Brainerd, MN: local schools:121% growth in autism; 20% of students in SPED

Nov 25, 2017, Brainerd (MN) Dispatch: ISD 181 Viewpoint: Changes in special education mean changes for school buildings ...It took until 1975 for the federal government to enact the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) which established the right for all children, regardless of disability, to a free and appropriate public education. This made a way for students with disabilities to be educated alongside their nondisabled peers. Since this monumental legislation was enacted, the number of students with disabilities has steadily increased. A recent study presented to the Brainerd School Board shows that in 2012 there were 1,198 students with disabilities, or 17.3 percent of the total student body, being served in Brainerd Public Schools. By 2016 there were 1,410, or 19.5 percent of students, being served. While there have been significant increases across all disability categories, the number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder has increased by 120.65 percent in that time. This growth has created a demand not only for teachers and support staff, but also for space to serve our students appropriately. That space demand is for more classroom space and also for specialized spaces in order to meet the needs. ...

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