Earlier this year I was lucky enough to do some training with a wonderful group comprised mostly of parents and carers of children with disabilities.
Parenting is challenging at the best of times, a fact I was reminded of, after spending last weekend with my energetic 3-year old grandson.The parent with a child on the Autism spectrum(ASD) however, is constantly balancing the child’s needs and wants with social mores and expectations. For instance, the everyday tasks of shopping and going into public spaces can be the stuff of nightmares. Let alone battling the discriminatory attitudes and practices in the education sphere. This for many parents was the most heartbreaking and exhausting hurdle of all.
Now, I’m not suggesting that inclusive education for students with ASD is an easy task. In my 40-year teaching experience, these students have indeed provided challenges to a system that is not known for its flexibility. We hear horror stories of teachers tying autistic children to chairs (1), and the case a few years ago, of the school that had a cage constructed for another such student. The parents I met all had tales of exclusion which frankly still shocked me. A child routinely made to sit in another room with an adult because they couldn’t join in ‘nicely’…..in 2018? How could this be?
My hope is that with the increased focus on teacher accreditation and the number of sensitive, quality training courses on offer that we will see change.
Please feel free to contact me for more information.