Aug 3, 2018, Houston Chronicle: Woodlands school for children with autism looks to expand https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/schools/article/1-year-after-opening-Woodlands-school-for-13130431.php …For the co-founders of the Texas Autism Academy — Cary Mollinedo, Jane Walls and Shelinta Perez — the school came about as a solution to the lack of suitable special education services in public schools. The three met as special education teachers at Cooper Elementary School in 2014 and developed the idea to bring specialized care for children with autism in South Montgomery County — where some 2,000 children and parents whose only option up to that point was full-time intensive therapy, homeschooling or making the 45-minute one-way trips to specialized schools in West Houston…. The gap that the academy fills is a major one, Mollinedo said. For parents of non-verbal or low-functioning children, day care may not be an option, and they’re often faced with the choice of putting the children in full-time ABA therapy or homeschooling them, she said. Even the few schools that do offer similar academic and therapy services often lack longevity. Mollinedo, Walls and Perez modeled the academy’s program after a San Antonio-area charter school that has a long waiting list and doesn’t offer services past the second grade…. Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental delay condition that affects around 1 in 59 people in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition impairs an individual’s ability to communicate and interact socially to varying degrees from less affect to more serious impairment. The private non-profit school offered places for children aged 4 to 10 in their first school year, with plans to expand the age range — in the 2018-2019 school year, Mollinedo said. The Texas Autism Academy plans to more than double its previous student population from 5 to 12, all the while maintaining the 2:7 teacher to student ratio that allows for personalized care. “We want to hire staff that are capable of working with children on the spectrum,” Mollinedo said. …
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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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