04 Apr Sending your Autistic child to a school for normal developing children
Many ECD centers (and some schools) in South Africa will allow a learner with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to enroll. In some cases, these centers and schools will provide appropriate education and social settings for your autistic child BUT in many instances they will not.
It is important to remember that being accepted into a mainstream school does not necessarily mean your child is going to get the education they deserve or need.
So, whilst it is amiable that schools try to help our children, they will often struggle to implement a meaningful educational program for your child.
Some autistic children will be able to cope with a Public-school education or a mainstream school education and others will not. It will all depend on the child’s needs and abilities as well as aspect such as:
- The Early Childhood Development Centre or School’s classroom support or special needs support program.
- The school’s adaptations to their mainstream Curriculum and whether they can accommodate a learner with Development Delays and a Spectrum of Development challenges.
- Therapy support for the learners so ensure motor challenges, physical challenges and speech delays are address and worked on daily.
- School’s ability to accommodate learners with special educational needs (LSEN) from a sensory integration perspective.
- School’s ability to accommodate learners with special educational needs from a Communication and Language Processing or AAC perspective.
Should your autistic child be academically capable, then they can be taught the same curriculum as their peers. If the child has moderate intellectual, learning or attention challenges then they may need to be taught at a pace that is much slower and with more visual resources in place.
Knowing your child, understanding their academic challenges as well as they social / emotional or behavior and anxiety challenges will help you make a decision regarding a mainstream education.
Please just ensure that your child receives the right support to be at least moderately successful in a typical educational setting, because it is not about finding a school for your child. It is about finding the right school for your child where magic will happen when your child is given the support they deserve.