Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on the Minister for Education, James Merlino, to include a school for autistic children in the Shepparton Education Plan.
Ms Sheed met with Mr Merlino yesterday following a speech in Parliament during which she asked the Minister to consider providing appropriate services for Shepparton District students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as part of the Government’s plan to overhaul education in the region.
Ms Sheed said establishing an autistic school in regional Victoria was a key recommendation of this year’s Inquiry into Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder and said Shepparton would be an ideal location.
“Shepparton District is home to a significant number of young people with ASD and there are high levels of disadvantage in our community,” Ms Sheed said.
“Many of these children are being home-schooled or have disengaged from schooling altogether, simply because they do not have affordable access to services that sufficiently cater to their needs.”
Ms Sheed said it was important to ensure the Shepparton Education Plan was inclusive and met the needs of the breadth of the community.
“There has long been a lack of understanding and knowledge in the school sector about ASD and we need to find a model that will work,” Ms Sheed said.
“At a time when we have strong Government interest in transforming the way education is delivered to students in our region, it would make sense for Shepparton to be considered as the home for the first school of this kind in regional Victoria.”
The Shepparton Education Plan Strategic Advisory Committee, which Ms Sheed chairs, is due to submit its recommendation regarding secondary schooling to the Minister next month.
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org