assessment of the Expert Panel's report (2015) and the ACT Government's response

Bob Buckley, SOfASD Chair

Following is SOfASD's view of the Schools for all Children and Young People: Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour (The Report) and the ACT Government's response (available at http://www.det.act.gov.au/school_education/complex-needs).

The Report's Terms of Reference, the Expert Panel's report itself and the ACT Government's response to The Report all omit any mention of the “cage” affair that was the catalyst for the appointment of the Expert Panel. The Report is unclear about why the ACT Government convened the Expert Panel: key aspects of the recent context relating in challenging behaviour in schools are absent.

Bipartisan support in ACT Assembly for misinformation about autism prevalence

The ACT Government passed a motion about "autism" ...

That this Assembly:

(1)      notes:

           (a)     that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects around one in 160 children, with boys four times more likely to be affected than girls;

           (b)     the importance of early diagnoses, early intervention therapy and support for ASD;

ACT Government releases report in response to 'boy in cage' incident

The ACT Government has released a 275-page report into the way children with "complex needs and challenging behaviours" can be accommodated in Canberra's school system.

The Schools for all Children and Young People report was released in response to an incident in April where a 10-year-old boy with autism was placed in a cage at a Canberra primary school described as a withdrawal space.

Behavioural needs of autistic Australians must be met

A range of initiatives are needed to address autism in Australia, the cost of which to the budget has been put at at least $20 billion a year.

The recent case of an autistic child being sent to a purpose-built cage in a classroom caused international outrage, but teachers are ill-prepared to access professional support when a student needs it, Bob Buckley writes.

letter: motion of no confidence in Minister and ACT Government

Ministers Andrew Barr MLA and Joy Burch MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly

Dear Chief Minister and Minister,

This letter is to inform you that the Committee of Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) in the ACT passed a motion of no confidence on 17/9/2015 in:

  • the ACT Minister for Education and for Disability, and

  • the ACT Government

over events relating to the recent boy-in-the-cage “incident”.

Photo of cage used to restrain boy with autism at Canberra school becomes public

A photo of a cage used to restrain a young boy with autism at a Canberra school has become public.

Constructed of blue metal pool fencing, the two-metre by two-metre cage clearly has a roof and a rear door — which was able to be latched shut.

The cage was built by an external contractor with $5,195 of school funds.

Burch promises the ‘kid in a cage’ case was an isolated incident

Editor: the lack of professional/qualified behaviour support for students with autism/ASD in ACT schools in not an "isolated incident", it's a well established long term policy of this Education and Disability Minister.

JOY Burch and Director-General of the Education and Training Directorate Diane Joseph have released the key findings from an independent investigation into the construction of an “inappropriate structure” at an ACT Public School.

“Through all of this, my key concern has been the welfare of the child and the family involved,” Joy said.

“I am very disappointed by the things found through this investigation.

“It is completely unacceptable that a decision was taken to build this type of structure to respond to the behaviour of a student. This decision was wrong, and the officer responsible will no longer be a school principal or be working within a school. School principals must be held responsible for their actions.

SOfASD Submission to Expert Panel on ACT's caged student

SOfASD made a submission to the ACT's Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour.

SOfASD's submission has the following conclusions.

We expect a whitewash from the Expert Panel. Given its composition, it seems unlikely that there will be the adverse finding that are needed to drive improvement. But if there are adverse findings, the ACT Government will sweep them under the carpet as soon as it believes it can get away with it.

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