Should my son be discriminated from preschool because of Autism????

mitcore 6 February 2010 46

Hi all, it has been a long time since i have posted here

I am posting this today to get advice or find out the laws for discriminating an autistic child from entering main stream preschool, I was told by the deputy principle that my 4 yr son shouldnt be entering pre school until term 3 or even term 4.

They did not give a reason on why this is to happen, I had his preschool teacher, very rudely comment that it would be better for her because she needs to settle her *normal* children into preschool, she has another special need child attending her class and from what i know there is no issue for that child to attend in term 1, (this statement has angered me and i have been trying to find out what the laws are for discrimination),

I do have to say my son is not toliet trainned and from what i have been told they can not stop him from entering mainstream school because of this, my 4 yr old son is newly diagnosesed with autism and i am now feeling that i am fighting for him to be able to do what other children are doing, he attends an EIU with no issues to the lack of toilet training, he is not able to socialise with other children, but should this be an excuse for him not to attend????

I say no, he has a very good understanding on what is asked of him and will do most requests when asked for, has anyone else suffered like this, if so can you pls tell me what to do and where i stand as far as the laws are concerned

Thank you all for reading

cheers mitcore

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46 Responses to Should my son be discriminated from preschool because of Autism????
we_three we_three 2:49 pm 11 Mar 10

grunge_hippy said :

autistic or not, your child should be toilet trained by 4. unless they are in a wheelchair and impaired in some other way, then this is just an excuse. there are numerous websites that have many different methods of teaching toilet training, especially ASD children. google is your friend.

i know this because i am a teacher of autistic kids in a mainstream school. unless you start helping yourself, you are going to get nowhere fast. you are especially are not going to do yourself or your child any favours by starting their education on the wrong foot by pissing people off who are trying to help you.

Hi Mitcore,
This is the wrong place to be getting advice, you will only receive ignorant responses like that above. Therapy ACT will be able to help you and connect you with services to help your child. I’m a mum of an autistic boy myself, he was toilet trained just before turning 4, and only because he was copying his younger brother going to the toilet. Ignore the TT comments on here from people who obviously have no experience with children with autism, otherwise they would know that toilet training is a common problem and that some can’t actually be trained until they are 10 or older.

I would be upset too if I were you, your child has as much of a right to be at school as any other child, regardless of whether she is using the toilet or not. If your child has a diagnosis of autism, The department of education will give your child an STA who will take care of nappies etc. My little guy started a few weeks after the other kids, for his own benefit and not for the other children or teacher. It was so that the other children could settle in to the routine, because as we know our autistic kids need routine and structure and it is easier for them when the other kids are in the routine as well.

I’m sorry that you have had such rude responses on here, unfortunately this is the society that we live in and people aren’t always accepting. We will not be building any ‘bridges’, because our children need us to fight for them. If you do not have a child with autism, you have absolutely no idea of the challenges and hurdles we face on a daily basis. It is this type of ignorance that we have to face when our child has a meltdown in the supermarket and people assume they are having a tantrum.

grunge_hippy – if you teach autistic children like you say you do, then you would definitely know that toileting is a huge issue for kids with autism. Which school do you work in? I would not feel confident leaving my child with someone who doesn’t even understand the challenges they face!

Best of luck Mitcore.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 8:35 pm 10 Feb 10

TheDJPea said :

Jim Jones said :

TheDJPea said :

I didn’t read the comments above, however, the long and short of it is they CAN’T discriminate against your child because of autism.

No matter how they try and sugar coat it “We don’t have the facilities” “We don’t have the staff”, the fact is they don’t have the right to discriminate

Try reading the comments, Joel.

No need

Can’t discriminate? Really? Slippery slope, pal…

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 4:18 pm 09 Feb 10

While you might think it unfair that you were turned away since they already have”another special needs child” in the class\school, not all special needs children are as needy as certain others.

The point of getting the Federal $12k entitlement (ask one of the services around town about getting support) is to prepare children who need extra assistance in achieving school entry, and working to diminish their disadvantage, by supplying Early Intervention (AEI) support services through your assisting panel service.
It used to be entirely school-prep based, in that it ended once the Consortium gave a child a Deemed School Attendance date, eligibility ended on that day.
Now its just an Eligibility End Date of around the 7th birthdate (with extension available).

But if people who work with children and special needs cases have concerns that the mainstream education system and classroom environment are not set up to deal with the specific needs of your child, maybe you could trust their professional judgement, listen to their interpretation of your circumstances , and take appropriate actions to address their concerns?
Unless of course you believe that Mother Always Knows Best, then you can go back to questioning the motives of people trying to help.
As a guide, question policy in the first instance, only question motives when you have evidence to support it.

TheDJPea TheDJPea 2:23 pm 09 Feb 10

Jim Jones said :

TheDJPea said :

I didn’t read the comments above, however, the long and short of it is they CAN’T discriminate against your child because of autism.

No matter how they try and sugar coat it “We don’t have the facilities” “We don’t have the staff”, the fact is they don’t have the right to discriminate

Try reading the comments, Joel.

No need

jasmine jasmine 11:34 am 09 Feb 10

Some schools are not resourced to give appropriate attention to a child with special needs. Pre-schools in particular are usually staffed with one main head teacher and a pre-school assistant.

Toilet training is a big issue. A friend of mine kept her son back for a year as he was still not fully toilet trained (he did not have special needs). She tried for a month and was called down by the teacher a number of times each week to change his clothes. In the end she realised he was not ready. He has done well for being held back a year.

Teachers get a raw deal these days. They are expected to be super human, being able to cope with a classroom of children, act as social worker and deal with special needs all without support.

I would see if you can get into the program that allows a special needs child to attend mainstream school with a helper (don’t remember the proper name). They are paid by the Education Department to assist the child with classroom and play activities (if needed) which allows the teacher to get on with the job of teaching.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 1:50 am 09 Feb 10

I would imagine that as a parent you would want a school environment where your childs nees were being met and they had the opportunity to grow and learn in a safe, well resourced and caring environment. Do you really imagine that forcing a school to take your child will provide that?

Fiona Fiona 8:45 pm 08 Feb 10

This topic has had my brain churning today 😉

@justanotherreader – what units and schools have closed down? In the recent closures most units moved to new schools.

Schools do need to be well supported in order to include all children – not just the kids with a ‘diagnosis’ but also those from ESL, disadvantaged backgrounds, gifted kids.

The special ed review has been completed Not that I’ve read it yet, downloading now 😉

On the toileting thing – I don’t see that as being an issue with the right supports. I’m sure EIU are working towards it, as well as at home… but there’s no way a kid with, say, cerbral palsy who is dependent on carers for toileting but may be a close to or average learner with the right supports would be denied entry to preschool or school without challenge.

Spam Box Spam Box 8:37 pm 08 Feb 10

Make contact with these people, they’re brilliant

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)
(PO Box 144 DICKSON 2602)
2 Atherton Street
Phone (02) 6242 5060
Fax (02) 6242 5063
TTY (02) 6242 5065
Web site

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 5:17 pm 08 Feb 10

so long as you have confirmed diagnosis date, he will get $12k in Federal AEI support to use until he turns 7 (normally), find a Panel consortium and use it?

justanotherreader justanotherreader 5:13 pm 08 Feb 10

I am sorry to hear about your son’s diagnosis.
A few years ago there were schools with special needs units around Canberra which helped children with special learning needs. I always thought this to be a sensible and practical approach to educating all children. Since these special needs units and the attached schools have been closed down, these children, as poorly equipped as they are, have been thrust into the mainstream education system under this ‘all inclusive’ policy. While I think ‘all inclusive’ sounds just great, it doesn’t work in reality. The schools are ill equipped to deal with these special needs children and the teacher’s spend most of their time dealing with the special needs kids at the expense of everyone else in the class. If you’re an average or above-average student, you’re all but invisible. Also, some special needs children lash out physically (probably in frustration of their surroundings). There are serial offenders in this category, however they are not disciplined like other ‘normal’ children. The special needs kids get off the hook with a warning (because of the fear of perceived discrimination against a special needs kid), and the kids they’ve attacked have to live in fear. I think it’s the ‘average’ kids who are discriminated against in support of the Government’s all inclusive education policy. Bring back school facilities which are properly equipped to handle children with these kinds of challenges.

churl churl 12:22 pm 08 Feb 10

I looked it up:
EIU = Early Intervention Units
“EIUs provide four hours (2×2 hours) of educational programs per week for groups of 12 children. Programs focus on attending skills, social interaction and independence and are held in preschool classrooms…”

ACT also runs “Autism Intervention Units (AIU”

JessP JessP 12:04 pm 08 Feb 10

I probably should add that my son was stalked by a autistic child in primary school. The child was placed at the school because the parents wanted to send him there and they lived close by. He had problems interacting with other children and forming friendships so he would stalk other children and attack them if they wouldnt be his friend. If this didnt work he would move onto another child. My son was hit with sticks and finally the child attacked him in front of a teacher…fortunately he could get away.

I am in no way saying that your child will have these problems but doesnt my child have the right to have a stress free education too? Ultimately the boy was moved to a school which could meet his needs.

JessP JessP 11:57 am 08 Feb 10

Lets be serious here – He needs the benefits of pre school where they can meet his needs. In a everyday preschool setting a teacher has to consider the needs of the other 24 kids too.

It is not reasonable to think one preschool teacher can manage a special needs child as well as all the other kids at the same time. It is not discrimination it is a reality – your child is not going to get the help they need nor are the other children. Everyone loses.
Standing on your digs and saying it is his right its great but doesnt really provide a sustainable outcome for anyone – especially your childs.

Better to seek assistance from your local Autism Advisor
and get the right help and the right preschool environment.

mitcore mitcore 11:28 am 08 Feb 10

Wow I am blown away by the response to this issue, I had a very quick look at some of the responses and will read each very carefully,

I am currently talking to the powers the be and I have enquired about the discrimation, i am saying this not because of the lack of toileting but because they are *limiting his attendece to pre school* they are not allowed to do this to him it is unlawful, my information was recieved by looking at the dda ( disability discrimanation ACT 1992), it clearly states the above and from talking to my ppl they agree that is the case

My son is currently attending an EIU,

I have enquired about a special need school and are awaiting response
Thank you all for your response
I will read each one and respond to the comments
nice to be back on the riot act


Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:16 am 08 Feb 10

TheDJPea said :

I didn’t read the comments above, however, the long and short of it is they CAN’T discriminate against your child because of autism.

No matter how they try and sugar coat it “We don’t have the facilities” “We don’t have the staff”, the fact is they don’t have the right to discriminate

Try reading the comments, Joel.

TheDJPea TheDJPea 10:12 am 08 Feb 10

I didn’t read the comments above, however, the long and short of it is they CAN’T discriminate against your child because of autism.

No matter how they try and sugar coat it “We don’t have the facilities” “We don’t have the staff”, the fact is they don’t have the right to discriminate

sepi sepi 9:19 am 08 Feb 10

It sounds very tricky and annoying. I think the preschool could have handled this much better.

how are you supposed to plan your life, if you’ve been expecting the child to go to preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays and you’ve planned work etc around it, and the preschool just suddenly says come back in 6 months.

I think the preschool needs to sit down, eplain their reasoning,and offer some solutions, or referrals to other services, or a list of things the child needs to be doing to be ready to come back – or something – anything really, other than just saying ‘P*ss off and come back another time.’

A friend’s child went to preschool not toilet trained, and not really speaking, and in fact preschool were the first place he started to get assessed for having some problems. Forcing kids who need extra help to just stay at home with parents who may be unaware of any problems, or unable to deal with them in any way is not a very good system.

nyssa76 nyssa76 7:16 am 08 Feb 10

To be honest I would seek out assistance with Student Support. They can provide the names of schools which have Autism Units attached and STAs/Teachers who are specifically trained to meet the needs of Autistic children.

PLEASE don’t be like one parent of a school I know. She forced the department to admit her child to one Learning Support Unit (high school) because it was closer to her home. The nearest Autistic Unit was a further 5-10 mins away. Neither the teacher or the STA at the LSU were trained to deal with Autistic children and as a consequence the teacher had to sit full time with the student. This child was unable to express herself or read/write. The abilities of the other students suffered and continue to do so as the mother refuses to admit she did not choose the right environment for her child. The teacher is exhausted every day and has thought about resigning as no one will assist with the student at all.

I’d seek out an environment that will assist your child and not impinge on the rights of others to learn and to do that I would start with Student Support.

Cristella Cristella 12:17 am 08 Feb 10

If the preschool is not willing to take on your son, then they clearly do not have his best interests in mind and will not be willing to give him the extra support he will need. Do you really want your son in such an environment? As frustrating and wrong as it is, I think your time would be better invested looking into special education units in mainstream school settings. There is a non-profit organisation called Noah’s Ark, they are in several locations around Canberra and they run early childhood inclusive education classes. They have support workers there who work with special ed students in the mainstream classes. Their number is: 6287 1117.

Anna Key Anna Key 10:18 pm 07 Feb 10

Have you been involved with DET or ACT Health up to this point? Despite some public failures, they can actually be quite supportive, and would have been from a quite early stage (eg 2-3yo), noting you said this is a recent diagnosis.

Push the EIU for what you want and the services you need. You may need to be a bit assertive, but also remember that they know the system and can help you navigate your way through it.

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