They say while schools do need more resources to help children with disabilities, Senator Hanson’s claims the education of other children is suffering are unwarranted.
They argue that rather than disadvantaging their classmates by monopolising teachers’ time, children with special needs actually enrich the learning environment.
But some say mainstream schools simply cannot cope with the demands of children with special needs.
‘I want my son to have an impact’
Annette McLaren’s son Scott, 9, has Asperger’s. He attends a mainstream state school in Sydney.
Ms McLaren said she encountered some resistance from other parents at the school who were concerned about the disruption he may cause in the classroom.
She recognised children with special needs can take up more of the teachers’ time and their behaviour can often be disruptive. But she argued all children benefited from diversity in the classroom, which added “strength and richness” to their education.