Name of article: Autistic Spectrum Disorders: A Challenge and a Model for Inclusion in
Name of Author(s): Rita Jordan
Name of Journal: British Journal of Special Education
Date of Publish: March 2008
In this article, Jordan touches upon the idea that education if more than just a type of ‘treatment’ for individuals with ASD. She describes education to be “the way that citizens are taught the values, understanding, knowledge and skills that will enable their full participation in their community”, thus making it the gateway to full social inclusion in society. She runs through the growth and development of our knowledge and understanding of those with ASD and how the degree of autism is the sole determinant of the level of intelligence that the individual will have.
Many techniques to help those with ASD were based on the therapeutic model of education; that is, “its power to help the individuals overcome the developmental difficulties arising from their autism.” As part of the social and political movement towards inclusion and partly because they had not yet been identified as autistic, a majority of children with ASD were placed in mainstream schools. Inclusion came to be seen as a right and a matter of social justice, thus, children could only become a full member of society through education.
As part of the National Curriculum, the model of ‘breaking down’ curriculum into smaller steps, which was often effective for individuals with learning difficulties, was not appropriate for those individuals with ASD. As a result, “the teaching approaches in mainstream schools were not changed to accommodate children with ASD, as it was assumed that the content was of equal relevance to all children.”
Interaction with peers plays a vital role in inclusion for those with ASD, however, many of the ‘supports’ to enable inclusion of children with ASD are only causing them to become more isolated from their peers. Until...