The last few months have been very busy for the Autistic Realm Australia. There has been a flurry of senate inquiries and we have been writing and submitting as fast as we can! The most recent have been on school School Can't and school disruptions. As we noted in our response these phenomena go hand in hand.
As a Not for Profit, TARA has been supporting Autistic children and their families since 2019; our online community has been supporting them since 2016. For many parents the diagnosis of their child is their first experience of Autism. Parents come to our parent group to learn from the practical experience of Autistic adults and our children.
Our most frequently asked question is about supporting children who for a myriad of reasons are unable to attend school.
TARA and the parents in our group are very familiar with the long-term harm to children and families who experience School Can’t. We know how challenging it is to parent a child who is different, who does not meet milestones, who is bullied, who desperately wants friends who explodes in the classroom and attacks teachers, who has been suspended or expelled – or not expelled, but "encouraged" out of a school.
This submission is founded on the contributions of Autistic parents and parents of Autistic children,
collected by our survey in November-December 2022. We define School to include the gamut of formal in-person education activities ((expanded below). School Can’t has been experienced by Autistic students for some time - much longer than by the general cohort of students, and long before the Covid 19 pandemic.
Here is the link.
The Autistic Realm believe that both students and teachers have rights, but it isn't a binary, a case of either/or. These rights can be compatible in a school environment that upholds mutual respect and trust between teachers and students. However, we are alert to that fact that current practices for managing classroom disruption contribute in a real way to denying Autistic students access to education - their human right. In the submission we provided descriptions, explanation and references for techniques that assist Autistic students, avoid or defuse disruption, and promote safety in the classroom and broader school environment.
Our aim was to make it clear that Autistic children are not to be used as scapegoats for clickbait or political dog whistling about maintaining "standards" or "discipline in education.
Here is the link.
School disruption and School Can't feed into each other. Feedback warmly welcomed.