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The impact of an autism-specific education on wellbeing

2 February 2021

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When children on the autism spectrum receive an autism-specific education, their wellbeing and mental health improves dramatically. The tailored education children receive at our Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) schools is nothing short of life-changing.

What makes an Aspect education unique?

In our Aspect schools, every student receives a specialised education, uniquely tailored to meet their individual needs. Class sizes are small, so our highly-trained teachers can provide individual support that focuses on each student’s unique strengths, challenges and aspirations.

Every lesson is tailored to suit the needs of the student.

For children like six-year-old Ava, traditional school can be a confusing, stressful and unpredictable place. Ava was missing out on the chance to develop vital life skills, simply because she was in an educational framework that didn’t suit her needs.

Improvements in speech, language and social interaction

Within a few months of attending her Aspect school, Ava’s bright and bubbly personality was shining at school and at home. Ava’s teachers used visual aids, sensory tools and autism specific strategies, such as social stories and structured teaching to help Ava build new skills and adapt to the world around her.

Less than a year later, Ava started reading, writing and drawing, interacting with other children and engaging in lessons. She now understands social cues and has enough language to express her wants and needs.

“Since Aspect, she rarely has ‘meltdowns’ or ‘shutdowns’”, says Ava’s mum, Shannen. “She has changed dramatically, has come out of her shell and her personality just shines so bright! All her friends and family are just amazed by the progression.”

Its stories like these that demonstrate the importance of a tailored approach.

Ability to regulate emotions and adapt to environments

For seven-year-old Sienna and her family, it wasn’t until they started receiving individualised support that they started to see real change.

Leanne, Sienna’s mum, remembers what a challenge the early years were for the family when dealing with an autism diagnosis, “We struggled with strategies on how to prepare Sienna for certain situations and how to deal with her reactions and inability to cope in certain environments. Sienna was not social. She would interact with familiar adults and her older sister but not with her peers or unfamiliar people. And she would eat non-food items, such as paper, tissues and cardboard.”

This all changed when Sienna started attending her Aspect school.

Autism-specific resources, such as social stories, interactive iPads and whiteboards enable children on the spectrum to develop a system of communication that works for them. And the focus on building a child’s strengths, celebrating differences and seeing each child’s unique potential allows children like Sienna to thrive. These positive outcomes not only benefit the child, they flow through to the family as well.

As Leanne said: “Aspect have not only provided Sienna with a safe and nurturing learning environment that she is able to flourish in, it has provided us as a family with a community of acceptance – a place where our children are supported, celebrated and not judged.”

Academic improvements, making friends and the impact on family life

Five-year-old Chad, who was once unable to communicate or connect, is now building beautiful relationships at school and at home. When the family welcomed their third son, Angus, seeing Chad’s love for his baby brother has been one of the most moving experiences for his mum, Bec. “When he became a big brother again he was so excited. He loves his baby brother. They have a special bond.”

Not only has family life improved, but Chad flourished academically during the first few terms at his Aspect school. Just as no two children on the autism spectrum are the same, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to their education. The individual goals and personalised learning plan designed around Chad’s unique interests helped him to build the foundations for long-term health and wellbeing.

Aspect School Sponsorships and why they are so important

For the 1,187 students enrolled at our Aspect schools, routine and consistency are crucial to the positive outcomes we have just explored. With the impact of financial uncertainty on our Aspect families growing over the past 12 months, it is more important than ever that Aspect is able to provide Aspect School Sponsorships to protect the education of more children like Ava, Chad and Sienna.

Donate now and contribute towards an Aspect School Sponsorship for a child on the autism spectrum

Our goal is to ensure that vulnerable young learners like Ava, Sienna and Chad don’t miss out on their vital, autism-specific education. Your donation can help children continue their education with as little disruption as possible. And if you donate any amount above $2, your donation to Aspect will be entirely tax deductible on your next tax refund.

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