Can inclusive education do more harm than good?

Editor: For most students with ASD, inclusive education is "a better option". But students with ASD, for whom inclusive education is not working, may need alternatives. ABS reports (see here) shows 6% of Australian students with "autism" did not attend school in 2012 - our experience/observation is that much of this is through "school refusal" (see page, report and other). Contrary to persistent misinformation from Inclusion hard-liners, little actual evidence is available supporting inclusive education for children with autism/ASD (see http://a4.org.au/node/458, http://a4.org.au/node/626 and/or http://a4.org.au/node/763​).

    Recently, a teacher expressed his misgivings about the “inclusion at all costs” ideology of modern education. Despite being well supported by his school and hugely in favour of inclusive practice, he outlined his difficulties in managing a young fellow with Down Syndrome whose behaviour in the classroom was extremely difficult, and increasingly dangerous. This resulted in children and staff leaving the school, citing concerns about their safety and psychological health.

    The article attracted derision from many, but also a sigh of relief from other teachers and a surprising number of parents of children with a disability.

    'Padded cells' at Perth schools reports among calls to disability abuse hotline

    By Hayley Roman

    Reports of "padded cells" at two Perth schools were among calls to a confidential "dob-in" hotline set up to address abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

    The hotline was set up after a Senate inquiry into abuse of people with a disability in residential and institutional settings, which held sittings in Perth in April, heard witnesses recount testimonies of horrific rapes, brutal physical assaults, severe neglect and regular humiliation, where people had been left alone in their own faeces for hours on end.

    NDIS dumps "My Access Checker", adds "Access Checklist"

    After almost 2 years in trial sites, the NDIA replaced it's "NDIS My Access Checker" web page. It has a new page that asks the key questions for NDIS eligibility ... and shows where the trial sites are operating.

    The people currently getting NDIS support are those in NDIS trial sites. Others have to wait for the full roll out (which is getting closer).

    The new web page is called the NDIS Access Checklist. Feel free to take a look.

    2015: National Autism Centre (USA) review of ASD interventions 0-22yo

    People who are prepared to read a "new review and analysis of interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" can find one to download here: http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/nati...

    This project is designed to give educators, parents, practitioners, and organizations the information and resources they need to make informed choices about effective interventions that will offer children and adults on the spectrum the greatest hope for their future.

    Missing boy Luke Shambrook found alive at Lake Eildon

    Luke Shambrook has had an emotional reunion with his parents after spending four nights lost in bush near Eildon, north-east of Melbourne.

    Luke, 11, who has autism, was found alive about midday on Tuesday after wandering off from his family's campsite at Candlebark campground on Good Friday.

    Disability groups back call for inquiry into education of children with a disability

    Disability groups have backed calls for a broad inquiry into the education of children with a disability, following revelations an autistic Canberra school student was confined in a cage-like structure.

    Graeme Innes, who served as the nation's disability discrimination commissioner from 2005 until last year,has called for such an inquiry, warning the ACT case was not an isolated incident and schools across the country lacked adequate resources to support students with disability.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten immediately backed Mr Innes' call, declaring: "We cannot assume this is a one-off case."

    Disappointing! Government removed advice on early intervention for autism

    Early in 2015, without consulting or even informing stakeholders and before submissions for the NDIS ILC consultation were due, the Government removed documents and links to them from its websites. These documents contain information that is crucial for families who need to act quickly after their child is diagnosed with autism. Without access to these documents families can miss crucial advice about choosing appropriate early intervention. 

    Since these documents are helpful for people affected by autism spectrum disorder, A4 makes them available for download from its website (see the links below).

    Helping Children with Autism extended until the NDIS starts

    The Government announced that it will continue the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package until the NDIS starts. John Howard created HCWA in 2007 and Bill Shorten implemented it. HCWA funds about 5% of the early intervention that the Government advised a child with autism needs.


    Funding extensions for disability and carer programmes

    Parents flock to free online course on autism

    Swinburne Uni logo

    More than 10,000 participants have registered for a new, free online six-week course beginning in April, which has been designed by Swinburne University to provide practical help to families with a child on the autism spectrum. 

    Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition affecting about 1 per cent of children who typically have preoccupations, aversions, obsessions and difficulties with social interaction.  But, despite the disorder's frequency and the challenges it poses to parents, carers and teachers, much online information is about diagnosis and emotional support rather than practical help.

    Now, a team at Swinburne University has stepped in to move away from "the theory of autism" to provide a free, practical online six-week course designed to give parents and carers strategies to help their child - and the family.

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