Mgr. Mária Kopčíková
The long-term goal of educating children and adolescents with autism is to influence their development so that they achieve the highest possible level of independence. Due to the diversity of disorders and possible comorbidities, the education of autistic children focuses on the acquisition of a wide range of experiences and skills. The aim is to replace missing or damaged functions and to teach students what they will need in life and to be able to use it.
The basic methods used in working with children with ASD are visualization, structuringand individual approach. These principles should be accompanied by long-term cooperation between experts from different fields.
A child with ASD may be educated as a child with special educational needs integrated in a regular school, or may be educated in a special school. . The inclusion of a child is governed by the “Education Act” and a child with ASD falls into the category of disabled pupils.
Pupils with special education needs can be accepted to schools according to § 95 par. 1 of the Education Act (kindergarten, primary school, secondary schools, practical school, vocational school) on the basis of their health disadvantage after diagnostic examinations aimed at identifying their special educational needs performed by educational prevention and counseling facilities – CPPPaP, CŠPP (§ 95 paragraph 3 of the Education Act). The school principal decides on the admission of a child or pupil to the school on the basis of:
Adolescents with ASD also have the opportunity to attend secondary schools. The aim of education at secondary schools or practical schools is to supplement and expand general basic education and at the same time to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the performance of work activities.
In secondary school, these pupils are usually integrated as secondary schools do not envisage the establishment of specialized classes for pupils with ASD. Currently (2021), we do not have special secondary schools in Slovakia exclusively for young people with ASD.
An important prerequisite for successful completion of studies at high school or vocational school is the appropriate choice of school – with regard to the student’s capabilities and possible application on the labor market.
As for studying at university, this is also possible for a student with ASD. This most often concerns students with Asperger’s Syndrome. There are universities that have coordinators who should help students with special needs, including autistic people. For example, Comenius University in Bratislava has a Support Center for Students with Special Needs and has also published a publication for teachers entitled “Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at University”. .
For more info on child inclusion, read the state education program for children with ASD.