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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Special Report: Overcoming Autism

How public schools struggle with a special-needs crisis, plus profiles of three programs that work, and a look at technology as teacher's aid.
By Edutopia Staff

As education budgets shrink and federal standards multiply, public schools must scramble to find ways to improve and innovate on a shoestring. Now, with a staggering increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism, they face another formidable challenge: providing many thousands of children with special education that can cost an average of $19,000 per child, per year.

In this special report, we look at a daunting special-needs crisis and the ways some public school programs have managed to cope, successfully, with the challenge. The centerpiece of the package looks at the overall impact of an influx of autistic students to the nation’s public schools. In three shorter features, we focus on programs in California, Massachusetts, and New York that have earned praise and shown promising outcomes. Another story examines how assistive technology can be especially useful for certain autistic students, and another illustrates how one peer-to-peer program for autistic students provides both academic and social and emotional learning to everyone involved.

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Carol Schmidt's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

As a parent of a child with autism, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. After many disappointing years in the public school system, I wrote a book for parents and educators so that successful intervention strategies can be passed along without "reinventing the wheel." Autism in the School-Aged Child is a book of practical strategies for promoting success in both the home and school environments. I will gladly sell this book at 40% off retail to anyone involved in the education of children with autism. Visit our website at www.autisminschool.com

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

hi my named is Candace Long im 16 and my little brothers name is Houston hes 11... i love him to death but hes something else....i have a brother with autism and they didnt think that he was cause he was so loving. its just where they are rasied and how they are taking care and shown love that has a effect on how they act and let me tell you he has a temper like no other but i still care bout him. when he was younger they tried to say that he wasn't that he was just slow. my parents went to like 5 differnt doctors tofind out why he wasnt talking at age 3 they said that they didnt know what they were talking bout and that he was fine. but then finelly they found a doctor named mary ann block that told us that he had autism.their is a special deit to make him talk well we did the deit for like 2 weeks the stuff was too expecive and we could not do it any more but it was working he was talking to were we could understand him but now hes back to just jabbering every now and then you can catch a word or to but thats bout it.

Gail Olivas's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a public school teacher in Miami, and I am currently teaching a combination third/fourth grade gifted class. We read two excellent children's novels on children with disabilities: RULES and THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE. Afterwards, I sent the children out by two's to visit our Special Ed classrooms (after receiving the other teachers' OK). I've received positive feedback from the Special Ed teachers on how helpful my students were, and now I'm sending them for 1/2 hour every week. I think it's a win-win situation: my students are learning empathy and the rewards of being able to help others, and the teachers and students in the Special Ed classes are getting extra help.

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