Autism and Mainstream school


It is my understanding there is in 2016 approximately or more 3400 children with Autism in South Australian Schools.  More than 50% of children and students with Autism are enrolled in a school without a  specialist unit or specialist education teacher. The Department of Education policy for a mainstream school is to have  between 21 and up to 36 students per class with one teacher and a school services officer.

I am feeling raw. I feel like I coudn’t organize a chook raffle! Things are fraying around the edges. I’m starting to get cynical.

What is the bigger message here on the grand scheme of things? Is it to learn to fit in, so the societal machine keeps working? Is it that you have to learn how to deal with your sensory processing issues or else? Or is it that you are doing something if anything so you can fit?

My darling 5 year old child having trouble at mainstream school. It’s not the child’s fault. It’s not the teacher’s fault. It’s not the principal’s fault. Class sizes and the price tag associated with educating your child is a systemic problem. 5 years old. Autism Diagnosis. There is a policy of inclusion in mainstream schools but can schools provide if resources are already stretched. If classes are too big. If there is not enough attention given for the child with special needs. Is it because of money! I am Mum and advocate for this little Dude!

Do I park money with a limited budget myself, to start a treadmill of tests which will tell us what? Haven’t I done this before?  I take him to get his hearing checked. Heavens above! What good will that do? It’s all a matter of  perception. A two day suspension disrupts the life of a busy/stressed special needs parent. The little treasure says he gets bored with what the teacher says. So he wanders off. “Be where you are meant to be” is the mantra repeated at school.

I’ve told both of the kiddo’s if there is no school duties for the day/ then there is home duties. As a deterrant! But it seems to be a sweetener!

Each child has a bucket and they put a rocks in bucket for duties completed. A certain number of completed duties. Then they get some free time. Who is familiar with this positive reward training method? Wash the dishes. Wash the clothes.  Mow the Lawn,. Take the rubbish out! Thanks kiddo!

Turning myself upside down and inside out to try and make things fit! They don’t. Trying to do all the different suggestions from respective therapists. I’m worn out! Where is the coffee because I am already tired of this crap!

Occupational therapist ($120/wk) says that his sensory needs are met at home as the house has been turned into a play sensory gym as much as possible. Pay more attention to his emotional needs. Well, kiddo is telling me that he hates going to school. How do you deal with that little pearl?

I feel as though I am walking through quicksand! What to do? I guess, we will find out his hearing level from the audiologist ($80 one off appt). Oh yeah, we have to get an IQ test ($100-300 one of appt). I feel as if I’m sending therapist on a holiday to Accapoco. I’m already doing the $167 Psychology, Speech Pathology and $57/wk Social Skills group. Therapy costs a fortune.

It’s Mum’s taxi, on steroids, driving them to this that and the other. Where’s the money for the petrol coming from! Hold on I’m losing the plot! Driving here, there and everywhere. Co-ordinating school and therapy timetables making sure that therapists all talk and understand the plan of action. I’m not even sure what the Plan Of Action is but I am doing as I am afraid of not doing anything.

The kid is very smart. He is starting to snort like a horse over the last month or two. I have a little trotter running around the house. I wonder if I did assemble a race track around my house if that would do us any good.

I make a booking at Dr’s because maybe he has some difficulty with ears, nose and throat. Knows how to work the teachers. Knows how to not follow the rules of engagement by dancing on the cupboards and table-tops. Knows how to not do what one is told.

Parent: What is the matter child? Kiddo: I don’t want to go to school. How do you tell a 5 year old that they cannot stay at home all day. Chores or else! No problem Mum! It’s a joke! How do you tell kiddo in a way that he understands that as an adult you need to look after yourself/ have time for yourself to exercise/knit/do your thing to stay healthy for them? And also most importantly stand up for yourself.

The 5 yr old kiddo is a bit easier to get out the door than his brother. Both anxious when they leave the sanctity of the house. He does not pick up on the rules of engagement. He doesn’t see the social cues. He finds it difficult to understand that the things he does at home, generally, he can’t take transition objects to school. He doesn’t have any emotional attachments to kids or the teachers to make him want to go to school and want to be there.




5 thoughts on “Autism and Mainstream school

  1. Been there, but luckily most of our therapies were covered (public health care). It’s a tough go sometimes. In our case, the therapies did help in the long run, though you don’t see the change for years sometimes. Be strong. It will get better.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hate to tell you this but autism is a pretty strong “disorder” if things don’t work for them no amount of effort (on their part) will make them work. We autistic people are more likely to make ourselves sick trying to please people than just willfully doing as we want. If your school can’t engage an autistic 5 year old then your school is never going to be able to accommodate an autistic child without a lot of changes. I sympathize with your situation but because our behaviour can look normal it’s hard for others to realise what we have to go through. I’d also caution you, any autistic adult I’ve talked to (or read) has agreed therapies that make us appear/act normal as children, tend to backfire & create anxiety in our teens and adult years. I am so sorry to say this but the most precious thing to teach your autistic child is that he is loved and that this is not his fault. No matter how trying his current not fitting in may be anxiety & depression in the teens is a terrifying nightmare I wouldn’t wish on any parent. And most (not all, not the good ones) therapists don’t even think about autism in the teens and adulthood. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Oh, laugh a lot, make fun of autism & any therapists you are not seeing again. In the years to come humour will be your best ally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou for this insight, as it has really made me think about his future needs as well as present. Its so hard, but I am determined to have our family laughing everyday, I am a great believer in humor and laughter for life

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s not all bad, hubby and I both autistic have been happily married for 24 years. Just watch the professionals around your children. Contact me any time you want, with my experiences & 4 autistic kids I know a lot of the hidden pit falls. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #Autism Parents/Carers – Look after yourself Too! Are you? | ASD Supernova 2 Shining suns

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