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Autistic schoolboy battles for special school place in Grantham

A seven-year-old schoolboy is battling for a place at a special needs school after being diagnosed with autism more than a year ago.

Noah Wren, of South Witham, was diagnosed with autism in 2020, and awarded an education and health care plan (ECHP) last year.

But he is still waiting for a place to become available at an educational setting that caters for his needs, despite being suspended from his mainstream school four times already due to his behaviour.

His parents, Ashley and Alex Wren, spent five years battling to get a correct diagnosis for their son.

Ashley said: “At first we were told that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and so we went down that route, until he was finally diagnosed with autism in October 2020.

“To date he has still to be found a special education setting and we are growing increasingly frustrated in the system. We have tried Greenfields Academy and Ambergate, both in Grantham, but were turned down as they were full to capacity.

“We were offered a place at Springfields Academy in Spalding, but this would have meant a 50-minute drive either way, which Noah wouldn’t have coped with. I am at a loss as to where to go next.

“To add to the stress of Noah’s needs, my husband has multiple sclerosis (MS) and the stress of this is having a detrimental effect to his health.”

Ashley, who also has son Nathan, is hoping that by highlighting their family’s struggle, it will create more awareness to the problems that parents with special needs children face to get their children the help and support they deserve.

She added: “I know a lot of parents who are going through the same struggles. It shouldn’t have to be this difficult to get our children the support they need.”

Sheridan Dodsworth, head of service for special educational needs and disability at Lincolnshire County Council, confirmed that they are working with the family.

After being contacted by the Journal, she said: “Lincolnshire, like the rest of the country, is experiencing an unprecedented demand for special school places.

“An £86 million capital programme to increase capacity is well under-way and this will provide over 500 more specialist places in the county.

“At this time placements are taking longer than usual to secure but the special educational needs and disabilities team will continue to work with the family to find an appropriate specialist placement for their child as quickly as possible

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