The Trauma of Broad-Based Inclusion for Students with Autism

  • Gary Shkedy Alternative Teaching Strategy Center, U.S.A.
  • Dalia Shkedy Alternative Teaching Strategy Center, U.S.A.
  • Aileen Herlinda Sandoval-Norton The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, U.S.A.
Keywords: autism, inclusion, education, neurodevelopmental, trauma


Inclusion is a model where students with disabilities spend most/all of their time in an educational setting with non-disabled students. This model has led many countries to pass laws requiring disabled students be educated in the least restrictive environment: they should be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent possible. However, this model ignores the very nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The autistic brain is different in both function and structure, making deficits in social interaction, inherent and appropriate for their development. This paper explores research on the autistic brain, comorbidities, child development, and trauma associated with forced inclusion for this population. Research on brain function indicates inclusion can be very stressful and can produce anxiety and post-traumatic stress in children with ASD.


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