Inclusion and Fairness

der to understand the issues that arise in education, we must first look at what we mean by "Autism Spectrum." This definition is applied to a series of disorders classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as Communication Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, p. 65). Children with this disabilities have challenges with social development and communication. Many may not be able to interact with peers and have a variety of nonverbal behaviours (p. 66). According to the checklist for ASD, children have:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the spectrum has different forms ranging from severe autism to Asperger Syndrome. The Autism Spectrum Disorders are usually detected between the ages of one and three, usually by parents. However, about 50% are not diagnosed until at least kindergarten.
Most children with ASD have challenges in many areas. Socially they avoid eye contact and dont participate in the day to day human interaction with their parents or other siblings. They generally avoid physical contact. Many children with ASD dont talk in the first few years like other children. Some may start out making baby sounds but stop. Others may not develop language until much later in their development. Some can learn sign language or other ways of gesturing.
Order and consistency of routine are very important. Some children may line up their toys in specific ways. If something is moved, the child becomes anxious (NIMH). Because of this, it is important with ASD children to have a strict routine–any deviation from this routine will be distressing for them. These are the many challenges that a child will have inside the classroom as well.
According to Barnard, Prior and Potter (2000), inclusion means that all children must be able to have appropriate learning. They did several surveys to see whether this was happening for children in mainstream classrooms. In one of the