According to statistics coming out of the UK, over 70%of children with autism are educated in mainstream schools. The others go through special arrangements. As a parent or guardian, one thing that stands paramount in your mind is properly equipping your child to live a rewarding life. This is even more pertinent for those with autistic children. Another statistic from the UK: 60% of teachers in the UK do not feel that they have adequate training to teach children with autism, while 35% think that it has become harder to access specialist support for children with autism.
Faced with these statistics, should you take your child out of school? What options are available for you and your child?
According to reports, the NDIS School Leaver Support or SLES will soon be available across for all eligible school leavers across all of Australia.
The eligibility of your child is determined during their last year at school. So you could talk to his teachers at the beginning of your child’s final year of school to find out when the SLES support will take effect.
If you are wondering what this is all about, NDIS guidelines give a lot of insight in their guidelines saying: “The SLES is a new, reasonable and necessary support for Year 12 school leavers to assist them transition from school and into employment. Supports may include work experience, generally in open employment, job site training, travel training and activities that contribute to achieving an employment outcome and linkages to ongoing employment support”.
The support which your autistic child receives should you take them out of school is not limited to SLES either-you can have other necessary supports tabled into your NDIS plan.
The SLES program is modelled on NWS’s exemplary Transition to Work program (TTW) where several providers make themselves available to offer the best vocational outcome for your kid.
This abundance of choice as to whom you entrust the future of your autistic child, once they leave school, gives you an excellent chance to exercise some measure of control.
How do you pick the best provider for your child with special needs?
You could use the government’s ‘Star Ratings’ systems, but that would not be of much help in the case of an autistic child leaving school.
Before anything else, you would want to make up your mind to interview more than one provider before making a choice. That said, here are a few model questions you can ask which are culled from Martin Wren’s book ‘The Ten Demandments – how to improve employment services for people with disability’
- Could you show me some examples of people with similar barriers to mine for whom you have found long term employment?
- How do you match my needs with the needs of an employer?
- If you are the person who’s helping me, how many other people on your caseload?
- For the jobs you find for people with similar barriers to mine, on average how many hours work per week?
- How do you keep job seekers motivated?
- For the jobs you find, what’s the average stay in employment?
- Tell me about your staff training program
- What other support assistance is available?
- How do you provide post placement support?
Past performance is the greatest predictor of future success, so use these questions to identify a provider that is right for your child.
Whether or not to take your child with autism out of school is a decision which every parent should seriously consider, especially with all the great options that are available for your autistic child.
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