What Inclusion in Education Means

Autism is something that is frequently misunderstood in our society. When we hear the word ‘autism’, some people might often imagine children who are misbehaved and disobedient. There is an underlying notion amongst the society that children with autism are ‘disabled’. This notion requires a great shift! We should view children with learning difficulties as ‘differently-abled’ and tailor our education systems to promote inclusion.

Visual learners

In the article ‘Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism’, Mary Temple Grandin explains how the tailored education she received effectively enabled her learning. She describes that children with autism are visual learners, instead of verbal learners. This may be because children on the autistic spectrum tend to focus on specific details rather than generic details.

They might learn at a slower pace than other children and the digestion of visual information tends to last longer than verbal information. This approach suggests that instead of telling a child that 1 + 1 equals 2, it might be more beneficial to demonstrate through the use of objects such as building blocks. It would visually demonstrate that adding two items together would result in two items altogether.

Inclusion in education 2Have an adequate structure

 

Every child is different and having a sufficient level of structure can be helpful. This can vary from having a teacher supporter to implement certain behaviours in the classroom. Grandin’s article tells the benefits of being involved in a structured nursery school from the age of 2 ½ which effectively taught her good manners and behaviours.

In Lynne Soraya’s blog ‘Asperger’s Diary’, she associates her social experiences without structure to feeling like ‘a torture chamber of random punishments’. She credits this situation to the fact that she was unable to pick up on certain social rules and expectations as easily as another individual would do.

She also details the safety and security that having a structure provides. From her experience, the structure she had from an early age provided comfort and helped her to associate her social experiences. It resulted in predictability and specific do’s and don’ts for her to follow.

We do think children all over the world deserve an education. Education plays a vital role in the empowerment of children. We must tailor the way we provide education to encompass children of varying abilities.

Written by: Dhinya Edirisinghe

Sources:

  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/aspergers-diary/201403/using-structure-help-autistic-kids-build-flexibility
  • https://www.lcsc.org/cms/lib/MN01001004/Centricity/Domain/15/Teaching_Tips.pdf
  • https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/learning-about-asd/about-asd/learning-strengths-asd