Autism Spectrum Disorder in Aotearoa New Zealand: Strategies for teachers.
According to Autism New Zealand (n.d.) there are approximately 65,000 New Zealanders with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Despite this prevalence, Goodall (2014) notes that “…teachers are still on a long journey to full acceptance of students on the autism spectrum as learners with potential” (p. 133). This is concerning as one of the principles that form the foundation of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) (Ministry of Education, 2007) is inclusion. The NZC states these principles “embody the beliefs about the nature of the educational experience and the entitlement of the student” (p. 37) and Te Kete Ipurangi (n.d.) describes inclusive education as all children and young people being engaged and achieving through participating, learning and belonging. These principles, in addition to the prevalence of people with ASD in New Zealand, mean that teachers must possess an understanding of ASD as well as knowledge of teaching strategies to assist these learners.