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.’
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