Safeguarding the future conference - Canberra, 23-24 May 2024

Registrations close at 5:00 pm AEST on Thursday, 16 May

Sethmi’s journey of school inclusion

A story of a family's courage in going against the opinions of professionals and pursuing a mainstream education for their child with autism.

A teen working in a pizza preparation kitchenMany professionals told Erosha that her daughter, Sethmi, wasn’t ‘ready’ to be fully included in a mainstream classroom because of her diagnosis of autism. Instead, the education system strongly supported Sethmi’s enrolment in a specialised learning environment. The special school was located well away from their home. Erosha recalls feeling isolated from other parents and suspected that Sethmi also felt very alone.

Erosha explains how attending a workshop by Darcy Elks rekindled the dreams that she’d largely lost for Sethmi after her diagnosis. Darcy helped Erosha realise that inclusion in the local mainstream school was an option for Sethmi.

So, the family moved Sethmi to a school that understood that she was more likely to reach her full potential in an inclusive setting. The journey hasn’t been easy, but Erosha is very glad that she pursued the inclusive pathway. Sethmi now holds many valued roles that she would likely not have held in a segregated setting.

Meet Erosha Bakmiwewa

Portrait of Erosha BakmiwewaErosha is the mother of three children, Sethmi, Jayden and Keisha. She was a financial analyst before moving on to community services and enrolling for further studies in psychology. Currently, Erosha works at Imagine More as a facilitator, mainly in the Inclusive Education space.

Erosha’s priorities in life changed when her eldest was diagnosed with ASD as a toddler. Since then, Erosha has been an active advocate of inclusion. This advocacy has been instrumental in getting Sethmi enrolled in a mainstream school.

Among Erosha’s passions are many community initiatives, including

  • fundraising for charities
  • creating awareness of Inclusive Education
  • and helping other families achieve good life outcomes for their family members.

Erosha is a dance enthusiast. She cooks amazing meals, moves mountains for friends and family, and really enjoys a good chat, with or without coffee.