Many children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome, are often pulled out by their parents from mainstream education. This is because autistic children find the transition from primary to secondary school difficult to adjust. Parents say that primary school is better suited to their children because of the one-classroom-one-teacher method of teaching. But secondary schools are usually huge with an environment that’s overwhelming for autistic children who find it difficult to cope with classroom changes and numerous teachers.
Majority of the children having autism spectrum disorder are paranoid about going to school. They cry, cling to their parents, run away, fall ill, and are labeled as “school refuse”. Some children remain tensed throughout the school-day, and often “explode” after returning home. According to some parents, the distress their children experience is so severe that many of them threaten suicide.
In most cases, the difficulties of autistic children with their school are related to sensory issues like fear and anxiety. They feel overwhelmed in noisy corridors and can’t cope with large groups of children in school. Many others find it difficult to locate their classroom or turn up with the right equipment.
The pastoral support available in schools can be of great help to autistic children. Special needs coordinators help such children to get organized.
Many parents complain that their children are subject to bullying. That, in fact, is one of the most important reasons why parents pull out their children from regular school. Children with autism spectrum disorder are often singled out because they are deemed different from others. The larger section of people don’t like those who are not, as it’s said, normal. They become frightened and an invisible barrier is raised almost immediately. Autistic children are particularly vulnerable during the lunch time where there’s no support worker around.
Some parents said that their children were bullied because they were over-sensitive to injustice. Some said that even teachers, who had no idea about autism spectrum disorder, bullied children. Autistic children are bullied even in colleges and universities, as studies have found out.
Most parents rue the lack of awareness among people as one of the main causes of the society being insensitive to autistic children. People must understand that the likes and dislikes of such children are not like any neuro-typical person. Children with autism are more sensitive to the world around them and people have to be more responsive to their needs.