As usual I’m coming into the discussion “late”. The conversation about inclusion of autistic students in our nations classrooms has been at the forefront of all my social media feeds this week, and I’ve been sitting here, swinging between trying to take it all in and trying to avoid it.
On Tuesday 14 March, I attended TeachMeet Human Rights in Sydney. It was a wonderful event, with many excellent presentations. I was honoured to be invited to present a 7 minute talk on Autism and Inclusion.
Inclusion in education is a human right, yet there is much about our education system that makes it inaccessible to autistic students. I spoke about the experience of autistic students and how to make schools and classrooms more welcoming and accessible, using strategies to avoid the practice of seclusion and restraint that we have seen occurring recently.
TW: some readers will find the content of this article distressing. It references stories of abuse of disabled children within educational settings.
Inclusion is a bit of a buzz word, I guess. It is thrown around to assure everyone that schools are supportive and understanding of students with extra support needs. But the reality of attending school as a Neurodivergent person is a bit more complicated than being told you are included.
In conversation with an old high school friend I was asked about my thoughts on inclusion in the classroom. I responded that answering that would take me some time and I would get back to him. I had been thinking a lot about this, as during 2014 both MasterL and MissG left mainstream schooling, opting to do their learning at home.