Legislative Council: Thursday, February 09, 2023



The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON (15:09): Supplementary: how many children and families are currently partaking in the Autism Inclusion Teaching program?

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (15:10): I just want to make it really clear: students are not participating in the Autism Inclusion Teacher role.

The Hon. L.A. Henderson: Well, they benefit from it, so how many?


The Hon. E.S. BOURKE: That's a really interesting question. I just want to go back again about what this role is about, why we had to create this role. The Autism Inclusion Teacher's role is there to be able to have time so that they can leave the classroom. A teacher will be, more often than not, already within that school community. They will now be able to leave the classroom and go off to get that training so, when they do return, they can provide that knowledge to fellow teachers. This is not about sitting with every individual student in the school.

There is at least one autistic person, I am advised, in every classroom, so what we need to be doing is giving the knowledge to our teachers, so that they can be providing the best support to all students in the school as much as they can. If we are not giving knowledge to teachers they don't know where to start in providing that support, so we're starting with one teacher. This is a start. There is a long, long way to go, but if we don't start now we will be having the same conversation in 10 years' time about how do we provide support to kids, but we have to start first by providing support to our teachers.