The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


Should teachers be allowed to decide not to physically restrain a violent autistic student?

An autistic Miami State School student 'trashed' her classroom one Friday in March 2017.

She up-ended every single desk in the room.

It was the third time it had happened.

"She had a massive meltdown where she completely levelled the classroom. When I walked in there was nothing left standing. It was like a bomb site" her mother said.

The student's mother is angry because three teachers decided not to intervene.

The student's mother said the teachers should not be allowed to choose not to intervene.

"You choose to be a teacher. You choose to have autism kids in the school and you should do everything you can to make it safe."

The mother said during 'meltdowns' her daughter had incredible strength fuelled by adrenaline.

"It's like a cyclone. I don't care if you have to wear some sort of flak jacket --- pick up the kid and take her out of the class."

The student's child psychiatrist and doctor advises that the student's tendency towards aggression and property damage is "exclusive" to the school environment and not seen at home or in public.

The doctor suggest that "triggers" for her meltdowns were based around peer social interactions. 

The doctor would prefer to focus on the " environment" first before trying medication.

Parent of Miami State School pupil in autism related 'meltdown' wants more teacher training on Gold Coast, Ryan Keen, Gold Coast Bulletin, 11 April 2017

Our society should be structured so all autistic children and adults have a stress-free existence. Or maybe not.

Teachers are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

As a teacher, we are always being criticised no matter what we do. 

Seriously, wear a flak jacket? Come on. 

I feel for this child and all the others like them whose parents refuse to acknowledge their children's behaviour. 

She doesn't behave this way at home - why? 

Mum " creates" an environment where "no triggers" set her off. 

Solution : why doesn't the school do this? 

Surely the other 25 students in the class won't mind? 

The whole class can work around ensuring this child has a stress free existence. 

Society should follow suit - the solution to all our problems!

Cynthia, Reader's Comment,  Parent of Miami State School pupil in autism related 'meltdown' wants more teacher training on Gold Coast, Ryan Keen, Gold Coast Bulletin, 11 April 2017

We need research into pressing national issues such as the causes of the growth in numbers of disabled students.

Late last century Australian state governments promised that disabled students could become mainstream in every way by being included in conventional schools.

In reality the states were cost-cutting by closing many special schools. 

Teachers unions rarely stood up for the schools marked for closure. 

However, the most pressing issue at the moment is the significant escalation in the number of students with various forms of intellectual disability, probably now in the order of 12 per cent of the total Australian school population and growing exponentially. 

Autism is the most discussed form of this disability but there are many others. 

There seems to be little research on the causes of this growth in numbers although medical evidence suggests that foetal and hindered early childhood experience are the key. 

Behavioural influences also figure prominently. 

Many of these students are gifted and talented. 

Universities need to direct more of their research into pressing national issues such as this - not just first-order research that so dominates tertiary institutions and is so beloved of education faculties, but second-order research that drills below trends to discover causes and potential approaches.

Federal education Minister Simon Birmingham deserves to be commended for the significant extra funding he has provided for special education.

The Autistic Family Collective bash 44 per cent of the many thousands of Australian classroom teachers who are trying to cope with autistic students ''included" in their regular classrooms.

In 2015, there were about 12,000 students in Queensland state schools verified as having autism as their major disability.

This suggests that there were 12,000 Queensland classroom teachers struggling to deal with the needs of an autistic student (and those of other special needs students) together with the needs of the 25-30 non-autistic students in their classroom.

The Autistic Family Collective has surveyed more than 50 cases of families with an autistic child.

The survey results suggest that more than 44 per cent (presumably 23 out of the 50+ families surveyed) of the cases of bullying allegedly aimed at autistic students were alleged to be started by the student's teacher and other school staff.



Robina Cosser says : The Autistic Family Collective survey seems to have been Australia-wide, so the results are based on 50 families out of the 12,000 families in Queensland plus, presumably, the same numbers of thousands of families in other states.

You have to wonder if this 50 is a representative sample.

And why were the 12,000 teachers of autistic students in Queensland, together with the thousands of teachers in other Australian states, not surveyed to find out if the families of autistic children are bullying them?

And why were the thousands of Australian teachers of autistic students not surveyed to find out if they were being given the resources they need to cope with their autistic students?

And why were the families of the non-autistic students in 12,000 Queensland classrooms containing an autistic student not surveyed to find out if the autistic student is bullying the teacher or the students?

And why were the parents of the non-autistic students not asked if they wanted their child to be in a classroom with special needs children "included"?



Parents of autistic students may not realise the problems faced by the classroom teachers, because it is against the Code of Conduct for a teacher to disclose to a parent how poorly they are being resourced.

It is shameful that this has been turned into another teacher-bashing exercise - because classroom teachers cannot explain to parents what is really going on in their schools.

Teachers are the whipping-boys of our education system.

And that is what this survey really demonstrates.



Autistic Family Collective says teachers are bullying autistic students, Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2015

Mother of teacher  : my daughter works really hard to try to help her special needs students.

My daughter teaches students with special needs in a classroom with another mainstream teacher.

She has immeasurable patience with these students.

Next year 12 students in the class of 25 will be assigned to her to make up individual programs and access other support for them as necessary.

Because there are so many types of special needs, it's an exhausting job which she does with dedication and love for her students.

She spends the holidays researching different tools that might help.

She spends large amounts of her own money on books, resources, pillows and tactile objects to soothe and interest the students.

She has never sent any student to the principal's office, let alone a separate room, although last year one of the students she was supervising from another class did kick and bite her.

Don't bash all teachers of special needs students.



We need to ask why so many students are being diagnosed with autism.


Elizabeth, Reader's Comment, Autistic Family Collective says teachers are bullying autistic students, Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2015

All children are equally entitled to the attention of their teacher.

Teachers need physical support in dealing with Special Needs students, not just an airy wave of the hand and advice to "put them on an Individual Education Plan".

The teacher has a classroom full of children who are all equally entitled to personal assistance.



Barry, Reader's Comment, Autistic Family Collective says teachers are bullying autistic students, Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2015

Please don't Special Education teacher-bash!

If the community want special needs children to be included in the regular classroom, then the government needs to supply enough resources to support their inclusion.

Classroom teachers will need to be trained in how to teach students with Autism and other disabilities.

Class sizes will need to be small enough for students with disabilities to feel included.

School will need the right resourcing - such as classrooms appropriate for students with disabilities.

None of this is currently happening.

And keep in mind most students with disabilities are taught in government schools because the private sector will not include them.

If a classroom teacher has 28 students of varying needs in a classroom with only enough room to fit the furniture and with limited teaching resources (normally only a board and pen for the teacher) - how is the disabled student to be taught?

Every hour this teacher of 28 students has on average only 2.14 minutes to allocate to each student - and less if actually teaching from the front of the room.

How is that teacher meant to meet the individual needs of a student who needs perpetual care?

Let's look at the education system and not criticise classroom teachers who are more often than not working with minimal resources, limited time allocation and an overcrowded classroom.


Don Mac, Reader's Comment, Autistic Family Collective says teachers are bullying autistic students, Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2015

Classroom teachers are not qualified to teach children with a wide range of special needs.

As a retired special education teacher (with a B.Ed in that area), I can honestly say that many teachers are not qualified to teach or manage some students with ASD.

I worked in state Special Schools, Primary and Secondary schools as well as private schools.

Many classroom teachers did not, and do not (so far as I am aware), have either adequate university qualifications or practical experience in managing classes where students with disabilities are included.

Even within special schools, many teachers were not adequately prepared for the variation of students on the Spectrum.

Smaller classroom sizes may supply the answer, but in my experience most of the "more difficult" students are palmed off to time out, or whatever an individual school may call it.

These students are not getting specialised teaching, and with inadequately prepared teachers, and the increasing number of students being diagnosed, whether correctly or not, I can foresee this problem only worsening.


Margaret, Reader's Comment, Autistic Family Collective says teachers are bullying autistic students, Brittany Vonow, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2015

Special education teacher : I was held at knifepoint by one of my students.

In 2008, I was held at knifepoint by one of my 14-year-old special education students.

All I got paid (to just go away) by Education Queensland was $340k.

That is the equivalent of six years' income.

I was deemed totally and permanently disabled in 2009, never to teach again.

I still suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disoder and Major Depressive Disorder.

I am on a disability pension and I feel so alone.

If it was not for the support of a loving and devoted partner, I would be dead now.


Denise Abraham

"Inclusion" is fraught with problems.

"There's such tension surrounding inclusive education because everyone wants the best outcome.

The family wants the best for their child; to a lesser extent, they're not as concerned about the peers, whereas the schools, and the teachers, are looking for the best outcome for all kids."



Shiralee Poed, Coordinator of the Master of Education (Special Education, Inclusion and Early Intervention) course at the University of Melbourne. She has worked as a policy adviser for Education Queensland. Quoted in Learning as One, Andrew McMillen, PP20-22, QWeekend, 13-14 July 2013.

Queensland teachers may have as many as five Special Needs students in one class.

"Elliott", 24, is a second-year Queensland high-school teacher in a practical field.

In his first year of teaching, during the second semester of 2012, Elliot taught a Year 8 class of 25, which included five children with disabilities.

The first four weeks of class were particularly difficult, as the student with the most complex behavioural problems hadn't yet been assessed but was eventually found to require a full-time carer.

'The teacher aide and I spent most of our time with those five students, while the rest of the class just worked through their activities," he recalls.

'I was still helping them, but I wasn't extending their learning. They were getting enough instruction to pass the subject, but that's it."

The student with complex problems was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, as well as intellectual impairment.

"He threatened students on numerous occasions with sharp implements; he'd fight with them in the classroom," Elliot says.

"It was overwhelming. With that student, I was frightened to go to class."

Elliot would drive to and from school each day thinking about how to manage the situation and at night he was preoccupied with how to control the student.

"I'd never dealt with anyone like that in my life," he says.

"This year I have a similar student who is difficult to work with, and although I have the experience from last year, the same techniques don't work with him.

This time I'm just lucky I only have three children with disabilities in that classroom, not five."



Learning as One, Andrew McMillen, PP 20-22, QWeekend, 13-14 July 2013.


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