Vive la dif­fer­ence

We should em­brace those with spe­cial needs, not seg­re­gate them

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - STAY AT HOME MUM with Jody Allen Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stay­ath­ome­mum.com.au

IWANTED to write this as soon as I saw the head­lines, but I needed to take a breath and gather my thoughts be­cause it would have just been a s*** rant. And you don’t wanna see that.

So ICYMI, Sen­a­tor Pauline Han­son took the floor in the Se­nate, and this time her aim was fo­cused on kids with ad­di­tional needs. I am not go­ing to talk about Pauline and the stuff she said, be­cause that has been well and truly cov­ered.

She is se­ri­ously one of the most un­e­d­u­cated and big­oted politi­cians we have ever had. We know that. If I have to take a pos­i­tive out of a neg­a­tive (and boy, is it a neg­a­tive) it is that peo­ple are talk­ing about autism in the school sys­tem.

I am a par­ent of a child with autism. My child is in the main­stream school sys­tem, in a pub­lic school. There are an­other cou­ple of kids in his class who are on the spec­trum. The other kids know them, know what they are like, can spot their trig­gers.

They have learned to deal with it and help them and the teacher. Be­cause you know what – that is life. There is al­ways go­ing to be some­one dif­fer­ent, some­one who looks dif­fer­ent or acts dif­fer­ent. Uni­ver­sity and the work­place all have peo­ple who are dif­fer­ent. And shouldn’t we learn to em­brace that from an early age rather than seg­re­gate and cre­ate a “sep­a­rate class’’ of peo­ple?

If kids are seg­re­gated into a “spe­cial class” in schools, then how on earth are they go­ing to learn to live in the real world? How will they cope when they leave school?

And look at the other side of the coin. How will kids who don’t have autism or other learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties learn about deal­ing with those who are dif­fer­ent?

Just re­mem­ber, there is a great chance that there is a child on the spec­trum right now, some­where in the world, who might find that cure for can­cer. Or who will cre­ate clean and cheap power for the world. They think dif­fer­ently, out­side the square.

Re­mem­ber Ein­stein? Ex­perts be­lieve he was on the spec­trum. Same with Mozart, Isaac New­ton and Charles Dar­win. We think that the gov­ern­ment needs to con­cen­trate on spend­ing money on train­ing teach­ers to be bet­ter equipped to teach chil­dren with dif­fer­ent dis­abil­i­ties so th­ese chil­dren can be in a proper class­room en­vi­ron­ment.

Fund­ing is also needed to em­ploy ad­di­tional trained aides so that teach­ers have help in the class­room so that kids with dis­abil­i­ties can get one on one sup­port if needed.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

◗ Sep­a­rat­ing autis­tic chil­dren from other kids will not serve any­one well.

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