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Dr Leanne Longfellow is an educational consultant and disability advocate. She is a former teacher of students with disability and spent many years as a special class, special school teacher and special education co-ordinator. After reflecting on her experience of parenting her daughter with disability, she is now a firm believer that inclusive settings benefit all students. Leanne works with teachers, assistants and parents to build their confidence and capacity in creating inclusive environments so that all students can learn together.


  1. I believe your response to Harry’s comments are too short and not considered enough. I am a parent of two PDA autistic children. While I support inclusive education, I have to disagree that traditional schools are the right place. Your view of inclusive education (of which I have studied some subjects at university masters level, are idealistic. Most schools are not sufficiently resourced to cater for diverse learning needs. While university level research advocates for individual and inquiry style learning, the reality is very different in the average suburban public primary school. For families of PDA children, there are very few options. I appreciate your experience parenting a child with a disability, but PDA like all disabilities is highly unique and cannot be considered WITH other disabilities. In fact, every autistic person is extremely unique and the majority of the information available for teachers and other education professionals is standardised and depersonalised. My oldest child attempted to fit into the mainstream education model but the only thing that works for his wellbeing at this stage is unschooling. Unschooling isn’t not learning, it’s just a much freer and more relaxed way of learning. We provide a rich environment of literacy and numeracy activities but he has freedom of when and how to do them. If we were to meet your standards of education, we would have a different child to manage, one who was extremely anxious, who would have ‘behavioural concerns’ or who could only cope with significant medication. Is that the world we really want? I appreciate your experience and perspective but it is not nuanced and is not considerate of the lived experience of PDAers.

    Carla says:

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