AUTISM EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Autistic children should be placed in schools with Special Needs Teachers and experienced staff that understand Autism.   Autistic children learn to mimic and copy people; they should ideally not be separated from typical community involvement and activities.  It is imperative that Autistic children are exposed to typical role models so that they can learn what is socially appropriate. 

Autistic children are more difficult to teach than learning disabled children due to Autistic children having problems with social skills. Autistic children are also sensitive children. Exposure to teasing and bullying in “normal” school can cause already stress prone children to have more meltdowns than normal.  This is why some parents decide that it is best for their child living with Asperger Syndrome to be placed in a Special Needs School for Autistic children.

Except for the term Autism Spectrum Disorders, Autism is also known by other terms such as High Functioning Autism and Low Functioning Autism.  Asperger Syndrome is also called Mild Autism making it clear that there are different types of Autism

Children suffering from Asperger Syndrome or Mild Autism have excellent reading skills; they are articulate and very willing to learn. Socially they are not very competent, in actual fact they live in their own world.  Children that are living with Autism, especially High Functioning Autism can make it through school, even university. This is due to the fact that children with Aspergers Autism have magnificent memory capacity.  Did you know that there are many famous people with Autism?

Unfortunately, children living with Autism grow up to be adults living with Autism.  As these Autistic kids grow up their life experiences increases but their Autism Symptoms never disappear.  There is no cure for Autism at this stage.

Autism Sensory problems, socially unacceptable behaviour and social anxiety will never disappear. Worst of all is the fact that Autistic people mostly do not exhibit any physical disability.

The “normal” public do not understand Autism and expect to see visible signs on the body of the child that suffer from Autism.  Children on the Autistic Spectrum looks just like other normal people; in fact most of them have the features of angels!

Currently 1 in 99 children born each day in South Africa will suffer from Autism their whole life or until a cure is found.  To make matters worse, there is only a hand full of schools catering for Autistic children.  This means that the majority of children, who have Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Africa, never go to school and never receive Autism Specific Training which they so desperately need and deserve.

The families of children and adults with an Autism Disorder do not have access to Autism Support, and Autism Grants to support the family is non excitant.  Only the parents of a child living with Autism and especially Asperger Syndrome can tell you how very expensive it is to raise a child on the Autism Spectrum.

Very few people can point out the differences between Autism in infants, Autism in toddlers, Autism in teenagers or Autism in Adults.  I know of many Adults finding out in their late forties and fifties that they have Asperger Syndrome or so called Mild Autism.  Only then do people in the family start to understand why this person always seemed to be different, did not seem to fit in!

Imagine only understanding Autism and Autism symptoms after suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders for so many years.  Starting to understand for the first time after having spent a lifetime on anger management, issues related to Autism Sensory Problems. Understanding for the first time why you burst into tears at the slightest provocation.  Imagine only now understanding why people made fun of you and realizing that people bullied you because they could!

What’s more, imagine how a teenager with Asperger Autism must feel as they become older. Older Autistic teenagers start to realise they are different.  They start to realise that they do not have a clue of how and where they fit into society. 

Make no mistake, Autistic people want to fit in, they just do not know how to.  Given the lack of Autism services and Autism specific schools, practically nonexistent Autism Education and barely any Autism support groups, where does that leave people living with Autism?

When you read the above it seems that “neurotypical” people, that are “normal” adults and children, have all the opportunities, services and education, while children and adults on the Autism Spectrum are left behind.  What has happened to human rights with regard to education as far as people living with Autism is concerned?

Many Autistic people are gifted and talented, but Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms have a profaned impact on their daily lives.  It is difficult for them to make friends. Yes, they want to make friends, but because they are socially inept, they do not possess the necessary skills or understanding of socially acceptable behaviour to enable them to have relationships with so called “normal” people.

A lack of Autism Recourses and affordable Autism Books makes it difficult for already cash strapped parents to find appropriate ways of detailing with Autistic Behaviour and dealing with the affects of Autism on the affected child and the family as a whole.