Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore has used a debate in Parliament to raise his concerns about the lack of early diagnosis for Special Education Needs, such as autism and ADHD.
Special Education Needs can have a crippling effect on a child’s early years, but this is especially bad if the condition is undiagnosed. For example, whilst an adult with autism would have legal rights in a workplace which recognise this condition, a child with autism, if undiagnosed, would not get the required support during important events such as exams.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Moore outlined some of the issues faced by his constituents who had tried to go through the diagnosis procedure for special educational needs. In one case a constituent was told to not bother trying, as it would be over four years until their child could receive a diagnosis. He called for an end to the “bureaucracy and red tape” which exists in the diagnosis system, and for emphasis to be put not only on funding and providing targeted support, but also providing businesses and schools with the support they need to help people with special educational needs in both the work and education environment.
Moore also used the debate to give praise to local groups who are helping those who have a Special Educational Needs. This included the Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource (AWARE), who provides support to families with children and young adults on the autistic spectrum, with no formal diagnosis required. Moore also referenced the Nebula Girls Group, a Keighley-based organisation that helps young girls in Keighley who suffer with special educational needs. Particular thanks was given to Lesley Brook (Nebula), Margaret Nash, and Helen Millar (both AWARE), who head-up these groups respectively.
Robbie Moore MP said: “Special educational needs, particularly those affecting children, are very complex. Their conditions can often be misdiagnosed or not even identified at an early stage. The signs of autism, for example, can be put down to a child experiencing a dislike for something such as going to school. Of course, the recent challenges of the pandemic have not made things easier.
There are some fantastic efforts being made at a local level to help those struggling with this, including AWARE and the Nebula Girls Group, but we cannot rely on voluntary groups to sort this issue out. It is absolutely vital that we put far more attention on early diagnosis of special educational needs. No child should have to be held back by these conditions, be it in education or during the transition to the workplace, but this will only be possible if we fully give this issue the attention it deserves.”