Oct 1, 2018, Lafayette (IN) Journal Courier: Teachers are learning on the job how to manage students with autism https://www.jconline.com/story/news/2018/10/01/autism-drives-teacher-parent-demand-special-needs-training/1410741002/ ... Orion is one of 1,533 students in Lafayette School Corp. and part of the 19.5 percent who are receiving some form of special education. He is one of four in Brittany Ristau’s third grade class at Vinton. Although the Department of Education does not break down diagnosis within special education, the CDC’s most recent data show more children than ever are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD.... The CDC points out this increase could be explained by a broader definition of ASD and better efforts in understanding and diagnosing it. ... Regardless of the why behind it, the fact remains that there will be more students entering the school system who require extra attention. Alicia Clevenger, LSC’s director of elementary education, is aware there has been a rise in ASD diagnosis nationally, but the constant ebb and flow of students moving in and out has kept everything afloat in LSC, she said. … Teachers are feeling a similar sense of anxiety. “Purdue did a pretty good job of telling us how tough it was going to be, but they didn’t prepare us in any way other than just telling us that’s how it’s going to be,” Ristau said. … During her seven years of teaching, Ristau said she can only recall one school-wide training session on inclusion methods to instruct teachers on how to integrate children with special needs into general education classrooms. The co-operative for special education that prevails over all three districts, Greater Lafayette Area Special Services or G.L.A.S.S., trains an autism team for each school in addition to having two autism consultants that work with all three corporations. Teachers and administrators selected to be on a school's autism team go through a two-year cycle of monthly training, G.L.A.S.S. Assistant Director Donna McIlrath said.... "I think sometimes until you have a student in your classroom it can be difficult to understand what you need to do," McIlrath said. Even so, McIlrath said she feels that all teachers are capable of managing a classroom with students on the spectrum. Sometimes all it takes is a little reassurance.... Schools also hire paraprofessionals who work in resource rooms or one-on-one with students with special needs. Paraprofessionals are required to have at least two years of college credits or pass a general aptitude test called the ParaPro.... This school year, five out of 20 students in her class receive some form of special education, whether that's going to the resource room for writing or meeting with a speech pathologist. One of the five has been identified on the autism spectrum and sometimes needs to be taken out of the classroom when he's overwhelmed. Despite this, no paraprofessionals have been assigned to Buckles’ classroom this year….. “The training I’ve had has been all on-the-job training,” Buckles said. “It’s been trial and error. Some days I get it right, and some days I get it really wrong.” It’s obvious to Buckles that the student population is changing. Now the staff is learning to change with them.
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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