Choosing a mainstream school for a child on the autism spectrum: what you need to know
There’s no better time than Education Week to think about your child’s schooling.
If you’d like to enrol your child in a mainstream school, or change schools, it’s worth remembering that cut off dates may be determined on a school by school basis.
Do you want to apply for the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) funding? If the answer’s ‘yes’, and you want that funding to be effective from the beginning of the 2018 school year, you need to ensure you have enough time to gather any evidence you need, complete the application with the school, and enable the application to be processed before the end of this school year.
How children on the autism spectrum get on in a mainstream school depends on the staff, their understanding of autism, flexibility of rules, and willingness to understand and provide for the needs of the children.
There are positive reports from parents about schools that successfully meet the needs of the student, and teachers who have done their homework and make school a happy place to be, as well as poor stories of lack of understanding and inclusion.
What do you want for your child?
You need to think carefully about what you want for your child and what your child will be capable of in relation to school.
Gather all the information you have about your child – assessment reports, progress reports and ask all those who have worked with your child what they think about schooling.
Make some preliminary decisions about types of schools, and then start looking around.