Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do what makes sense for students with Autism

This article had some compelling thoughts about Autism and the need for additional choices in education.

According to a study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that the rate of autism is much higher than even the frighteningly buoyant numbers we’ve seen in recent years. In fact, as many as 1/500 children have some variation of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.

It’s unclear if this is indicative of a real increase, or just an increase in accuracy of diagnosis and awareness of autism, but one thing is certain: educating children with autism is expensive, between 2 to three times the national average per pupil. It’s no wonder then, that many public schools are not equipped to educate children with autism.

Expecting every public school to accommodate the increasing number (real or diagnosed) of children with autism is not fair to teachers, parents and most importantly the students who deserve an appropriate education. It’s not fair to the communities supporting public education to expect them to recreate the vast range of services that are already available to special needs students.

House Bill 1886 offers an equitable and intelligent solution for these problems. Private donations would create a scholarship fund to help special needs students get an education that will prepare them to be active in society and even get back into mainstream public education. A tax credit stimulates the funds available, and makes it available where it can benefit students the most.

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