South Australia has just opened its first school specifically for students with autism and Peter Walker isn’t sure it’s such a good idea. While he accepts the new school is a response to calls from desperate families, Peter believes we need to consider whether segregated environments are likely to be beneficial in the long run.
Formerly the principal of a special school in New South Wales, Peter is now a lecturer in special education at Flinders University and is completing his doctorate on the subject. He is also the president of the South Australian chapter of the Australian Association of Special Education.
Peter says we need to critically challenge the way segregation has historically been used in schooling to control diversity, and that most attempts at school reform are doomed to fail.
Using Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a case study, Peter will show how transforming an education system from a focus of difference and deficit to one of inclusion and mutual benefit would be a magical metamorphosis.