The Research in Special Education (RISE) conference at Flinders will focus on using ethical, compassionate and more effective methods to teach and ‘include’ students with disabilities in our schools.
Flinders special education lecturer and RISE co-chair Dr David Armstrong says children with disabilities such as autism or from disadvantaged backgrounds are most at risk of behaviours that can lead to poor school attendance, exclusion or self-withdrawal from school.
“These factors may be the cause of challenging behaviours, yet they are often missed as the focus is on the behaviours,” Dr Armstrong says. “These causes should be identified and treated, and if necessary the students should be referred to specialists, at the same time as immediate strategies are implemented to help the student cope more effectively.
Dr Armstrong, who will discuss challenging behavior at the RISE “Investing in Inclusion” Conference at Flinders at Tonsley on Friday 16 June 2017, says the effect of students’ challenging behaviours on their teachers is becoming increasingly apparent.
“Teacher organisations in Australia, the UK and US are expressing concerns about the impacts of students’ behaviours on educators’ health and wellbeing, so that it is now considered a costly occupational problem,” he says.
“Educating students with major behavioural needs is demanding, and teachers need all the support they can get.”
The SA Parliament’s Select Committee has just released a report on access to the education system for students with a disability. It makes 93 recommendations for action in schools.
Dr Armstrong will present his research findings at the Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute’s RISE Conference, along with fellow Flinders educational researchers including Dr Jane Jarvis, Dr Karyn Carson, Dr Andrew Bills, Dr Julie McMillan and Raj Brij and Anne Bayetto.
The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC will give the opening speech on ‘fairness, innovation and respect’.