Education focus 2014
"Imagine a world where autism was the norm, and non-autistic or neuro-typical were the minority. Let's try it: those who feel the need to constantly be with a variety of friends are considered fickle. Those with no propensity for computers and science are called geeks. Those with no special interest are thought to be ungrounded and lost. Those without obsessive focus have to take classes to cultivate it.” – Rudy Simone (2011)
When we consider the students in our schools we need to ask ourselves the question – does every child matter?
Universally the answer would be – of course.
Every child has the right to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy life and achieve, make a positive contribution to society and enjoy economic wellbeing.
We know this is possible for a child with autism because we have the evidence to show it: we see it daily in the successes of the young people we work with; in the views and thoughts of parents, carers and students themselves; through the observations of other professionals; and from the data we collect through our monitoring and evaluation as teachers.
A student with autism has the same rights and expectations as every other child in our schools and the way in which they are included in our mainstream schools is fundamental to their ability to achieve the same goals as other children.
This quarter, following the tremendous success of the inaugural Aspect Autism in Education Conference, we are focusing on education.
- Presentations from the Conference
- Teaching and learning featuring Jacqui Roberts, Chair of Autism Griffith University, Queensland; Trevor Clark, Director of Education, Aspect; and Kerry Bissaker, Associate Dean, School of Education, Flinders University, Adelaide
- Inclusion and the individual, featuring Carol Barnes, Australian National Coordinator of Gifted Learners with Disability, a national online learning community and support group; Natalia Ranson, Clinical psychologist specialising in children with autism; and Matthew Bennet, a PhD candidate in the Department of Disability and Community Inclusion at Flinders University in Adelaide
- Mental health and well-being, featuring David Dossetor, Child Psychiatrist and Director for mental health for Sydney Children’s Hospital Network; Kerrie Nelson, Principal Giant Steps; and Andrea Garner, who recently completed a Masters of Education focusing on autism, at Birmingham University
Keynote presentations from the Conference
- Dr Lisa Ruble, Professor in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky
- Dr Barry Coughlan, Assistant Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland \
- Judy Brewer, Chair of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC)
Aspect has also been working with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in Victoria to produce a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers and other professionals. Topics include:
- Theories of Learning: Theory of Mind
- Theories of Learning: Executive Functioning
- Theories of Learning: Weak Central Coherence
- Teaching Emotional Regulation
- Working with Families
- Educational Professionals
- Educational Leadership
- Building Capacity
- Autism Friendly Environments
- Teaching and Learning Strategies