Andy's Analysis

The recent publication of the Children and Families Bill heralds what has been promised to be the most significant reforms to special educational needs in three decades. Parents and families of children and young people with autism and the professionals who support them have been waiting with baited...

It is National Anti-Bullying Week this week and much will be said about what we should do about bullying. Nature’s pecking order is imposed with a ruthlessness that defines sentient beings, or should do. Humans create complex, formal taxonomies of power and social and legal rules provide the necessary...

Sir James Savile OBE, ex Bevin Boy, ex wrestler, ex DJ, ex TV icon – and, according to a torrent of reports, ex paedophile - has sparked another of our too frequent headline-grabbing sexual abuse scandals. The principal of guilty until proved innocent is endemic in our media but the sheer number of identified...

Ofsted’s latest offering is a timely reminder that in that most complex of worlds – the protection of children – disabled children fare less well than they should. What’s more, they fare less well than the law says they should. In its report Protecting Disabled Children: Thematic Inspection. Ofsted...

The government’s expert adviser on behaviour Charlie Taylor, in giving evidence to MPs at the Education Select Committee this summer, advised that some pupils “show very extreme behaviour”. The published response to this from Barnardo’s - who know a thing or two about troubled and troubling children...

The National Health Service (NHS) was born not very long before I was and, along with Queen Elizabeth II, is one of the cultural narratives of my lifetime. The NHS’s meaning in society reaches far beyond its functions to being a statement about some moral absolutes that we want to see exemplified in...

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Blinded by science

29 June 2012

The proposition that neuroscience should influence youth justice policy is rather more contentious than it may appear. Not that the Economic and Social Research Council report’s findings are remotely surprising, though the facts reported by UCL, Exeter and Oxford universities are compelling and may well...

The Supreme Court case of KM – the 26-year old disabled man with autism - v Cambridgeshire County Council has been reported as a ‘landmark’ ruling by some very respectable voices in the media. To the extent that a landmark is a navigation aid, then it is some sort of beacon. But a beacon of what? To...

Presenter Louis Theroux has an engaging knack of introducing his television audience to a topic without getting in the way. In being careful to avoid any impression that he knows anything about the issue being presented, he skilfully leaves us with no more than our own interpretation. The result,...

To someone who has never knowingly encountered autism it can be both puzzling and perplexing. Some reactions or behaviours may appear paradoxical or even perverse to the lay observer. The desire to avoid contact, an apparent lack of appropriate fears while other events or objects may seem to evoke enormous...