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Podcast: Autistic kids in Tamworth are falling behind in school because of the limited availability of support classes

Melissa Reinikka's son Jacob has autism and intellectual delay. He is one of many kids in Tamworth entitled to a support class at school, but unable to get a spot.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' data on Disability, there are over 30,000 children with autism and related disorders living in regional Australia. And they're competing for support schools and programmes.

Melissa's son Jacob, 8, has been deferred four times from a support class. Picture: Eva Baxter

Melissa's son Jacob, 8, has been deferred four times from a support class. Picture: Eva Baxter

Outside the big cities it can be next to impossible to even get a diagnosis, let alone support. Only 40-percent of these kids attend a special school or special classes.

No one should have to fight this hard to get what comes so easily to every other child. I just want my son to enjoy school, enjoy going to school, enjoy learning.

Melissa Reinikka - Tamworth mother/carer

We talk to parents, educators, and an autistic woman to examine the unique challenges and benefits of being different in the bush.

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This story Finding a place for autistic kids in regional Australia first appeared on The Canberra Times.