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ReachoutASC:BLOG

Our Blog will include contributions from a number of autism specialists. Lynn, Matt and Emma work for Reachout ASC, plus occasional guest bloggers.
We love to hear about your ideas, opinions, challenges and tips so please join in the conversation!
Lynn McCann

Inclusion Is Hard Work...But Don't Give Up!

Here at REACHOUT ASC we are committed to making mainstream school work for children with Autism.  There are many benefits of staying in the mainstream system, such as a supportive peer group, wider opportunities, good life chances and inclusion in the community.  This doesn't mean that special schools don't give these things, but we are committed to inclusion because we believe it can and should work well for the pupil with ASC (particularly those who are academically able) and their peers, so all benefit from being and learning together.

The reality is that inclusion is hard.  There are so many factors involved from the environments to lack of funding; from attitudes to lack of understanding and resources.   We have seen inclusion work really well, at primary and secondary schools, and we have seen it fail, and the person who it fails the most…is the child. 

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Are Schools Doing Enough for Pupils with ASC?

Now there's a question. Actually it's the question next week's #behaviourchat on twitter (Monday 30th Nov 8.00pm) is going to be discussing,  and as I've just started a yoga class at that precise time, I thought I would give my contribution in this blog post.

Everyone knows that Autism or ASC diagnosis is on the rise, and in the past ten years or so I have seen more and more children (and adults) being diagnosed. Hardly a day goes by without me hearing of someone else who has been diagnosed as a child or adult.   Almost every school has one or more pupils with a diagnosis and increasingly more complex children are attending mainstream schools. 

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Bullying and Autism. We SHOULD do something.

When I was a girl we played out in the street with all the other kids in the street.  There was one boy in our group we all called 'fatty Norman' and would often make fun of him and leave him out.

At the same time, at school,  I was called names because I looked liked Olive Oil from the Popeye cartoons.   My siblings were called names because they had ginger hair.   At some point we were left out, called cruel names and even pushed around or hit because we were different.... 

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Why Whole School Autism Training is Money Well Spent

​ I first heard the term 'autism' in 2003.  I was an early years teacher at the time and the class list for the new year informed me that I had three statemented children, two who had autism, one with cerebral palsy and a couple of children who were under investigation for global development delay.  By then I had been teaching for 12 years, been trained in SEN and had always been interested in supporting pupils with SEN.  These children had teaching assistants assigned to them, we considered ourselves a well organised with an inclusive environment and I was really looking forward to getting to know the children and meeting their needs.  But it turned out a little more difficult than we anticipated…

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Would you expel a four year old?

"Did you hear about that four year old that got expelled from school?"

"Gosh, a four year old, that's shocking.  What must a four year old be like to get expelled?"

What would you say in answer to this?  Would you think hitting other children, running away, refusing to comply, screaming loudly, throwing themselves on the floor, running away and…shock…horror…even hitting the teacher…be grounds enough for expulsion…at four? 

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