The $700,000-program aims not only to raise autism awareness as well as train teachers on the important basics of dealing with students on the spectrum, it also hopes to push Southern Australia to be the national leader in autism education.
The program will accommodate one teacher and one leadership-level school official from each of the 40 participating schools, in hopes of changing the schools’ conventional approach to students with autism.
A post-graduate program will be offered at the Flinders University by next year, which aims to transform teachers who have completed introductory courses to become specialists in the field of autism education.
The state’s education ministry is hoping to push the qualifications of educators in the state “beyond the basics of autism education”, with the aim of addressing the issues that students with autism face in the country. It also hopes for the program participants to develop positive leadership traits, and for them to pass the knowledge they gained through the program to their colleagues, with the ultimate goal of creating “autism-friendly” schools.
According to Flinders School of Education Associate Professor Kerry Bissaker:
“Research indicates high-quality professional learning, specifically programs that include a tertiary qualification as an outcome, makes a difference on a number of levels for teachers and most importantly for students’ quality of life and learning.”
The program will equip educators with the essentials in the proper handling of students on the autism spectrum, as well as a sufficient grasp of the proper and effective methods in teaching students with autism. Professor Bissaker told:
“The new program will be rigorous and complement other professional development initiatives in this area, while having the flexibility to respond to the diverse range of student needs across the autism spectrum.”
Source: The Daily Telegraph: Australia State Government to Train 80 Teachers to Work with Autistic Children Under $700,000 Program