TORONTO -- The Ontario Autism Coalition is calling on the Liberal government to boost supports for the 20,000 children with autism in the province's schools.

In a report released Tuesday, the group recommends the province review special education funding, and provide more training for teachers and educational staff who work with children on the autism spectrum.

The group is also urging the government to look into the feasibility of setting up a school for kids with autism, similar to several that exist for students with severe learning disabilities or those who are deaf or blind.

Laura Kirby-McIntosh, the coalition's vice-president, said despite government investments in special education, students with autism are frequently denied the supports they need in school.

"If you're an autistic student, or the parent of one, or an education worker trying to help one, then I don't need to tell you the current system is badly broken for our kids," said Kirby-McIntosh, who is also a teacher and mother to two kids on the autism spectrum.

Some schools offer great supports, but others fall short, she said.

"The level of quality that a student receives in this province seems to depend more on their postal code than on their level of need," said Kirby-McIntosh.

Elsbeth Dodman, a 28-year-old woman who was diagnosed with autism at 14, said when she was in school teachers didn't know much about how to support her.

"Often I was left to come up with my own -- and sometimes harmful -- strategies to cope," she said.

"I took up drawing to help me sit through a class, but when I couldn't draw in long assemblies and wasn't given an idea of how long an assembly would be and when all my other fidgeting methods were exhausted, I resorted to pulling out four of my teeth."

Education Minister Mitzie Hunter said the government is already investing $2.7 billion in special education for the 2016-17 school year, with $39 million over two years for students with autism. There is also already mandatory content in teachers' college on special needs, she said, and the government has added 900 more educational assistants since 2013.

Hunter said there is more to do, but didn't specify any added measures or funding.

"I definitely want to see us continue with the training for teachers and education workers," she said. "It's very important to me as we have 20,000 students with autism across our school system that they get the supports that they need."

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said he was hoping to hear the minister say she would review special education.

"These are the families, these are children with autism, these are families who live it and breathe it who are saying the system is broken and they desperately need help and the government was unfortunately dismissive," he said.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Liberal government has a "dismal" track record when it comes to children with autism.

"I think what the report shows is that families are still very, very frustrated and worried about the future of their children and the ability of their children with autism to reach their full potential," she said.