Powerful moral, social justice and political arguments have convinced parents that it is their democratic right to place their children on the autism spectrum into mainstream educational environments so that their children may eventually take up their rightful place in a mainstream adult life. But what is really happening for some of these parents when they try to gain and maintain an appropriate education for their child in these mainstream contexts and beyond? What is the educational experience like for these families who are in the midst of this generational change from historical exclusion to inclusion? Current research indicates that while islands of excellent mainstream inclusive practice do exist the educational experience for many students on the autism spectrum can often be one of hostility, inconsistency and unreliability. Without appropriate understanding of best practice educational methods, these students can present an inordinate educational challenge to both parents and educators alike. How do parents deal with such complex educational profiles? How do they continue to maximize their children’s development over time? What are the barriers that hinder their quest? What are the facilitators that help their quest? To answer these questions, this book provides an in-depth, recent examination of the real life journeys of families who attempted to gain an appropriate education for their children on the autism spectrum including the areas of diagnosis, early intervention, mainstream schooling, home education, segregated schooling and transition to work and further study.
Jasmine McDonald BA DipEd MSpecEd (Hons) PhD, is affiliated with the Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. Her current work includes trialling a peer-to-peer mentoring program for tertiary students on the autism spectrum. This program runs at Curtin University in Western Australia and will be replicated and evaluated at the University of Western Australia. The results will eventually be shared through the Australian Government Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) website (http://www.autismcrc.com.au/).