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Timb Hoswell



Assignment One

Autism Spectrum Disorder can often present with a range and number of associated and co-
morbid learning disorders. Many of these, like ASD, are linked to dopamine dysregulation in the
pre-frontal cortex (Carter, 2010, pg 67). Some of these dopamine dysregulation disorders have
been identified as Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Body
Dysmorphia, Obsessive Personality Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Personality Disorder,
Tourette’s Syndrome, Pyromania, Tricholomania, Social Phobias, Anxiety-based disorders and
Olfactory Reference Syndrome. Most commonly Autism is diagnosed as co-morbid with
Asperger’s and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. (Carter, 2010, Pg 143, 182, 67). These can
often present with other learning disorders like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculi (Moody, 2004, Pp
14-24). Often teachers may have students who present with a range of learning disorders and
cognitive conditions and must be aware of possible complications that may arise between them. I
will discuss some of these below. But first in order to address the criteria I will address three
significant ways in which attitudes, approaches and views towards ASD and inclusion in schools
have changed.

One of the most significant changing views that has emerged from research is the effect
of noise on Autism. In 2010 Lillian Stiegler and Rebecca Davis published a Literature Review
about the emerging consensus in the Peer review community around the devastating effects that
noise can have on people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The condition is known as
‘hyperacusis’ and also occurs in a range of other learning disorders.(Tajik et al, 2012)(Dole et al,
2012)(Taylor, 2017). Hyperacusis is a term used to describe different types of pain that can arise
in people, caused by the presence of some type of sound or background noise. Most commonly in
ASD symptoms can emerge during a complex task, or while the person is trying to study or
concentrate. (Stiegler & Davis, 2010).

Stiegler and Davis write

“Hyperacusis is one of the most commonly reported auditory issues in ASD. In

numerous compelling personal accounts, parents’ narratives and clinical experience
narratives, authors have described behaviours exhibited by individuals with ASD in
response to sound stimuli. Depending on the observer’s perspective the behaviours
may be viewed as challenging behaviours, self-treatment strategies, autonomic fear
responses, or emotional regulatory strategies. Such behaviours include covering ears,
crying and/or tantruming, in response to certain sounds, fleeing the area where the
sound is occurring, humming/vocalizing in the presence of sound, trembling,
increased muscle tone, hyperventilation and even self-injury in the form of blows to
the ears.” (Stiegler & Davis, 2010, Pg 68)

What is important to take away from the Stiegler & Davis review is that teachers need to be
aware of the range of impact and harm noise has on people with ASD. Other studies have found
that noise can also devastate a range of other learning disorders, some as mentioned at the
start of the paper co-consistent with Autism. In particular ADHD and Dyslexia (Tajik et al,
2012). In students who have multiple learning disorders these can often combine together
creating further complications. (Germano, 2008), ( Given the findings of this research it is
increasingly apparent how important it is for teachers with ASD students to keep a quiet
classroom, to seek out quiet places for students with learning disorders to go to in the school
when they are suffering from hyperacusis where they can study in peace, and also to address
behaviours and heed warning signs that the student with ASD may be in pain or distress, when
they arise and address them.

In an Autistic help and advice website run by parents, people with Autism and other
stakeholders in the community, called The Autism Daily Newscast, in a column titled Autism
and Hyperacusis: The Torment of Sound Stella Waterhouse (2015) describes the central
problems faced by people with Autism. Many of these problems arise from simple ignorance in
the community about the ways in which sound impacts on them.
Waterhouse writes

“Nowadays everyone is aware of noise pollution but, unless they have experienced
hyperacusis themselves, most people do not appreciate how devastating its effects
can be. But when you cannot control your environment things become extremely
difficult. . . No surprise then that hyperacusis has such a dramatic effect on children
with ASD especially when they have no control over the situation they find
themselves in at school. (Stella Waterhouse, 2015). “
Herein lay the difficulty for students with Autism who suffer from hyperacusis. They do not
have control over their environment. If the teacher is unaware of what the student is going
through, and does not seek to make reasonable adjustments then the student has little choice
but to react to the pain they are suffering. Understanding how hyperacusis is affecting
students with learning disorders allows the teacher to do things like provide ear protection to
dampen some of the painful effects of the noise in the classroom. Monitor other students
behaviour to make sure they are not doing things, intentionally, or unintentionally, that might
be hurting the autistic student like clicking pens or talking at the back of the room. And lastly
finding a ‘quiet refuge’ that the student can go to on the school grounds when they are
overwhelmed by sound. Most importantly, it presents an opportunity to form a bond with the
student, and let them know it is okay to tell them when they are in pain and the noise is
hurting them. This is important for differentiated learning strategies, which I deal with below.
However, what is important at this stage of the paper for fulfilling the criteria is to see the way
attitudes are being informed and changed by new information and emerging research, and how
this can inform and change teaching practices.

Another significant change in views towards inclusion and policies has been the growing
emphasis on a Strength Based Approach to learning disorders.

Dr. Wayne Hammond, when defining a Strength Based Practice writes

“What is new is the clear evidence that children and families in complex
communities cannot only be resilient, but thrive in the face of adversity and the
labels placed upon them. It is an invitation for community members and care
providers to view children and their families as “having potential” as opposed to just
being “at risk”. (Hammond, 2008, Pg 4)

Dr Hammond emphasizes that “a strength based paradigm (offers) a different language” that can
be used in describing children and primary stakeholders like family members and care givers,
and the potential for self-change, growth and resilience that lays dormant in people’s skills and
abilities (Hammond, 2004). A Strength Based Approach seeks to identify the person’s gifts,
strengths and core abilities and to help them develop these to help the person reach higher goals.
A strength based approach seeks to draw out innate talents and already developed skills within a
person and incorporate these into an approach that empowers the learner and presents them as
part of a greater neurodiversity of learners. Dr Hammond argues that a Strength Based
Approach replaces what he describes as the older “Deficit Model” which focused on what the
student could not do, with developing the things they can do.
The Strength Based Approach offers a teacher the chance to forge, deepen and strengthen
authentic bonds with the student by giving the teacher the opportunity to ask students about
what they are good at. What is the student competent and confident in doing? What are their
strengths and the things they are proud of? These can be deepened by identifying stakeholders
who are invested in the student like family and care givers, and asking them similar questions
about the students’ prior educational experiences. These questions become important for
differentiation and differentiated programming as teachers can draw upon their knowledge about
students strengths and abilities to inform them while interpreting a curriculum and planning
lessons, or writing a program for a unit of work. I will deal with this more in-depth below when I
discuss differentiation in relation to the NSW Syllabus authority. However, let us return to the
shifting views about Autism and inclusive education and the idea of a paradigm shift in

Tim Loreman in his Seven Pillars of Support For Inclusive Education (Loreman, 2007)
also talks about paradigm shifts in the changing view of inclusive education. There he talks
about “moving from why to how”. Tim Loreman’s view is that education is changing from seeking
explanations for why students struggle in certain areas to ways on how to help them. One of the
factors driving the push towards how inclusive educational models can be implemented are the
wide range of benefits for schools, as well as students and teaching faculty to be gained from
inclusive education. He thinks these benefits from neurodiversity are driving the push towards a
new paradigm of “how”.

Loreman writes

“The discourse around inclusive education is slowly moving from a justification of

why the approach is one which should be adopted, to how it can be successfully
implemented. It is increasingly evident, especially over the past 10 years, that there
are social, academic and even financial benefits for school systems and all children
involved in inclusive education.”

The NSW Syllabus authority also provides strategies for inclusive education in the class room by
means of differentiation (NSW Syllabus, 2016). Differentiated learning plans focus on ways of
developing lesson plans and programming that focuses on different learning styles and creating
varied and multifaceted learning experiences across a range of learning areas to engage students
with different abilities. This can be combined with Dr Hammond’s vision of a strength based
approach and a new paradigm of teaching, bringing students’ strengths and abilities into the
Differentiated learning is the first level of four levels of Adjustment recognized by the
Australian educational authorities. These levels are (1) Quality Differentiated Teaching which
we have discussed above and involves forming authentic bonds and learning about student’s past
educational experiences, discovering their strengths and tailoring curriculum programming to fit
their needs and unique strengths. (2) Supplementary Adjustments. These include some forms of
adaptive technology and adjustment of classroom seating plans and facilities at the classroom
teaching level. For instance reseating a student with attentional problems at the front of the
room so they are less prone to distraction is one such adjustment. Making provisions for an ASD
student who suffers from hyperacusis to bring head phones, or leave the classroom if there is a
loud noise or they are in pain, either of which could be seen as another adjustment of this type.
(3) Substantial adjustment. These are adjustments at a higher level and may include additional
faculty staff, such as an assistant teacher or a visiting educational therapist to help with
learning disorders or emotional regulation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, or
counting exercises when a student has a mood swing and experiences anger. (4) Extensive
Adjustment which may include new buildings or faculties to help with the student’s condition.

Level (4) directly implicates the Disability Discrimination Act (NSW, 1992). Paragraph
(1)(a) of Division 1, lays out the legal grounds at the State level for the limitations on adjustment.
Here reasonableness of adjustment is only limited by the possible detriment or hardship imposed
on the educational body or community. The Disability Discrimination act was originally
formulated to bring legislation at the State level inline with Federal, which in turn, was
originally forged following international documents like the International Declaration and
United Nations Policy Documents (United Nations, 2016). The term ‘reasonable accommodations’
was changed to ‘reasonable adjustment’, when it passed from international law where it is
‘reasonable accommodations’ to State and Federal, where it has since moved in to the 2005
Disability Standards for Education. However the State Act overrides the 2005 Standards, and
the Federal, of course, overrides the State.

The most important part of the NSW Disability Discrimination Act (NSW, 1992) are
Divisions 5 and 6 which cover both direct, and indirect forms of discrimination. For a
sophisticated, and highly developed knowledge of education, disability and the law, in accordance
with the criteria laid out for this assignment, it is important to know both types of
discrimination, and what they mean in the letter of the law so that a teacher, with a superior
understanding of disability standards and legislation does not contravene them.

Section 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act (NSW, 1992) covers direct discrimination.
By direct discrimination, in the letter of the law, the act states the following
“(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) also
discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of a
disability of the aggrieved person if:

(a) the discriminator does not make, or proposes not to make,

reasonable adjustments for the person; and

(b) the failure to make the reasonable adjustments has, or would have,
the effect that the aggrieved person is, because of the disability, treated less
favourably than a person without the disability”

Here we can see that an act of direct discrimination occurs, according to section 2, subsection (a)
of Division 5 when a teacher does not make, or proposes not to make reasonable adjustments.
Section one informs us that direct discrimination may also occur when the teacher treats, or
proposes to treat a student with a disability in a less favourable manner, or they are done so
because of a failure to make reasonable adjustments. Indirect discrimination, according to
Division 6 occurs when a teacher forces a student to comply with a condition that has the effect of
disadvantaging that person. Where we see the term “Reasonable Adjustment” used most strongly
at the State Level is in the positive definition for the Direct Type of Discrimination.

Moreover, according to Division One the definition for a disability derives from the act
itself, and not from any educational authority, or branch of psychology, or any faculty thereof.
Included in the legal definition at the start of the act, is the ostensive definition K which includes
the word ‘imputed’ and specifically covers any behaviour that may be a symptom or a
manifestation of a disability, as well as what may be described as ‘disorders’ in educational
psychology. Subclause (f) of the same preliminary classification scheme ostensifies learning
disorders, ‘malfunctions’ and all of those who learn differently under the same definition.

The letter of the law reads

“disability, in relation to a person, means:

(f) a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a
person without the disorder or malfunction; or. . .

(k) is imputed to a person.

To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes
behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.”

Here, we can see by looking back into the emerging peer consensus from research into
hyperacusis and Autism that teachers have a legal responsibility to be aware of the way noise
and sound are impacting on their students, that they are not forcing students to comply with
requirements and conditions that may disadvantage that student's learning so as not to involve
themselves in unlawful acts of indirect discrimination. Moreover that they may seek to make the
reasonable adjustments laid out at the start of this paper. One way of approaching this are some
of the suggestions for reasonable adjustments drawn from the Autistic community website like
ear protection and specified quiet refuges, since it represents stakeholders who have a vested
interest, out in the community. Another is to look towards the work being developed in fields of
Differentiated Learning, the move towards a ‘How Parradigm’, and a Strengths Based Approach.

In conclusion I have demonstrated changing views in the field of inclusive education through
discussion of Dr Wayne Hammond’s work in Strength Based Education and Tim Loreman’s new
“How Paradigm”. I have shown how research into Autism and the problem of hyperacusis, which
also occurs across a range of other disorders, informs my teaching, and have sought out specific
solutions from the Autistic community, drawing on Stella Waterhouse’s column and offered
examples such as creating quiet refuges, using head phones, maintaining a quiet classroom, and
forming authentic bonds with Autistic students so they can feel safe and tell me when they’re in
pain from noise. I have supplemented these with differentiated learning as laid out by the NSW
Syllabus Authority, which allows me to form bonds with parents, care givers and other
stakeholders in the community, and inquire into the student’s prior educational experiences. This
allows me to develop specific strategies to accommodate their strengths and facilitate an
educational journey. Finally I have demonstrated a superior understanding of legislation and
legal responsibilities, to support my superior understanding of changing views about inclusion
and skills, and delivered it in a sophisticated and fluent writing style.
Works Cited List

Hammond, Wayne. (2010). Principles of Strength-Based Practice Resiliance Initiatives.

Driel, J. et al. (2001). Pedagogical content knowledge: an integrative component within the

knowledge base for teaching. . Teaching and Teacher Education 17(8), 979-986.

Stiegler, L., Davis R., (2010). Understanding Sound Sensitivity in Individuals with Autism

Spectrum Disorders Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25(2), 67-75.

Loreman, Tim. (2007). Seven Pillars of Support for Inclusive Education. International Journal of

Whole Schooling 3(2).

Dole, Marjorie., et al. Speech-in-noise perception deficit in adults with dyslexia: Effects of

background type and listening configuration. Neuropsychologia,, 50(7), 1543 - 1552.

Moody, Sylvia. (2004). Dyslexia New York: Vermillion.

Nations, United. (2016). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Paper presented at

the Guiding Principles of the Convention.

NSW State Government: Legislative Branch (1992). Disability Discrimination Act, retrieved

3/04/2018. Federal Registry of Legislation

NESA. (2016). Differentiated Programing Retrieved 25/03, 2018, from

Stahlberg, O, et all. . (2007). Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders in

adults with childhood onset AD/HD and/or autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Neural

Transmission, III(7), 891-902.

Tajik, S., et al. (2012). Deficit of auditory temporal processing in children with dyslexia-

dysgraphia. Auditory and Vestibular Research, 4(21), 76-83.

Taylor, Kathryn. (2017). A social constructionist inquiry study on the lived experiences of

educators with dyslexia overcoming workplace barriers and increasing their capacity for

success. Brandman University, Proquest Thesis Publications

Waterhouse, Stella. (2015). Autism and Hyperacusis - The Torment of Sound. (March 20).