Aarhus school mixing autistic and normal children

New trial could help solve inclusion problems associated with social disorders

The Aarhus school Katrinebjergskolen is testing a new system that aims to better include children with special needs in classrooms.

The school is the first outside New York to test the ‘Nest’ system, which consists of a classroom made up of 12 normal children, four autistic children and two teachers.

“Many parents would like their children to be taught in an environment as close to what they’re used to as possible, and many autistic children are proficient enough to keep up,” said Marianne Banner, a spokesperson from the national association for autism, Landsforeningen Autisme.

“Their handicap is the social aspect. If they take that into account, I’ll gladly green light the initiative.”

READ MORE: Parents of autistic children feel violated by public employees

Inclusion solution?
In the Nest system, the classroom is clearly divided up into areas depending on what is taking place. The children gather in a carpeted area when they are preparing to start something new, while other areas have space for group work or break time.

A group of researchers will follow the new trial class at Katrinebjergskolen for all ten school years and document inclusion development from a scholastic and social perspective.

The trial could help to solve some of the problems associated with including autistic children in Danish public schools.