Tennessee: 10,432 students were diagnosed with ASD in 2016-17; 10% increase from 2008-9

May 2, 2018, NBC10, Knoxville, TN: Number of students with autism up ten percent statewide The number of students living with autism in Tennessee is on the rise. According to the Tennessee Dept. of Education, 10,432 students were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2016-17, a ten percent increase from the 2008-09 school year when 4,595 students were reportedly living with the condition…. A new report reveals one in 59 children in the U.S. are born with the condition, up from one in 68 children two years ago. Local school districts are trying to keep up in the classroom. … Scripa heads up a team of four that travels around the school district, serving about 500 students with disabilities and preparing them for life after graduation. But the case load is growing as federal and state funding struggle to keep up. … Cordell, a former teacher, knows the challenge of meeting those needs. "One of the hardest challenges is for teachers who are considered regular ed teachers who aren't special ed teachers to try to understand how to work in the classroom with an individual with a disability, especially an invisible disability like autism where you can't tell by looking at someone that they have a disability," she said. … But keeping up in the classroom is not always easy. "Twelve to thirteen percent of a typical classroom could have that level of student with disabilities," said Melissa Massie, Exec. Dir. of Student Support Services for Knox County Schools. "Many of our students who have autism spend a lot of their day in the general education classroom, sometimes 100 percent of their day in the general education classroom, so making sure we have supports for teachers and making sure they have the knowledge and understanding is really important to us." … General education teachers also receive extra training, but Hancock thinks they need more. … KCS offers individual training for teachers who need more help in the classroom. But as the number of students with autism climbs, the school district is making the most of its resources. "It's not necessarily a school problem. It's a community problem to try and keep up with those big diagnoses," said Cordell.