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10 things schools can do for autism

We’ve done our homework and the results are in. Victoria, we need to improve our report card.

When it comes to supporting autistic students at school we are close to a fail. It’s not epic, but it’s nothing we can be proud of either. With an autistic student in almost every classroom in the state we need to knuckle down and get to work. Explore this site for resources and information to help us progress from a D to an A.

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Do the Education Quiz Thing

Find out how much you know about autism and education with our quiz.

Could be you know a lot, could be only a little, regardless you will know more after you do it. Go on test yourself and encourage others while you’re at it. Even if you think you know everything there is to know – you might learn something. Let’s see, what else are you going to do in the next three minutes?! Give it a go or share it now.

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The Facts about autism and education

Find out what we found out about autism and education.

Deep dive into what it’s like for autistic people and their families in the context of education in our ground-breaking education and autism research report. An eye opening first for Australia this report makes for compelling reading. If you want an easy to read visual overview our Fast Facts is just a click away. Check them both out and let’s start making some changes in education for autistic people!

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Don't take our word for it

See and hear what autistic people have to say about their education experiences.

Illuminating and, strangely, not that insurmountable as a problem, get invaluable insights into how education can be better for autistic students from this curated selection of videos from autistic people, parents and teachers. The range of experiences and voices presented will, in a short amount of time, give an understanding into what school is like for autistic people and offer ways we can all help improve the school experience. Watch and learn now.

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Do one thing to ease social anxiety

Autistic people can find social situations incredibly challenging.

Expressions and sayings can create confusion due to the literal way autistic people process language. Autistic people can become exhausted trying to “keep up” with conversations. Talking clearly and unambiguously about one thing at a time is one thing you can do to ease social anxiety.

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Do one thing to reduce the impact changes

Knowing exactly what is going to happen is important for many autistic people.

Changes to routines and unexpected demands can be distressing and create anxiety in autistic people. Providing schedules, making lists, creating clear outcomes and step-by-step plans can really help. Explaining changes to routines or plans ahead of time is one thing you can do to reduce change related anxiety.

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Do one thing to provide more consideration time

People who are autistic tend to be aware of more things going on around them – visually, audibly, physically and aromatically.

Allowing consideration time when asking an autistic person a question, or giving instructions, is fantastic.

Providing processing time is one thing you can do ensure situations don’t become overwhelming.

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Do one thing to ease sensory sensitivity

Acute awareness of light, sound, texture, touch, taste or smell is something many autistic people experience.

To avoid overexposure autistic people may use hats, hoodies, headphones or other sensory avoidant techniques.

Asking an autistic person if they have any sensory sensitivity is a great thing to do.

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Do one thing to support someone in meltdown

A stimulation overload as commonly experienced in a shopping centre or busy train station can overwhelm an autistic person and trigger a meltdown.

For an autistic person, a meltdown is an extremely distressing, painful and uncontrollable response.

Giving someone in meltdown space, and not judging them, are simple things you can do to help.

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Do one thing to accept stimming

Something that autistic people do to keep themselves calm is repeat behaviour or stimming.

Stimming enables autistic people to deal with anxious situations and avoid becoming overwhelmed. It can be, but is not restricted to, things like twirling, fidgeting, rocking or talking to themselves.

Being okay with an autistic person stimming to quieten themselves is an awesome thing to do.

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6 things to know

Autistic people want the community to understand 6 ways autism affects people and simple ways you can support them and help create an autism friendly world.

From being supportive in social situations, to providing more time to process information at work and at school, to getting an understanding of what stimming is, there are a range of simple ‘one things’ we can all do to make a world of difference.

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What is autism?

1 in 100 Australians are on the autism spectrum.

Yet there is still great misunderstanding around autism and how it impacts people. A helpful introduction to what autism is, access a diagnosis definition here.