Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Autism Outside the Mainstream Classroom in NB Schools - 2 Important Tools to Help Your Autistic Child

 If you are a parent of an autistic child in a New Brunswick school receiving ABA instruction outside the mainstream classroom, or  the parent of any autistic child who does not function well in the mainstream classroom (MSCR) environment, you will probably face increasing pressure to have your child educated in the MSCR as a result of the recent election of the  Conservative government.
Educators will be under increasing pressure, arising from the extreme inclusion philosophy, and influence, of  Cabinet Minister in Waiting Jody Carr and David Alward advisor Gordon Porter, to reduce the numbers of children receiving their learning outside the mainstream classroom.

If your child learns better in an environment outside the Mainstream Classroom you will have to be prepared to firmly, but politely, never losing your cool, and always remaining courteous, fight back against  pressures to place your child in the MSCR with Gordon Porter and Jody Carr directing, or heavily influencing,  education in NB .  There are two important tools available for you to use; A Framework for an Integrated Service Delivery System for Persons with Autism in New Brunswick from the Interdepartmental Committee on Services to Persons with Autism", November 2001 (The IDC Autism Report) and the Department of Education's Definition of Inclusion, October  2009. 

1. The IDC Autism Report, November 2001 -  Accepted Evidence Based Principle

Gordon Porter's vision of Full Mainstream Inclusion for all was born in NB  long ago and it's stranglehold on the best interests and education of our children has been weakened only by  strong , well informed, advocacy from parents with autistic children. Full inclusion is based on philospohy and belief but not on evidence and the key to resisting the full inclusion advocates who would take away the gains made by your autistic child is to fight back, fight back using evidence based arguments and the evidence based principle that was accepted by the New Brunswick government in the report "A Framework for an Integrated Service Delivery System for Persons with Autism in New Brunswick from the Interdepartmental Committee on Services to Persons with Autism" which was completed in November 2001.  In that report, in the Executive Summary, and in the treatment recommendations for  the Committee endorsed evidence based practices for the delivery of autism services in Health, Social Services and Education. In Numbered paragraph 4 of the recommendations the Committee stated:

4. That early competent intensive interventions based on empirical evidence of efficacy be available for pre-school children with autism.

2. Department of Education - Definition of Inclusive Education, October 2009 - Individual Needs Of The Child Should Guide Decisions Which Must Be Evidence Based

The focus on pre-school children with autism was expanded with the decision to train Teacher Assistants and Resource Teachers at the UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Training program. Some 500 such trained personnel are now working with NB students many providing ABA service which to date remains the only evidence based intervention for autistic pre-schoolers or students.  The quasi-government NBACL does not recognize the need for quieter areas outside the mainstream classroom will be necessary for some children with autism to learn properly, particularly those with ABA based instruction requirements. NBACL, with its insistence that all children be educated in the MSCR,  played a dominant role in the Ministerial Committee review of inclusive education practices  but despite that dominance the Committee accepted in its Definition  of Inclusive Education, 2009 that inclusive education and decisions to help children reach their full learning potential must be based on (i) the individual needs of the child and (ii) founded on evidence  in  its Definition of  Inclusive Education, 2009:

I. Vision

An evolving and systemic model of inclusive education where all children reach their full learning potential and decisions are based on the individual needs of the student and founded on evidence.

If your child with autism requires learning for all or part of the day  in an environment outside the mainstream classroom gather the evidence in support of your position carefully including medical diagnostic reports, assessment reports and recommendations from any professionals involved with your child.  Use that evidence to demonstrate your child's individual needs requirements.  Use the IDC Autism Report, 2001  and the Definition of Inclusive Education, 2009 to support your case.

Present your case calmly and courteously and be prepared in SEP meetings with your evidence and the above documents to help you. Good luck.

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