Good support for kids with autism and school always means tailoring as each child with autism is different. Thereby good communication between parents, school and child is essential. Both the parents and the child may provide valuable information on what support is needed at school.
Autism and school: tell or not to tell?
Many parents of children with autism believe that openness about autism is often the best at school. Because only then your child can get the support it needs. Good support is customized and information from the parents is essential for this. If you do not consider reporting your child’s autism, bear in mind that sooner or later he/she may receive a different “label”. Teachers can, for example, look for the cause of any problems in “unwillingness” and “disinterest”. And fellow students can draw the conclusion that your child is not only “weird,” but also “unkind.”
Autism and school: guidance
Most children with autism need guidance in school, but this doesn’t always need to be intensive and long. Often it is relatively simple assistance, for example when structuring the course material or completing the agenda. But there are also children with autism that are best in place with special education. This has not only to do with intelligence, but also with sensitivity and adaptability.
Autism and School: Your Child’s Rights
People with autism have a number of legal rights and protections. It is important to understand these rights to ensure that you or your child is being treated fairly and given access to all of the services and supports to which you are entitled. The website https://www.autismspeaks.org/ can be a great source of information.
Autism and School; is mainstream education possible?
Talking to a number of parents choosing the best school for your kid in mainstream education comes down to 3 points:
- Parent’s opinion is requested and taken seriously
A mother told me that it was such a relief that when there was a major incident at school, she learned that time was taken to hear her son’s side of the story, he was not immediately accused, she as his mother was not immediately told what he had done wrong and what they had done well. To the contrary; they stressed that they loved her son. After the incident a behavioral specialist conducted a research, looking at: what happened? Why? What works escalating and what works de-escalating? How do we ensure that this does not happen again? Behavior was studied, analyzed, supported by data and then a report was written. This was presented also to the parents, including solutions. The parents input and opinion was asked and then a plan was written to create an optimal learning environment.
- They need to love children with special needs
A father said: “I don’t have to worry much longer. The people who work with those children are crazy about them, wish them the best. For example, my son participated in a basketball tournament at school. The person who works a lot with Alex came in the evening, in her spare time, to encourage him and she took her entire family. “Naturally I come!” she said. “It is an important day for him, I wanted to encourage him AND of course I think it is great that my family can meet him”. It made me quiet. Especially for him because she likes him …
- Inclusion should be in the culture of the school
Everyone joins in, period. “What I do, you do too. What I like, you can also “. Sure you have to make it possible. So one needs a wheelchair, the other a slower pace, one does a little more, the other a little, but in the end we are all special and we are all normal. Everyone is welcome, everyone is valuable and everyone participates.
There were so many stories of kids that were called ‘not learnable’ on one school and flourished on the other. Autism and school can still be a great match. Look at wat your kid needs and if the school can provide for it.