Daniel and Gemma Cullen, from Wattstown, Rhondda, believe Caoimhe may have autism and is asking for more help while they await a formal diagnosis. They say she was excluded more than 10 times in just over a year at Tylorstown Primary in Rhonnda Cynon Taf between April 2017 and July 2018. The Metro reports.
Gemma said: ‘She was suspended around times of school trips or extra curricular activities and during the National Tests. She has had two five-day suspensions for kicking someone and has had three day suspensions and half day suspensions here and there.”
Gemma says Caoimhe has never been allowed to take part in a school play and has been kept indoors at play-time, and is calling for better understanding of autism in teachers and schools.
Daniel, 32, and Gemma, 29, say she has not yet had a statement of special educational needs, although they believe she has autism.
‘We pushed and pushed for an educational psychologist evaluation which concluded that Caoimhe has a lot of autistic traits and is seriously sensory overwhelmed in school where she can’t cope and recommended four day placement in a different, calmer setting,’ her mum said.
‘We have contacted the GP and health visitor for referral to the neurodevelopment team [at hospital in Merthyr] and are still on the waiting list for an appointment. I would like some sort of help.’
Meleri Thomas, from National Autistic Society Cymru, said: ‘Around 1 in 100 children are on the autism spectrum. Every autistic child is different but many become overwhelmed in school – by the bright lights, loud noises or other children’s unpredictable behaviour.
‘In a recent court case, a judge ruled that schools must not exclude autistic children for behaviour that is related to their autism before having made reasonable adjustments to help them cope better at school.’
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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