Some of your reading this will have a vague idea of my current plans and my current status, others will not.
I have been asking the same on Twitter and Face book for a couple of weeks now; what do teachers want to know about Autism and what do parents want teachers to know about Autism? I have an idea of what people want to know, but really want to understand your needs more fully. I will then use the information to develop training and a second book to help teachers and children with autism in mainstream schools.
Why do I want to do this? I have been reading papers and reports and have uncovered some scary statistics related to children with Autism and exclusion, teachers feeling unprepared and unable to teach children with autism, and the inevitable cuts in funding will not make anything easier for the children, parents or teachers. I also have evidence in my own work of the difficulties schools face and how they deal with those problems. In one paper statistics state that 1 in 86 children have special educational needs that are related to autism spectrum disorder. I work in a small unit of 24 children (all permanently excluded from school) of those 24 I estimate that 6 of them either are or could be diagnosed with ASD. That brings the ratio to 1:4 and shows that mainstream education is not prepared for the behaviours or equipped well enough to support children with ASD.
My aim is to develop a training package to accompany my second book. The training will be designed specifically for school staff and specifically aimed to help them support and understand Autism. Currently 72% of schools are dissatisfied with the extent of their teacher’s training in Autism, and I in 5 schools with children with autism or Asperger syndrome have no teachers with autism specific training at all. I am sure that as parents this may not surprise you but will cause concern.
I will approach schools; primary and secondary, as well as local authorities’ across the country with my training. I will armed with information found in the Department for Education, Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability. March 2011 (published in Dec 2012) along with information from other research papers and your comments. I will start try and turn the tide on understanding Autism in Education.
If you would like more information or think the teachers in your child’s school would like to be involved then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets make things better.