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500 more places for special needs children

Pathlight and Metta schools taking in more kids with autism, learning disabilities

Published on Oct 21, 2012 6:00 AM

Two schools for children with special needs are expanding to provide 500 more places from next year.

Pathlight School for children with autism has started a second campus while Metta School for children with intellectual disability or autism is adding a new block of classrooms. This means more children aged seven to 21 with moderate learning disabilities can attend a specialised programme. Some are now in mainstream schools.

The number of new autism cases diagnosed has risen at an annual rate of 11 per cent since 2005, due in part to increased awareness and a broader definition of autism to include children who are mildly autistic. Autism is a brain-based developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate with others.

The increase in places is good news for parents who have been hoping for a place in a special education school for their children.

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