Bendigo mum calls for autism support

Conference to change attitudes

HELP NEEDED: A Bendigo mum has listed areas for improvement when it comes to teaching children on the autism spectrum.

HELP NEEDED: A Bendigo mum has listed areas for improvement when it comes to teaching children on the autism spectrum.

A BENDIGO mum says the education system is failing children on the autism spectrum.

Sarah, who did not wish to use her surname, wrote a letter to the Bendigo Advertiser offering suggestions for areas of improvement.

"I have a child with autism and I have a Facebook group that I opened up about two years ago - the Bendigo Autism Support Group," she said.

"It's really helped families to connect, help each other, talk to people because a lot of people don't understand what we go through every day.

"A lot of people take the 'poor me' approach but I don't really want to have that angle because we all have our hardships.

"What I want is a solution to say we're all struggling, we're all getting unfair treatment, and if this happens and this happens, change could be made. If we as a community band together just maybe there could be a bit of change."

Sarah said teachers needed to use different strategies for children on the spectrum, including appropriate time-out spaces, visual and iPad technologies.

She said teachers also needed additional support and training.

"If every 30 minutes the class as a whole could have a sensory break that's going to help the whole class, including the ASD boy who is cracking inside and needing a break before he becomes 'just another behavioural problem'," Sarah said.

Sarah said sensory breaks, visual time tables and dimmed lights would also help.

"I don't want to sit here pointing blame," she said. 

"Kids on the spectrum are wired differently to other kids in a classroom - they communicate differently.

"Schools need to have a connection to a specialist who can come in and support them and I think schools need to do yearly or six monthly personal development to update their skills in this area."

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