Their website has a resource from 2008, a review of inclusion vs segregation relates to intellectual impairment (see http://www.include.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Inclusion_Seg.pdf). This review, lake many others, fails to meet my challenge to the "inclusion zealots" in relation to autism/ASD (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/458). This review is about intellectual impairment, and fails to recognise the distinct nature (and significance) of ASD. It:
- fails to recognise the distinct needs of the rapidly growing number of students diagnosed with ASD
- mentions the evidence saying "There was [is] some evidence for benefits for a pullout approach [less than full inclusion] for children with learning disabilities [possibly including ASD?] rather than an intellectual impairment."
- misinterprets or misunderstands the research ... e.g. fails to take into account that students who are "pulled out" for "special classes" (segregated) more than others may have more learning difficulties and that this might contribute to their reduced outcomes ... there is no evidence at all that these students succeed more when included.
- completely fails to recognise the level and impact (especially long-term) of bullying on students with ASD who are included in mainstream settings. It even seems to be in denial that girls might bully girls.
- ignores the abysmal outcomes observed when most students with ASD are educated in "inclusive" settings (see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4428.0Main%20Features62009 and http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4428.0Main%20Features72009) ... as yet inclusions is not the answer for educating students with ASD
The review relies on nonsense arguments, such as:
The most common critique is that inclusion has not yet proved itself and so there is no reason to change (Lindsay, 2003, 2007; Mesibov & Shea, 1996). This is a compete [sic] reversal of the logical argument. Segregated education takes children away from their peers and is very expensive. It could be considered to be prima facie detrimental and so would have to show itself to be significantly superior to inclusion to compensate for the inbuilt disadvantages. It is in fact segregated education that has to show itself to be superior educationally to justify the continued funding, and the continuation of forced segregation is now both illegal and considered immoral in most western countries.
I think this misinterprets and misrepresents the references given.
Further, mainstream schools segregate students routinely on the basis of age ... and base academic content in age-segregated classes on the typical student's readiness for the content (as is clearly implied in the above). Yet, Inclusionists want to deny an equivalent process for students who are not typical for their age. Their argument seem inconsistent to me.
It is "illegal and considered immoral in most western countries" for all students with a disability based on the spurious arguments given in reviews like this; reviews that might make a case in relation to students with either no intellectual impairment, of intellectual impairment but without specific learning impairment, behavioural challenges or dysfunctional social skills. It is also immoral (and possibly illegal) to claim or imply these aspects can be just ignored.
Australian law, and the High Court, promote exclusion of students with a disability when a school thinks a student might, at some time in the future, behave in a manner that would cause the school any discomfort (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/375). This is real, it is routine at some levels - see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/147 - it is not hypothetical.
Current practices in education do not meet the needs of students with ASD ... neither inclusion nor segregation is effective universally for this rapidly growing group of students.
But people can still complete the survey if they like.