This is my little boy, Christian. He's nine and he's on the spectrum. He very bravely wants to be part of our campaign to help all autistic children receive better support and understanding in school. He knew that it meant telling everyone in his school that he's ASD and, sadly, facing potential bullying. But he still wants to help. Please help too by signing the petition and asking everyone you know to join in.
Autistic children are struggling to cope in the public school system. They are being unfairly punished, suspended and bullied for their autistic behaviour - and they don't understand why.
Sadly, one little nine-year-old boy tried to take his own life because he couldn't stand the violent bullying any more. Another little boy was made to sit in the school office every day because the school couldn't pay for adequate playground supervision. Another wasn't allowed to go on the year 6 camp to Canberra even though his mother offered to chaperone him at her own expense. Many, many children are being unfairly suspended.
Specific state funding for autism is inadequate or non-existent. In some cases, funding that was awarded under the old system is now being withdrawn by schools under the new Every Student Every School policy. Now that the spending of disability funding is at the discretion of the individual school, some schools are withdrawing the use of teachers aides for autistic children. What are schools doing with the money? To whom are they accountable?
Teachers are untrained in autism and are not able to understand or pre-empt autistic behaviour. Autistic children are told off for being naughty when their behaviour is simply autistic. As a result their confidence, self-worth and education are suffering. In other countries, this is considered discrimination.
Nationwide instigation and State-wide implementation of co-ordinated support and long-term funding for autistic children in schools is urgently needed. Support for these children should not be left up to the individual school. Please help by signing this petition and sharing the link with friends and colleagues.
Claire Galea started this petition with a single signature, and now has 3,729 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.