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Why Is It Crucial To Teach Autism and Neurodiversity Education In Elementary Schools? 

*What happens when there is no autism / neurodiversity training for non-special education faculty and staff?

 

-Staff may not be prepared for certain scenarios they may encounter in the hallways, the playgrounds, their own classrooms, with neurodiverse students.

-Staff my inadvertently speak to neurodiverse students or their parents / families in hurtful or harmful ways.

-Staff may inadvertently treat neurodiverse students in a hurtful or offensive way.

-Staff may inadvertently treat neurodiverse students differently from their neurotypical peers, or may make them feel less than or alienated.

-Staff may not know how to accurately speak to neurotypical children about their neurodiverse peers.

-Staff may teach inaccurate or ableist information about autism and neurodiversity to their general education students.

-Staff may not be able to recognize neurodiversity within their general education classes and students.

 

*What happens when there is autism / neurodiversity training for non-special education faculty and staff?

 

-It opens the door for a true school culture shift to one of real inclusion.

-Special education students feel a greater sense of belonging.

-Teachers are able to model inclusion for their students.

 

*What does this training look like?

 

-PDs

-Workshops

-Year-Long Training

 

*What happens when there is no autism / neurodiversity inclusion education for general education students?

 

-General Ed students may be nervous, apprehensive, or uncomfortable around their neurodiverse peers because neurodiversity is an unknown for them.

-General Ed students may not know how to approach, talk to, or engage their neurodiverse peers.

-General Ed students may not know how to discuss their thoughts or feelings, or know how to ask questions about neurodiversity.

-General Ed students may have difficulty learning in an environment they feel uncomfortable in.

-Special Education students may feel isolated, lonely, embarrassed, confused, sad, anxious, self-conscious.

-Special Education students may ostracized from activities with peers or they may be made fun of or teased.

-Special Education students may not be able to learn as well if they are spending their time worried about what the other students might be thinking of them.

 

*What happens when there is autism / neurodiversity inclusion education for general education students?

 

-General Ed students become more informed citizens.

-Empathy, acceptance, and understanding increase.

-General Ed students become knowledgable and therefore more comfortable.

-Special Education students feel included and a sense of belonging.

-Special Education students are more confident, understood, and happy.

-Special Education students are able to learn more efficiently when they are not consumed or concerned about belonging.

 

*What does this education look like?

 

-Assemblies

-Worksheets

-Group Projects

 

*What happens when there is no autism / neurodiversity information given to parents of children in general education?

 

-Parents may not know how to answer their children’s questions about neurodiversity.

-Parents may unintentionally use hurtful or harmful language when speaking about neurodiversity with their children.

-Parents may be unaware of the neurodiversity within their child’s classroom.

-Parents may be apprehensive about allowing their child to be placed in a mainstream classroom.

 

*What happens when there is autism / neurodiversity information given to parents of children in special education?

 

-Parents are given tools to speak to their children appropriately and respectfully about neurodiversity.

-Some parents may recognize some neurodiverse traits in their child and would then be able to provide their child with beneficial resources.

-Parents are comfortable and even eager to place their child in a mainstream classroom.

 

*What does this information look like?

 

-Information Sessions Through the PTA or SEPTA

-Informational Pages Sent Home In Backpacks

*Why should this information be provided in elementary school?

-The earlier the the kids learn about this, the easier they will internalize and normalize - their brains are sponges at this age. Inclusion will become second nature.

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