Pi­lot for autis­tic stu­dents a Band-Aid fix

Toronto Star - - OPINION -

Re Pi­lot will let autis­tic kids get ther­apy at school,

Oct. 26 It is not merely a ques­tion of “lack of school ser­vices” but lack of com­pli­ance with the le­gal re­quire­ments cur­rently in place through the On­tario gov­ern­ment.

Ap­plied be­hav­iour anal­y­sis (ABA) prin­ci­ples can be ap­plied to any and all stu­dents. Ed­u­ca­tion on how to ef­fec­tively ap­ply ABA prin­ci­ples can­not merely be taught through on­line cour­ses. One must learn how to ob­serve stu­dents ef­fec­tively in dif­fer­ent con­texts to de­ter­mine what is needed; de­ter­mine how the child learns best; and how the en­vi­ron­ment is af­fect­ing the child be­fore an ap­pro­pri­ate plan can even be de­vel­oped to sup­port the child in learn­ing.

What the gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing here is solely a Band-Aid ap­proach to a much larger prob­lem. What the gov­ern­ment needs to re­view is: how it can ef­fec­tively en­sure com­pli­ance with le­gal re­quire­ments; how teacher ed­u­ca­tion can be im­proved so that all teach­ers can teach us­ing dif­fer­en­ti­ated in­struc­tion tech­niques; how ed­u­ca­tional as­sis­tants must be ed­u­cated to per­form the du­ties nec- es­sary to ef­fec­tively sup­port stu­dents and teach­ers; and how to re­spect­fully and ac­tively en­gage fam­i­lies in au­then­tic, col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ships to bet­ter in­form and im­prove the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem in this province.

This gov­ern­ment must be­gin to lis­ten and take ac­tion to truly achieve the so­cial jus­tice that Premier Kath­leen Wynne talks about. It’s time to walk the talk. It’s past due. Ja­nis Jaffe-White, co-or­di­na­tor, and Reva Schafer, re­source par­ent, Toronto Fam­ily Net­work

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