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Parents of children with autism and other special needs are leaving public schools in Australia in favor of homeschooling.
Because families do not have to register with their governments, official homeschooling numbers in the Land Down Under are unknown, but estimates put the current number as high as 30,000. If true, that means homeschooling has doubled since the 14,500 students were counted in Australia’s last official figures in 2015.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), parents of students with disabilities blame the education system for not providing the support their children need.
“We had one or two really good teachers and one or two really good, dedicated and caring staff, but there wasn’t enough staff,” Sonya Dainton, a mother of two autistic children, told The ABC.
Like Ben, a child AOP featured in an article on homeschooling a child with autism, Dainton’s children enjoy computer-based learning. With features like text-to-speech to help with reading and self-paced lessons, an online curriculum like Monarch from Alpha Omega Publications can be an ideal fit and boost confidence of students with autism.
For Dainton, not only is she seeing a difference in her son Joseph, but others are seeing the benefits of homeschooling as well.
“People who have known him for a long time have said to me how different he is, how [much] happier he is,” she told The ABC.
Beyond students with disabilities, the leading cause of homeschooling growth in Australia is being credited to a nationwide bullying crisis. In response, the Australian government has declared March 16 as National Day of Action Against Bullying and dedicated money to anti-bullying programs.
“The Australia Government believes that all children should have access to high quality education that is engaging and relevant,” a Department of Education and Training spokesperson told Yahoo7 News. “We also acknowledge some parents feel that mainstream schooling may not be an appropriate environment that best suits the needs of their children. The Government believes that all students have the right to be safe at school and that bullying and violence of any nature, including cyberbullying, is unacceptable.”