Hanson on autistic kids: Ignorant, ill-informed and ill-considered

Pauline Hanson has provoked a furious reaction with her comment in Parliament that: Students with disabilities should be removed from mainstream classrooms because they are putting a strain on teachers and schools, One Nation senator Pauline Hanson has told Parliament.

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‘‘These kids have a right to an education by all means,’’ Senator Hanson said.

‘‘But if there is a number of them, these children should go into a special classroom and be … given that special attention because most of the time the teachers spend so much time on them.

‘‘They forget about the child who … wants to go ahead [in] leaps and bounds in their education.’’

In particular, she infuriated Labor MP Emma Hussar, whose son is autistic and who must have articulated the views of every parent of an autistic child in Australia.

Emma Hussar

“And, I’ve got one thing to say to every single child on the autism spectrum, who is going into a classroom today –  And, that even on the days that are hard – when you’re frustrated, and your disability makes you angry – you are still better than she is on her best day.”

What is so disappointing about Hansen’s comments, apart from the gross insensitivity of what she said, is that she is actually wrong. The Australian education system does have a special system for children with special needs and someone who was voting on education legislation should be aware of this.

In Victoria, these schools are called Special Developmental Schools and they cater for children for whom mainstream schools are just a bridge too far. But for many children, some of whom may be autistic, education in mainstream schools may be the best option.

The other person to cover himself with glory during this debate was good old Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm who expressed concern that spending on education had been rising over the last decade.

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David Leyonhjelm: More Guns, less education?

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