by Lucy Anne Lawton
The charity Ambitious about Autism have released shocking statistics revealing the high number of Autistic children illegally excluded from school. Sky news report on the findings of the new research –
What more proof is needed for education authorities to address the issue? Speaking on Adrian Goldberg’s radio show this morning I had my say on the subject of Autism – as did other parents and teachers. Some of the comments made via text, mainly from significantly older generations, magnify the ignorant attitudes that prevail in society. One listener text in to say;
’There was no Autism in my day…they are just naughty children’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01q95l4 @2.38
The problem Autism faces, is that the condition is invisible to the average by-stander. Because the disorder affects the brain, it isn’t visibly obvious that a child has it on first impression, and if you just happen to witness a ‘melt -down’ (the term used to explain behaviour issues due to an overload in sensory input) it could quite easily look like a spoilt kid having a tantrum. But before basing your opinion of Autism on witnessing just one meltdown, before concluding that ’they are just naughty children’, spend a little more time around the child and you will realise that it is far more complex than that.
Each child affected by Autism has individual areas of impairment – some may suffer more in their ability to communicate spoken language effectively. Unable to express themselves and communicate their needs or preferences results in a build up of frustration which will eventually explode into a ‘melt down’. Imagine having something to say and being unable to say it? It is simply unethical to punish a child for having a communication disorder.
With 1 in 100 children now being recognised as having ASD, the education system has got to cater for them. There aren’t enough special schools to give every child with Autism a place. All mainstream schools require Autism training, so that they can be aware of the potential triggers that cause sensory overloads in these children and modify the situation before it blows out of proportion.
Children with Autism need understanding and acceptance. A right to a decent education. Compassionate teachers willing to give them a chance. They are innocent children, born with a developmental disorder of the brain, and they aren’t going to disappear.