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(UK) Northern Ireland: 10,000 sign petition for MANDATORY AUTISM TRAINING for teachers

Aug 3, 2019, NI Belfast Live: Autism teacher training petition signed by almost 10,000 https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/autism-teacher-training-petition-signed-16552028 Thousands have signed a petition calling for teachers across Northern Ireland to have mandatory autism training. Around one in 30 children here are living with autism with the vast majority (78%) in mainstream education. The charity, which is behind the petition, is calling for urgent action from decision makers. “Many of our teachers in Northern Ireland feel overwhelmed with the lack of training and resources they are given to teach autistic children,” added Ms Boyd. “We are therefore calling for the Department of Education to introduce mandatory autism training for all teaching staff within mainstream schools.”… Ulster Teachers Union has also supported the call for mandatory funded training for members. “As Northern Ireland teachers cope with a growing number of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder we fear students are losing out on their education because schools just don’t have the support to cope,” said Jacquie White, General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers’ Union. … Ms White also denounced the ‘quota system’ which means not every child a teacher thinks should be assessed for special needs – which could include autism – can be, as schools receive a set number of assessment places. “When an autistic child’s needs aren’t met, they can become overwhelmed and ‘melt down’ which leads to difficult behaviour which others may think is naughty or disruptive,” she added. “Our teachers need the funded training to ensure these children get the education they deserve – and are entitled to.” …CLICK TO PLAY “Politicians must be cautious in calling for mandatory training as training cannot solve all the problems highlighted in relation to autism,” he added. “Money will be needed to provide training courses while the pupils themselves will need to be taught in smaller groups and in many cases will need specialist support. “If the financial situation is not addressed no amount of training will have any impact on the lives of these children.” …

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