23 Mar 2011

National standards 'not working' for autistic children

2:50 pm on 23 March 2011

A society representing people with autism says the Government's national standards in reading, writing and maths do not work for autistic children.

Autism New Zealand told Parliament's Education and Science select committee on Wednesday that the standards brand children with autism and Asperger's syndrome as failures.

Autism New Zealand says there are probably more than 20,000 under 19-year-olds on the spectrum of autism disorders and for those in primary school, the national standards are a significant issue.

The society's chief executive, Alison Molloy, says the standards measure failure among children with autism, not success, and add unwelcome complexity to the life and schooling of the children and their families.

Ms Molloy believes autistic children need a different set of standards that measure what they can do.

The society also worries that teachers making national standards judgements often have no training in autism disorders.