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Tucson, AZ: 490 autistic students in Tucson; more coming

Aug 9, 2017, Arizona Daily Star: Waiting lists, IEPs, ESAs, fear: Here's what it's like to Find a local school if your child has autism http://tucson.com/news/local/waiting-lists-ieps-esas-fear-here-s-what-it-s/article_593b1bac-7d15-11e7-8ea9-33444a3138fd.html Autism in Arizona There are no specific numbers for Tucson, but to illustrate how many families with children on the spectrum are searching for schools — Intermountain Academy has a waiting list of 200 children. Though the school plans to add two classes per year until it reaches its full capacity of 120, it still won't be able to accommodate that entire waiting list. To help fill the need, Intermountain Academy hopes to expand to another campus in the future, said Paul O'Rourke, the school's director of communications. Tucson Unified School District, Tucson's largest public school district, has 490 children with autism enrolled this year. For a bigger picture, in 1975, 1 in 5,000 children were identified as having autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Now, that number is 1 in 66 or 1.5 percent of 8-year-olds in Arizona. ... "There are definitely more students identified as being with autism," said Maura Clark-Ingle, director of exceptional education for TUSD. "Students are identified at a younger age...we're really excited about that because we now know students that are struggling and do have autism or are on the spectrum can get services earlier instead of waiting until they're older and have had trouble in school." … All TUSD schools are equipped to assist students with autism. ...