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Autistic spectrum disorders

* PEOPLE with autistic spectrum disorders are on average 20 times more likely to be excluded from school than their peers, according to a report published in May. The National Autistic Society (NAS) is calling for urgent action. Teachers have to send home children with autism or Asperger syndrome simply because they lack the necessary expertise, time and specialist support. Children with these conditons find it hard to cope with sudden changes in curriculum or clasroom organisation and may display problem behaviour if no one knows how to deal with them. According to Mike Collins, NAS education adviser, "Parents are telling us that everyone involved in the day-to-day running of schools needs specific training to recognise and support their children." The report Inclusion and Autism: Is It Working? is available from The National Autistic Society, 393 City Road, London EC1V 1NG. Website: www.oneworld.orgautism_uk

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