Children on the autism spectrum need classroom champions

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2022 | Special Needs And IEP

While investigating schools, you and your spouse are on a mission to find one that would be the best fit for your autistic child. A triangulation involving the school’s facilities, educational programs and teachers must align.

Each school relies on different approaches toward exceptional student education (ESE). And, along the way, you will discover that some school districts have poor track records in educating autistic children. Some programs may be distressingly out-of-date, while some teachers lack insufficient training.

Case of an inexperienced teacher

Consider the current trial of a UK teacher, who led a class of some of the school’s most autistic children. She and a teaching assistant are accused of assault and cruelty involving incidents with three children.

Accusations include removing the ear protectors from a child who had profound sensitivity to noise and dragging another child across the school playground. The teacher testified that she only had basic training on autism before taking over the class and no experience teaching children with profound learning difficulties.

This is not what any parent of an ESE student wants to hear.

Research and discuss

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 U.S. children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. (A CDC-related study in 2008 of 8-year-old children in Miami-Dade County disclosed that 1 in 139 fell within the autism spectrum.) ASD is close to five times more common in boys than girls.

Knowing this, research schools and make sure to visit the locations and talk with teachers and administrators. You may have to have several discussions before gaining a sense of comfort and confidence.

Observe the classroom

And do not ignore your instincts. An ESE teacher with years of experience may not be the best candidate to guide your child. You need to make sure the teacher has kept up to date with training and teaching advancements. Also, observe from the classroom how this teacher interacts, relates and guides his or her students.