As a parent, we want the best for our children. We recognize that all children are unique and different, but a foundational hope is for our children to achieve their maximum potential. The picture that I commonly see with school aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) causes me distress. All too often, the children, who I meet, have great learning potential, but sadly are not doing well. When a child’s achievement dramatically does not reflect their learning capacity, one has to ask the question, “Why?”
I recently read a study where the question was asked, “Are children with ASD, who have an average IQ, academically achieving to the level that one would expect?”
The quick and simple answer, based on this study is “No”.
Even though the children with autism had the typical supports that inclusive education offers (Special Education Teacher and Educational Assistant), they significantly underachieved academically when compared to their typically developing peers (who also had an average IQ).
The study concludes that if we expect our children with ASD to academically achieve their potential, inclusive education needs to provide more. I will go a step further and say that we do not just need more resources (quantity) we need specific education and experience for those who are supporting these children (quality). The concept of Inclusion is incredible, the concept is not the issue, it is the quality of resources that are available. There is a wealth of knowledge that exists surrounding the population of autism. There are proven strategies, techniques and protocols that work, let's use them.