting classes. “They don’t cure every child, but they have a very positive effect,” she says. “Everything suggests that the earlier you intervene the greater the success.”

Getting children on to these programmes is not always easy, however. “The biggest problem is sometimes not so much dealing with the children, as dealing with the parents,” says Mr Williams.

He says parents can often be obstructive. They may not want to admit that there is anything wrong; they may see such schemes as casting doubt on their ability as a parent; they may have a deep-seated suspicion of social services; they may themselves have had a bad experience at school and are reluctant to co-operate.

Sometimes parents don’t know there is a problem. Robin Wilson, head of a school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, is working with a Year 8 pupil whose mother is unaware of what her son gets up to in the evenings.

“Without some significant intervention he will go down the criminal route and he is likely to be quite violent. Mum thinks there’s never a problem, but there’s never a problem because he is never at home. We’re working with the young man as best we can but we’re struggling because he will just abscond.”

Mr Wilson says lack of co-operation on the part of the parent or the young person is the biggest obstacle to a successful intervention. “There are agencies that can work effectively, but by and large it has got to be done with consent,” he says.

“The services are there, the schools are there and where there is consent there is an opportunity for it to work successfully.” Lack of consent can also be an issue when drugs are involved. If the young person doesn’t want to stop taking drugs, teachers can do little to change their minds.

Mr Wilson has seen the consequences when pupils at his school, Woodlands in Shropshire, fail to take advantage of the support available. A former pupil was recently jailed for pushing a glass into someone’s face, his second conviction for violence. The boy’s school career had given every indication that he would spend time in prison. “He used anger and threats to avoid the consequences of his actions, he was not communicating with his family and he had low self-esteem, which manifested itself as violent conduct,” Mr Wilson says.

A combination of attitudes and social circumstances can be a pretty good predictor of future behaviour, he adds. Predispositions are important, but the influence of the young person’s environment, particularly their home life, but also their involvement with other young people, is crucial. “You can often see when a young person’s prospects can be pretty grim unless there is a significant intervention. You can see them committing crimes, some of which could be quite serious,” he adds.

Where interventions do take place, however, they can prove effective, even if they have to be repeated. The behaviour of one pupil at Woodlands, who has ADHD and is on the autistic spectrum, markedly improved after he went on an anger management course and become involved with youth workers. His parents also went on a parenting programme. Recently his behaviour has started to deteriorate. “It is a case of doing it all again,” says Mr Wilson.

The most important factor in determining whether a particular intervention works is the relationship between the young person and the adult working with them, according to Andy Winton, president of the National Association of Social Workers in Education. “If you have a good relationship with the young person, you will be able to challenge them in a way that makes them think,” he says. “They will only listen to you when they feel they want to listen.”

He says that where children identified as at risk go on to commit serious crimes, it is often because they have not been reached early enough, or the chosen programme did not meet their needs. “It can be difficult to find the right intervention for the child, but where they are delivered well they are very effective.”

We may know what works, but that doesn’t stop new initiatives being put forward, he says. Inevitably, it is the new initiatives that tend to attract the most resources. “We have initiative overload and sometimes you end up saying, ‘This month I can offer this approach’. We already have a lot of brilliant stuff and we need to stop coming up with bright ideas,” Mr Winton adds.

But getting hold of these services is not always straightforward. Mike Welsh, head of Goddard Park Primary in Swindon, says schools often struggle to get specialist support for children, particularly in areas of mental health. “We identify children who might go on to be either victims or aggressors, but we don’t necessarily get appropriate help,” he says.

He suggests that, perversely, there are often more options for children with lower-level difficulties than for those with more serious problems. “We only touch the surface for children who have mental health issues,” he says. “We don’t get specific, targeted support for children at the sharp end.”

Children who do not fit neatly into a particular category can also find it harder to get help, adds Mr Welsh, a member of the national council of the National Association of Head Teachers. “Sometimes a child has clear needs, but if there isn’t a label for them they go into mainstream without adequate support and you are concerned about what will happen to them and to other children.”

Resources are also a key issue for Ms Shuter at Quintin Kynaston. She says schools can only deal with the tip of the iceberg when it comes to children who need help. “If we made the resources available at an early age we could significantly reduce the amount we spend on the prison system,” she says.

Schools are being increasingly expected to bring up children, she says, but scarce resources are forcing them to prioritise. “Often we’re replacing or compensating for parenting, and if we had more resources we could get to more of these young people.”

More resources, more awareness, fewer initiatives getting in the way. It may not be possible to reach every child; not every child may be willing to be reached, but you don’t have to look far to see what happens when we fail to spot the signs.

Astoundingly Outdated Practice

Online social networking sites may well be a lifeline to communication and socialisation for many learners, yet they are banned them from using them in many schools and even some colleges. When are those who judge what is safe/unsafe going to realise that cencorship in this area is damaging to learners? See following article:

People First Can Provide Training for All Educators (including Ofsted) Working with Deaf Learners

Ofsted told it fails deaf children
Published in The TES on 15 May, 2009 | By: Richard Vaughan


Charities angered by news that just four inspectors are trained in hearing impairment

Deaf charities have severely criticised Ofsted after learning that only four of its inspectors have the required training to judge whether a school is providing the best care for hearing-impaired pupils.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People and the National Deaf Children's Society said the watchdog is not doing enough to improve provision for children with hearing difficulties. They also criticised the inspectorate for giving a an overly positive impression of the standard of special needs provision in schools.

Brian Lamb, the institute's executive director on policy who is conducting a review of special needs in schools for the Government to be published in September, said there were "long-standing concerns" about the role of Ofsted inspectors and the provision for deaf children.

"There is a list of worries when it comes to inspectors who would not be in a good position to give an informed view of specialist provision for deaf children," he said. "There have been instances where they have said provision is good, but this does not match up with the parents' view, which is a major worry."

Mr Lamb said Ofsted had become more aware of the issue, but it needed to employ more inspectors with the appropriate training.

Brian Gale, director of policy and campaigns at the NDCS, said his society had examples that showed Ofsted was not conducting inspections with "rigour and awareness". He echoed Mr Lamb's concerns that the watchdog was giving the wrong impression.

"Four inspectors is a very low number," he said. "We want to know that when an inspection is being carried out, does the inspector have the knowledge and experience to know what best practice is? We have evidence of an inspector giving a school a 'good' rating for its deaf provision only for the headteacher having to intervene because she felt it did not provide an accurate picture to prospective parents."

The institute cited a 2008 Ofsted report on a London primary which stated that children in the school's unit for deaf pupils "progress well" because they are supported by "highly experienced staff". But an independent investigation showed the unit did not have anyone in charge qualified to deal with deaf pupils, or who was even a teacher.

According to the institute, the inadequacy of the unit was known to the local authority and came to light in a subsequent tribunal.

The society said the skewed picture of SEN provision added to the gap in attainment between deaf children and those without special needs. It also said deaf children are 42 per cent less likely to achieve the Government's benchmark of five high grades at GCSE.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: "Whenever Ofsted schedules an inspection, it arranges with the inspection contractor to ensure that the team of additional inspectors has the specialism appropriate for the school concerned, drawing from a pool of nearly 2,000 available inspectors. These include inspectors skilled in a variety of special educational needs, including working with the deaf. There are 200 HMIs employed directly by Ofsted, of whom four are particularly skilled in issues relating to the education of deaf children."

How they fare

- Three babies are born deaf every day: 90 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little experience of deafness.

- Of 35,000 deaf children in the UK, 80 per cent attend mainstream schools.

- There are 22 special schools for deaf children in England - NDCS

12 per cent of deaf children attend special schools (more than 4,200 pupils in total). School Census 2007.

- In 2007, deaf children in England were 42 per cent less likely to achieve five high-grade GCSEs than their hearing contemporaries. Only 33 per cent of deaf children achieved this benchmark compared with 57 per cent of 16-year-olds nationally. - DCSF.

On the Other Hand, People First Education SEN training events are established, flexible, informed, regular and relevant.

The following article appeared in the TES on Friday:

Is standard training for Sencos stumbling on the starting block?

Courses for SEN specialists begin in September, but there are already signs of trouble. Kerra Maddern reports

It has been more than 30 years since pupils with special needs began to be widely accepted in mainstream classrooms, yet the role of Sencos has long been hard to pin down.

In recent years, there have been signs that this is set to change, with proposals for new qualifications to formalise precisely what Sencos should know and do.

But the courses, which are due to get under way this September and will be compulsory for all new Sencos, are far from settled and are even troubled.

The courses have been set up to address serious concerns about the perceived "low status" of Sencos and to raise the profile of special needs and disabilities in schools.

Many issues are still to be resolved, including who will run them - for example, course and contact details will not be distributed until June, a very late stage in the school year. This tight timescale means Sencos in some areas will not be able to begin the course until January, or even September 2010.

And it will be available free only to newly appointed Sencos. Those experienced in the job who want to study will have to pay the fees themselves, and there is only enough funding to provide 10 days' cover for participants. The economic downturn and its effect on public finances mean it is unlikely that the money will be found to make the course free for more teachers.

The role of Sencos was only formally established in 1994. While the idea of standardised training was first mooted by a Commons education and skills select committee in 2006, draft proposals for the new course were completed only last summer. Even the Training and Development Agency for Schools, which is developing the course, says there are concerns about the speed of its introduction.

Phil Snell, responsible for the agency's SEN and disabilities programmes, said: "We know there are significant issues in respect of timing. Ministers were keen for it to start this September, but there are concerns about this providing enough time for schools. We also know there are concerns about the training being restricted to those new in the role."

Speaking at a Senco conference, Mr Snell said he hoped the extra training would help Sencos to lead others rather than taking on extra tasks themselves.

The course will be held online and is meant to take a year part-time. Modules will earn students credits that can be used in masters courses.

"What's important is there is maximum flexibility of access and that accreditation doesn't take teachers away from the classroom, and some schools have applied to be training providers," Mr Snell said.

"But rigorous quality assurance must be met because we want consistency."

Training providers will face regular inspections by both the TDA and Ofsted.

Mr Snell wants the new generation of Sencos to challenge other staff who do not recognise their responsibilities towards children with special needs, and to monitor pupils' progress more closely.

The Government will agree funding arrangements this autumn and the deadline for bids from prospective training providers was last week.

The select committee's July 2006 report also recommended that all Sencos should be qualified teachers, in a senior management position and appropriately trained. If the Senco is not a headteacher, assistant or deputy head, another member of the senior management team should be made a "champion" of SEN and disability issues.

Until the Education and Inspections Act 2006, there was no legal requirement for schools to have a Senco, nor for the co-ordinators to be trained teachers.

The first Senco training run by universities began in 1997-98 when six were given permission by the then Teacher Training Agency to run the courses.

It has proven popular, but many Sencos have been unable to train because of the cost and time involved. Sir Alan Steer, the Government's behaviour "tsar" has recommended better SEN training for teachers.

Pearl Barnes, vice-president of NASEN, the national special needs organisation, said she hoped the training would help to improve the variable provision for SEN pupils across the country.

"You have a lot of good schools and local authorities and some who aren't so good, and we hope this will universally improve the quality of teaching for children with special educational needs," she said.

"According to a study by Leeds University, 50 per cent of Sencos are due to retire soon, so although this training is only mandatory for those new to the post, in the long term it will make a big difference.

"We can't understand why the introduction of this training has taken so long. It was recommended when the code of practice for SEN was revised in 2001, and nothing had been done in 2004."

Lecturers at Northampton University, which runs Senco modules as part of its MA in education, will bid to run the new nationally accredited training.

Barry Groom, who teaches the courses, said he hoped they would serve to "underpin" the importance of Sencos' role in schools.

"We hope it will bring their work into sharper focus, especially now when 20 per cent of pupils have SEN and the skills and knowledge required by teachers becomes ever more specialist," he said.

Mr Groom, a former special school head and SEN adviser, runs the classes at the university and in the surrounding areas of Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire to make it easier for teachers to attend.

"The feedback from teachers is that it helps their confidence and I think the fact that legislation will give a boost to these kind of courses is fantastic," he said.

"Many people come on the courses because they hope to become Sencos in the future. It's a really tough job, but at the moment Sencos are usually only allowed on courses when it fits in with the school's development. They often can't spare the time out of the classroom either."

Mr Groom says he is likely to adjust his existing course so it meets the TDA criteria.

Most people recognise, however, that the problems of Sencos are broader than of training. For example, a recent survey by NASEN showed that most Sencos devote up to 12 hours a week to their role, while 60 per cent said they had a much lower budget for their work than they needed.

It is far from clear whether the new qualification will be able to resolve these problems. In fact, it may just make them worse.

Autism Bill Update

The following is an email sent by the National Autistic Society to People First Education on Friday:

Autism Bill a giant step closer

Dear Supporter,

Yesterday in Parliament the Government pledged its full support for the Autism Bill, which was unanimously voted through the committee stage.

The text of the Bill has changed, to become adult-focused and include the adult autism strategy. This would add legal force to the strategy, and legal obligations for councils and health agencies. It is now all the more important that the adult strategy itself is fit for purpose, so if you haven't already done so please take part in the consultation process for the strategy.

The commitments we have secured from the Government on information and planning for children remain, and are a great achievement, but will be pursued outside the scope of the Bill. I will be in touch to let you know how this progresses.

Thank you for your help in getting the Autism Bill to this stage. We now have a very good chance of making legal history for people with autism!

With best wishes,

Matthew Downie
Campaigns Manager
The National Autistic Society