Welcome from the CEO of Aspect
It is a great pleasure to announce the launch of the Aspect Autism in Education Conference to be held on 31 July – 1 August 2014 – the very first national conference specifically focusing on improving outcomes for children and young people in schools and further education.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest national provider of autism services, providing support to more than 10,000 people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) each year. Aspect also has the world’s largest autism-specific school system, delivering the Aspect Comprehensive Approach in Education (ACAE) to around 1,000 students across eight schools and nearly 100 satellite classes, based in mainstream schools.
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The Aspect Autism in Education Conference is Aspect’s second national initiative. Its first, Aspect Practice, was launched on 9 October 2013 and is now being rolled out across Australia to deliver autism practice that works through workshops, consultancies and internships.
With the increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in our community comes the increasing responsibility for us – as educators, professionals, family members, and carers – to provide the latest, best quality, evidence-informed education available.
The Conference brings together some of the world’s education experts along with Australian leaders in the field to share the latest findings and, crucially, how they are being applied within our schools and colleges to provide the best outcomes for students with ASD for life.
I look forward to welcoming you to Australian Technology Park in July 2014.
CEO, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)
Welcome from the Director,
Education & Senior ASD Research Consultant
One of the major challenges facing education sectors in Australia today is the education of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With increasing prevalence rates, the numbers of students with ASD enrolled in our education system continues to grow.
Based upon the most recent survey completed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Survey of Disability, Ageing & Carers 2009). there are 47,100 students with a diagnosis of ASD aged (5 – 18 years) in Australian schools. In addition there could be as many as 21,000 students on the autism spectrum in further education, based on current prevalence studies.
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Schools provide an important social environment where children and young people learn to interact with their peers – a task that people with ASD often find difficult. As a result of the unique learning styles, and the impairments associated with ASD (social interaction, communication, learning and behaviour, sensory) many students with ASD experience significant challenges in education environments.
Many are misunderstood by educators and peers and struggle to cope or disengage from the education system. The ABS survey confirmed the challenges faced by students with ASD in schools and reported that 88% experienced some form of educational restriction.
Teachers and schools often feel under-equipped to successfully include and cater to the educational needs of their students with ASD. There is clearly an urgent need for education providers to make available appropriate education provisions and ensure equal access for all students.
The Aspect Autism in Education Conference will help to bridge the gap – putting evidence-informed programs into our classrooms to provide the best possible outcomes for children and young people with ASD in the many educational environments across Australia.
We hope you can join us to share in this first ever Aspect Autism in Education Conference.
Dr Trevor Clark,
Director, Education & Senior ASD Research Consultant