An award-winning book is offering help for teachers caring for distressed autistic children in the classroom. And it says the use of calming sensory rooms, or gardens, are more successful than the use seclusion rooms. Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, has revealed 17 schools across New Zealand have used seclusion practices this year, and there are plans to outlaw use of the rooms.
The book is called Autism Spectrum Disorder in Aotearoa New Zealand: Promising practices and interesting issues. And one contributor, Jenny Tippett, says the rooms exacerbates negative behaviours, and much more teacher education is needed to cope with the complexities of Autism. Jenny works as a learning and behaviour resource teacher in New Plymouth, and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Education, with an Endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorder.