Darren's Adjustments

Darren's adjustments

Darren, like many other boys his age, loves motorbikes and superheroes – and he has an autism spectrum disorder. He attends a small public primary school, where he is flourishing.

Before they enrolled him in the school, Darren’s parents had sought a meeting with the Principal to enquire about what support might be available. Fortunately for Darren, the school was already working with two other students with autism, and the Principal was able to explain the adjustments which had been put in place for those students. All teachers and teacher aides at the school had undertaken professional development in working with students with autism spectrum disorders. Each student worked one-on-one with a teacher’s aide for one hour of every day, and for the rest of the time with their class. Each student with an ASD had a personalised learning plan which was reviewed every two weeks; this was developed in consultation between the teacher, the aide, the parents and an educational psychologist, and updated every term. The school also had close links with the local community health organisation and worked to develop a broad program of student wellbeing.

The Principal commented that, since implementing these measures, the students with autism were making great progress – both socially and academically – and that the teachers and aides were finding that their new skills could be put to good use with all students, whether or not they had autism. Darren’s parents were impressed by the school’s clear commitment to meeting the needs of all students, and also by the school’s willingness to seek external support where necessary.

After six months at the school, Darren’s parents are delighted that his maths and reading ability are at grade level. They are particularly pleased that Darren has made good friends in his class, and that he is gaining in confidence and willingness to try new things.