Joining the fight for better autism inclusion in education
The University of Adelaide is today joining forces with the University of South Australia, Tabor College and Flinders University to make education in SA more accessible for people with autism.
A two-year nation-leading project will assess the impact of incorporating further learning on autism and sensory needs on the ability of teachers to plan for and manage diverse classrooms.
The participating universities will also boost disability and inclusion studies in teaching degrees from Semester 1 2024.
“This is the first time all four South Australian initial teacher education providers have come together to work on a common project, and we expect the outcomes will have a significant impact on the education outcomes for young people with autism,” said the University of Adelaide’s Professor Susan James Relly, from the School of Education.
From Semester 2 2024, the project will also see students from each university participate in practical autism training developed by Positive Partnerships, a program already undertaken by Autism Inclusion Teachers in South Australia.
“This program, which is underpinned by the University’s world-class teacher education and high-quality research, will directly benefit our community by providing specialist training.”Professor John Williams, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics
The collaborative initiative has received $424,000 in support from the South Australian Department for Education.
“Under my Government, South Australia is leading the nation in giving teachers the tools they need to make sure autistic children and young people are afforded every opportunity to maximise their potential,” said Premier Peter Malinauskas.
“We’ve already put an Autism Inclusion Teacher in every school, and expanding the quality training afforded to teaching students is the logical next step.”
Assistant Minister for Autism, Emily Bourke, says this investment in teacher education is in response to demand from the sector.
“Feedback from teachers, autistic students and parents has been consistent - we need more knowledge about autism in our schools,” said Minister Bourke.
“We are now arming future teachers with knowledge about disability and inclusion at the very start of their career during their teacher degree.”
With future generations of teachers set to benefit from the increased autism-inclusion training during their university education, the project will impact public, independent and Catholic schools throughout the state.
“The University of Adelaide has been making a major contribution to the field of education for more than 100 years,” said the University of Adelaide’s Professor John Williams, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics.
“This program, which is underpinned by the University’s world-class teacher education and high-quality research, will directly benefit our community by providing specialist training.”