Autism South East are aware that changes to school transport arrangements by Kent County Council are causing a great deal of distress and anxiety to parents, carers and their children. Unfamiliar people and situations, can lead to great anxiety for an autistic child, causing them to become overwhelmed. Autistic children require time and preparation to process any change. Change can be a real challenge for any autistic child or adult.
KCC transports children with very complex health and mental health conditions to schools around the county and we would expect them to take the children’s needs into consideration. Many of these children are autistic.
We are hearing from, understandably, frustrated, angry and upset parents and carers, that their children are being placed on unsuitable transport and some still don’t know how their child will be getting to school on Monday. Children are having their routines disrupted and in some cases, will be taken by unfamiliar adults who are often unaware of the children’s needs.
The well-being of these children must be paramount! The voices of the parents and carers, and the needs of the children, must be heard and understood when planning and organising transport for some of the most vulnerable children in our county.
We would ask that KCC hear the concerns of parents and carers, accept that they have got this wrong and make the necessary changes.