CAPAAS and TreeHouse
I have placed information about our relationship with TreeHouse and the role in which they have had with CAPAAS. It has been a true collaboration in helping us raise autism awareness.
Around the time I started the support group CAPAAS I answered an expression of interest at the Parentv Support Project which was being undertaken by the team from TreeHouse, and was to last three years. This I feel has been one of my better decisions to date.
We were the newest formed group when the project started, established in May 2006 by myself and a small but dedicated group of parents and carers of children with autism. By the middle of the second year we had grown quite rapidly and had a network of over 400 families and partner agencies who are keen to work with our active and committed support group.
The group has undertaken a transition project, working with four local primary schools to highlight good practice in the schools and create a cluster of excellence. The strategies and techniques which work with individual children with autism will be shared as they progress from primary to secondary school. The lead parent has also worked with the project team to develop the new Parent Support Project web forum. we are presently interested in looking at exclusions and raising awareness of autism in schools.
Latest news 'National scandal' of postcode lottery for autistic children
Parents of children with autism face a postcode lottery which amounts to a "national scandal", author Nick Hornby said today.
The author of About a Boy said he faced a "total lack of information and advice" when his son Danny was first diagnosed with autism, and little had changed.
One in 10 parents of children with autism have moved house to access better services and many others are left feeling isolated, confused and judged, a survey by autism education charity TreeHouse found.
Mr Hornby, whose son attends a TreeHouse school in north London, said: "When my son was diagnosed with autism there was a total lack of information and advice on what we should do next.
"It seems that little has changed - and that is a national scandal."
The average age of diagnosis varies from under three years to as old as seven years depending on the local authority, information released under a Freedom of Information request by the charity found.
TreeHouse said this could make a "dramatic difference to a child releasing their potential".
The figures, which were compiled from replies from 37 local authorities in February, also showed nearly a quarter (24%) of local authorities did not know how many children with autism were in their area and more than half (54%) said they did not know how much money they spent on children's autism services.
It also showed 81% did not have a dedicated employee looking after services for children with autism and 70% could not give specific details on what autism-related training they provided for teachers in state schools.
A separate survey by the charity also found that while one in 10 parents had moved house to access better services, a further 30% of parents said they would consider doing so.
A total of 90% of parents said they felt "isolated" by their situation, 85% felt "judged" and 78% said they did not receive enough support.
Ian Wylie, chief executive of TreeHouse, said: "These findings reveal a shocking lack of consistency in how local authorities support children with autism and their families, most clearly borne out in the dramatically different ages at which a diagnosis is made.
"There is also an inexplicable lack of knowledge about even the most basic facts on the size and scale of the issue in many areas.
"Given how much of a postcode lottery there is across the UK, it's not surprising that the parents we've spoken to feel so isolated and confused."
TreeHouse, which launched a new website - www.talkaboutautism.org.uk - today to mark UN World Autism Awareness Day, said autism now affected one in 100 children in the UK.
:: TreeHouse made the Freedom of Information request to local authorities around the UK in February 2009 and received responses from 37 local authorities. The charity also surveyed 102 parents of children with autism from its database.