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ktmead
ktmead asks:
Q:

What curriculum does California that best helps students with autism?

I live in Southern California with my 12 year old boy/girl twins. My son is autistic. Without a fight, my shool district offers 1) General Ed. Placement (sink or swim), 2) Special Day Class (general ed. curriculum, taught the same way, but using lower grade level books) or 3) Severe Handicap placement (free babysitting.) If you place your kid in general ed., and fight, you can get a warm body (instructional aide) to accompany your kid throughout the day - no training whatsoever, and often unable to do the curriculum themselves.

I have now moved to another county in So. Cal.  My new district seems to be slightly more knowledgeable on the subject of autism, but only have the general ed. or severe handicap placements. To their credit, however, the SH class does work on some functional skills and is significantly better than what I saw at the old district. However, no grade level academics are even attempted in the class.

My son needs a blended program. Some general ed., with knowledgeable support, and some pull-out to the functional skills program. Is this pigeon-hole method unique to California due to the tiny amount we spend on education? Or does this go on nation-wide?
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Mar 11, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

My understanding is that most school districts across the country are struggling with meeting the unique needs of children with Autism. Due to funding, training and expertise in Autism, and a variety of other factors, it is difficult to staff a class specifically designed for children with Autism. Most special education teachers receive general training in Autism, but there is only a small minority that obtain specialized training in empirically-based intervention treatments for Autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis, Relationship Development Intervention, etc. Because of funding issues, children with a variety of Special Education diagnoses are often placed in one special day class because of teacher staffing limitations.

I personally believe that this is a widespread problem that can only be resolved with increases in funding and specialized training in Autism (AND other conditions affecting a child's ability to learn).

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Education.com

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