Disabled children often do not have access to the services they need, despite the increase in funding for special educational needs, government research has found.
Many parents are unable to afford the additional services they want for disabled children and often parents and teachers do not understand how to access alternative sources of funding. Many services also have long waiting lists.
There is a shortage of special needs experts and therapeutic care. This is particularly true for autistic children, despite the fact that in recent years autism has been one of the fastest growing disorders. The number of children with special needs has been increasing at a rate of 2.5 per cent a year since 2003 and those with autistic spectrum disorders at about 22 per cent a year.