Parents need to use a special provision in their child’s welfare order to help their child with ASD, according to a new study.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Auckland and the University at Albany in New York, and examined the use of the welfare clauses in New Zealand’s child welfare system.
In the report, researchers describe how a parent could use the clause in their parenting order to make a positive difference in the child’s development and wellbeing.
They found that parents who use the provision to help with autism spectrum disorder could be more likely to get a child with that disorder into the public school system.
But parents who used the clause to support their autistic child would be more successful in getting the child into a private school, and into a school with a strong focus on autism.
The researchers suggest that the welfare provision could be a powerful tool for parents to help a child who may be struggling to adjust to a school environment and who may have special needs.
The report says the welfare provisions are particularly relevant in children with special needs who have a history of social exclusion.
“While a child might feel isolated or unwelcome in a classroom, parents with autism often experience high levels of isolation and social exclusion from the school environment,” the report states.
“In addition, children with autism are at higher risk of being bullied and being bullied by peers, and it is the children’s peers who are the most vulnerable to the effects of bullying.”
A number of factors influence the severity of ASD and how well children with ASD are assessed, according the report.
For example, autism spectrum disorders are more likely than other developmental disabilities to be diagnosed in the same school year, with a prevalence of 0.8 per cent of children in schools with ASD compared to 0.6 per cent in those without ASD.
Autism spectrum disorders can lead to communication difficulties and other social deficits, and can cause difficulty in social interactions.
Researchers say that in order to support children with ASDs, parents need to be flexible and open about their children’s needs.
“For many parents with ASD who are reluctant to use disability-specific social support services, there is little or no support available in the community, and many have to choose between being seen by a child psychiatrist or going to social workers,” the researchers said.
“However, a small proportion of ASD families report that they use the use the child welfare clause in the way that is best for them.”
A family in a family with an ASD will be more able to access the use a child welfare provision than a family without ASD, the researchers found.
The use of a child’s benefit will not automatically be considered disability-related if it is for the child with an autism spectrum diagnosis, the report said.
But the use or misuse of a welfare provision should not be seen as a sign that a child has autism.
“This finding suggests that parents should consider using the welfare allowance to assist with the needs of children with autistic spectrum disorders in school environments,” the authors said.