Making school work
School is not for just one year, it's seven years for kinder and primary and another six at high school. Which means whatever setting your child is attending school, it’s so important that you are prepared for what can be a very demanding time.
The school years are long
The school you start at is not necessarily the school your child will finish at. Sometimes children will begin schooling in a setting that everyone feels is the most appropriate but after a year or two as your child's needs change you may need to make changes to their learning environment.
It can take a number of weeks for a child to settle into a new school setting but by at least the end of the first school term, you should be communicating effectively with your child’s teacher about any behaviours that need to be addressed.
Educators want the best outcomes for your child, almost as much as you do, so be optimistic about what might be possible.
Supporting diverse learners
Creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all students is integral to learning.
The educational needs and way of learning for students on the autism spectrum are often different to their neurotypical peers. It’s therefore vital that teachers adapt teaching practices, learning environments and programs to help support autistic students achieve their best outcome.
Educational advocacy & rights
We recognise that sometimes, even with the best mindset and investigation, it still might be a challenging process to find a school that best meets your child’s individual needs.
There are some valuable sources for information and educational advocacy in case families need extra support and counsel on our website.
Bullying can have a horrible effect on its victims, and children and teens with special needs are at particular risk of being targeted.
We have some valuable resources that can be leveraged by parents/carers, teachers, and young people themselves to help prevent and address bullying. See here more information.
We appreciate that links alone cannot solve this crisis. It requires the commitment from families, communities, and schools —especially our schools — to insist upon a “No Tolerance” policy toward bullying while promoting an environment that is understanding and accepting of differences.
Disclosure of a diagnosis
Some parents are concerned about disclosing their child's diagnosis to their child’s school, especially if it’s a late diagnosis, fearing that their child may be ‘labelled’ and treated differently.
Often these concerns are unfounded as many schools have a lot of experience working with lots of different types of children with different learning styles and needs. Chances are they already know there is a neurodevelopmental challenge of some kind and you will just be confirming something they’re already managing.
It’s beneficial for the school and your child’s teachers to understand their learning profile to identify issues and supports they might need.
If you are still concerned about this, it might be appropriate for you to disclose the diagnosis with key staff at the school only. Children in mainstream schools these days often have classmates with disabilities so supporting an open and inclusive environment will likely lead to a better outcome for everybody.
For further information and school resources please visit Autism Awareness Australia’s school section.