It is the responsibility of a school to find ways to best support the learning and growth of children that fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Barnard, Prior and Potter describe autism as a “hidden disability”(2000) that the general public doesn’t have a great understanding or awareness of. Due to the lack of visibility in this disorder, many children that have characteristics or tendencies of autism can sometimes fall through the cracks. It is important that schools help to include and integrate children with autism and develop their teacher’s knowledge and teaching so they can assist in these students learning. It is also important to understand what kind of policies and ...view middle of the document...
” When making a determination about a child with autism, I believe that you should always allow for opportunities for them to take their own unique path to grow and develop. Children with autism may continue to always make the same decisions or choices because they don’t know how to choose another. Providing these children with the possibility of choice can empower them, rather than pressure them. O’Reilly and Wicks believe that peer modelling is a great way to involve children within the spectrum and help them to learn school rules and routines (2008). Pairing a child who has autism with a classmate can assist in encouraging the child within the spectrum to engage in class activities and increase social understanding. I also think it’s important to use the strengths that a child with autism may have to assist with the learning of their peers. As a teacher, it is vital to support and guide these children, and make sure that they feel safe in their learning environment. From my own personal experience, in my primary school there was a boy a couple of years above me that was within the spectrum. The school always encouraged him to share his knowledge and skills with his classmates and I believe that this leadership role was a great way to integrate him into the social aspect of school. If a child who has autism feels safe and supported within the school, it is more likely that this child will assert their ability to branch out and grow. Teachers should be sure to create suitable workloads and achievable goals for such students. Jim Sinclair says that “being autistic doesn’t mean being unable to learn, but it does mean there are differences in how learning happens.” (2014) I think this is something that every teacher should recognise. The importance of tailoring your teaching methods to accommodate children with autism is not only beneficial to the child, but is also valuable in enhancing your own teaching. As a teacher, I am responsible for the program that is delivered to my students and I need to work collaboratively with the school and specialists to ensure that the child is receiving the best educational experience that can be provided for them. It is the responsibility of a teacher and school to create an environment where all children, including those on the spectrum, feel included and integrated.
It is important to be aware of programs and opportunities available for students with autism within our schools. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (The Department) is dedicated to supplying an inclusive education system where all students receive an education that meets their own individual needs. The Department provides schools with a ‘Program for Students with Disabilities.’ The objectives of the program are to:
1. Student learning –
To support and improve the learning of students
2. Student engagement and wellbeing –
To support the participation of students in an inclusive education system
3. Student pathways and...