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Charity speaks out about autistic girl forced to move from school she "loves"
Resources for Autism charity has spoken out about an “unfair” decision to move a four-year-old girl from the school she “loves”.
Charlotte Byrne, 33, of Blanche Lane, Potters Bar, applied on time for her daughter Emily to continue from Nursery into Reception at Cranborne Primary School in Laurel Fields.
Miss Byrne sent the application to Hertfordshire County Council and had a doctor’s note stressing it is in Emily’s best interest to minimise her “difficulties” and “distress” as an autistic child.
But instead the council gave her a place at Oakmere Primary School, Chace Avenue, nearly four miles away from where she lives.
Liza Dresner, director of Resources for Autism, said: “Children with autism have great challenges to overcome in their lives and making things harder for Emily so early on in her life seems both unfair and bureaucratic.
“Enabling a child with autism to settle and learn requires patience, understanding and familiarity.
“It would appear that Cranborne Primary have worked hard to achieve that and Emily deserves the chance to build on the amazing progress she has made if at all possible.”
Miss Byrne, who is a single mother, said: “When Emily first started the nursery she was screaming, biting teachers, hitting children and escaping from the classroom – this is normal behaviour for autistic children. She can’t write her own name and she can’t speak properly.
“But after about eight months she finally settled there as she started to recognise her classmates, the classrooms and her teachers and has been making really good progress.
“Familiarity is key for her.”
The Times Series is waiting for a response from Hertfordshire County Council.