Our Team Backs the Critical Call to Action for Children Awaiting Autism Assessments

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New analysis reveals autism assessment and support crisis with tens of thousands of children waiting months and years for help after demand rockets by over 300% since COVID-19.


Bradford Birth to 19 has been pleased to support the first report in a year-long series on how to deliver a country that works for all children. As part of the Child of the North initiative, in partnership with Anne Longfield’s new Centre for Young Lives think tank, the report sets out a new plan to support autistic children. Our Director, Christian Bunting, acted as a contributing expert to the Report. 


The Report reveals more than one in four parents have waited over three years to receive support for their autistic child.

  • Just one in ten children receive an appointment within the recommended 13 week waiting period.
  • Report calls for more assessments to take place in nurseries and schools and more support for autistic children before diagnosis, and for new formal local partnerships between schools, health, voluntary services, and universities.



Bradford Birth to 19 urges action to be taken to support the three key recommendations to Government which have the potential the decrease the long-term costs associated with not acting early:


  1. Building effective partnerships between education and health professionals for assessing and supporting autistic children. This should include delivering assessments in education settings and making aholistic offer of support in schools and nurseries before and after a formal diagnosis is made.
  2. Providing and extending access to mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for health, education, and social care professionals that improve understanding and awareness of autism (and related issues). These courses should include information on how to create “neurodiverse friendly” environments, and particularly raise awareness of autism in girls and ethnic minority groups. Additional training should be co-produced by individuals with lived experience and delivered to professionals and integrated into undergraduate health and education professional training to improve the identification of autistic girls.
  3. Creating formal partnerships at a local authority level comprising sector leaders (including schools, health, voluntary services, faith, universities, educational psychologists, and businesses) to oversee a prioritised governmental ward-level approach to addressing the autism crisis. The partnership should focus on its most disadvantaged wards and provide leadership in trialing data-driven, community and family co-produced, “whole system” approaches to improve autism support with and through education settings.


Flip to read the full report



About Bradford Birth to 19
Bradford Birth to 19 is the training, research and development arm of leading education provider St. Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre. For over a decade, we have worked in partnership to improve outcomes and increase social mobility for children through school & setting improvement, training and qualifications, guidance, and cutting-edge educational initiatives, working with over 500 schools and settings, training over 2,500 educators, partnering with over 20 local authorities, and delivering over 10,000 training sessions.

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