People with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis are capable of achieving incredible success just like anyone else.
Sir Anthony Hopkins, Susan Boyle, Dan Aykord are just a couple of names you can easily recognize, as they come from the entertainment industry. Still, numerous others are excelling in the academic or business field.
On the other side, official data suggest that people living with autism in the UK have one of the lowest employment rates of all disability groups, with only 21.7 % of adults with autism having any employment.
The reasons for such exclusion of persons with autism from the labor market are rooted deep within our society, but we can start a chain reaction by changing current practices, piece by piece.
One of the aspects we should pay more attention to is the inclusive education of kids with autism for their future careers.
Why Inclusive Teaching?
Inclusive education means that kids with special needs attend regular classes, and we should treat them just like other students, no matter their results on autism assessments. This means having people with all sorts of disabilities out of the institutions and into the community, using all the resources the community has to offer, together with all the others, with support tailored to their individual needs. Like the community symbol of autism is a puzzle piece, each of these individuals has a unique personality but can fit in with the others and has their place, making the picture complete.
The idea is mainly based on Wolfensberger’s principle of normalization, which, when summarized, stands for all persons, regardless of their ability, living, and learning, in a way that is as close as possible to the general population’s life.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also obliges us to provide equal opportunities to persons with disabilities, including access to inclusive, quality, and free schooling in their community. For the adults, programs for special needs are vital so that they can boost their skills and have the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities.
Even though its primary purpose is educational, inclusive teaching provides people with autism much more than education. It increases their chances for employment and opens the way towards a more independent, fulfilled living.
What makes inclusive education so important?
Building Communication Skills
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder often find it hard to communicate with others and have trouble maintaining friendships. Through inclusive education they have an opportunity to develop their communication and social skills.
They can observe how the other children behave in the classroom and different everyday situations and learn by example. Interactions with peers at school allow them to practice communication and build friendships, too.
Developed mainstream communicational skills are the basis for any kind of employment. And, to put it very simply, you can genuinely acquire and improve those skills only if you’re included in mainstream society.
Building Social Skills
Inclusive teaching also offers kids with ASD opportunities to participate in all sorts of activities, together with their peers, allowing them to understand societal expectations better and develop necessary social skills.
This way, children with ASD can model and practice behaviors accepted by mainstream society and later generalize and apply those skills to diverse settings.
By successfully handling various situations, these kids will understand their strengths better and develop a sense of worth and self-esteem.
Without socially valued skills and models of behavior, opportunities for employment and a future career are significantly narrowed down.
Inclusive teaching can also be seen as an excellent way to increase autism awareness among mainstream children, as they have an opportunity to learn about autism from their own experience. This way, they can also learn to embrace diversity and practice empathy, passing on their insights to their friends and parents.
Only together can we form a society where, with adequate support, children with autism will grow up into adults who have equal opportunities to work and excel at what they do.
About the author
Stephen Jones is a freelance writer and a new father. “Becoming a father for the first time is not easy, but it is so much happiness that complicated things are handled in the best way because the baby is the fruit of love and he brings great satisfaction.” Stephen enjoys writing about health, food, nutrition, and children’s health for other parents. “Freelance writing has always been my passion so I combined the two and hopes to be able to share my passion with others!” Facebook Twitter