It is my understanding that there is approximately 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 fora mainstream school is to have between 21 and up to 36 students per class with one teacher and a school services officer.
So we are off to this Autism specific school and the kids actually want to go. I am amazed! Finally. The children will be with children having similar Sensory Processing Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive etc. so they will be able to identify with the other kids and possibly even make some friends. I want happiness for the kids. I want them to enjoy school. Is this possible?
Does it iron out quirkiness? I hope not because I love the little quirky! The quirky makes me laugh and I love it? The quirky kid has a different view. My quirky kids wants to live with the Ants in an anthole at Uluru! I try to explain the physical impossibility of this. My quirky wants to crawl through the doggy door forever, to get inside. I feel as if we are going to meet Alice in the wonderland of our house. I explain that he will grow. I love difference. I am pleased because Zak actually wants to go to the school, which is new as its a struggle to get him to go at the old school. I hope he will abe happy with it.
Apparantly this new school is designed for smaller class sizes, in the vicinity of 3-8 students per teacher and an School services officer compared to between 21 to 36 student:1 teacher and 1 School Services officer ratio in a mainstresm school. The programs run at this school are specifically designed to work with the talents and uniqueness of Autism.
I would like the younger kid to be able to read, decode words, and enjoy writing. Know their maths and enjoy it. Heck, that is what I want for both of them. I think a smaller class size may be the trick because, if the social pressure is less there may be less pressure and more ability to uptake information and perhaps even to be inspired by something.
The price tag associated with the new specialized private school, may I say it, could possibly put the opportunity to go out of the price range of alot of the population but perhaps not. What does one do in this situation? Homeschool? Stick your kid in mainstream and hope for the best? Get a scholarship? Education is not free.
Neurotypical kids find it hard to identify with my Autistic kids. My kids have quirky behaviour because of the Sensory Processing difficulties experienced and they act in certain ways or repeat certain behaviors because repitition of behavior 20 or more times either gets their “pull the string lawn motor, running” or makes them feel better. So we have to work with this. Sure, it’s annoying and slower than normal, and trying to train your child about the road safety is essential do they don’t get skittled. Instilling a sense of self preservation in your child is another good idea. We run on on Autistic time frame which is not the normal time frame. Time is expanded out of normal parameters.
Written and Authorised by Jane Muras, 4 Henry st, Hectorville, SA 5073 Candidate for Hectorville Ward CCC 2018