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Santa Rosa, CA: Elem schools adds 2 classrooms for autistic students

Jan 17, 2019, Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat: Rohnert Park elementary school launches program for students with autism Madison Galvez can recite word for word lines from a TV program after only watching the show once, and she can strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere. But the 9-year-old girl, who has high-functioning autism, also can get overstimulated in social situations, leading at times to emotional meltdowns. “You have moments of great joy, and you have moments of acting out,” said Duaine Labno, her stepfather and a Rohnert Park police detective who has cared for her since she was 2. Galvez is enrolled in one of two new special education classes at John Reed Elementary School in Rohnert Park, developed for students with mild to moderate autism. Diagnosed just a couple of years ago, Galvez used to struggle in school, despite having aides to assist her and an Individualized Education Plan, her parents said. But the new program with a 2-1 student-to-staff ratio, individualized curriculum and assessments, and structured but flexible class schedules have helped her progress in school…. The school has two classes geared toward students with autism, with a total of 18 students enrolled, Principal Monica Fong said. … Asked how she explains her diagnosis to others, Galvez was straightforward. “I just tell them I’m autistic, and I don’t know why,” she said as she bounced around in class. “Everybody’s happy in their own way.”


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