Pauline Hanson proposes removing autistic children from mainstream classrooms, believing it will be a benefit for children without autism. She feels children without autism are “Held back by those [students with autism] because the teachers spend [more] time with them”.
Ms Hanson worries that such inclusion will have a negative impact on other children’s learning.
During a Senate debate regarding school funding, Ms Hanson voiced her concerns, asking if including children with autism was “At the loss of our other kids?”
Ms Hanson stated that children with autism certainly have a right to education, but including them in mainstream classrooms is not the best idea. Ms Hanson mentioned that “We have to be realistic at times and consider the impact that [this] is having on other children in that classroom”.
Ms Hanson has sparked outrage from not only parents of autistic children, but disability focused organisations.
“Research consistently demonstrates that educational outcomes are better for both kids with disability and those without disability when they are included together in the classroom.”
The CEO of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), Mr Ross Joyce, responded to Ms Hanson’s statements; “Ms Hanson’s views are out of touch with the rest of the Australian community and fly in the face of good educational practice.”
Mr Joyce further says, “Research consistently demonstrates that educational outcomes are better for both kids with disability and those without disability when they are included together in the classroom.”
Parents of autistic children have retaliated to Hanson’s comments on Twitter, stating how “The positives towards autism and inclusion from all walks and trades of life is amazing” and “My autistic son has taught me more about life than anyone”.
Since the incident, Ms Hanson still stands by her comments, telling Parliament reporters; “I am not apologising.”