Children with special education needs, such as those with autism spectrum disorder, have found it difficult to get the support they needed during the pandemic. Almost a fifth of pupils with special education needs are absent from school, according to government figures.
In a survey by the mental health charity YoungMinds, which included 2111 participants up to age 25 years with a mental illness history in the UK, 83% said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. 26% said they were unable to access mental health support; peer support groups and face-to-face services have been cancelled, and support by phone or online can be challenging for some young people.
Responding to a return to school report at Norfolk County Council’s Overview and Scrutiny meeting, Liberal Democrat Brian Watkins said that “Children with special educational needs have been left behind during the pandemic and just been forgotten. Missing social contacts and altered routines, disturbed sleep and eating habits can be particularly intense for these children.”
Brian added “It is leaving their parents feeling isolated, stressed and overwhelmed at a time when they and their kids need more support than ever to deal with the challenges created by the pandemic.”
Brian said “Norfolk County Council needs to provide more support than it is currently doing and Norfolk Liberal Democrats are calling for the council to commit to a recovery plan for children and young people’s mental health. We do not want to see these families abandoned.”
- Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/
- Report to Norfolk County Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee 21 October item 8 - COVID 19 –Return to School Report https://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/Committees/tabid/62/ctl/ViewCMIS_CommitteeDetails/mid/381/id/168/Default.aspx