Autistic children and schooling
Autism and school
An autistic child without a school
Autism is a condition that affects many children today in all aspects of their lives and it is becoming increasingly more common as it puts a strain on the educational system and the families raising an autistic child. It seems that despite the fact that it is on the rise a great many schools are unable to address the needs of many of the students on the autism spectrum. Many autistic children have difficulties in communicating as they lack the necessary skills and they also have difficulty in controlling their emotions and feelings. They may act out or get easily upset which will trigger a meltdown. In extreme cases it will become a matter of safety for the child and the school will take aggressive action and most likely suspend the child. I believe this may be necessary at times but I also feel that schools have to find ways of helping autistic children and address their needs because many of these schools and their administrators seem to be taking the easy way out and the children are experiencing interrupted schooling and they are losing out on getting an education and learning social skills.
With autism rising I would think that schools would be more conscious of this reality and make strides in improving how they deal with meltdowns and addressing these childrens special needs. Schools have to step up and fund for available resources that will help in keeping these children in school, keeping them safe and teaching them rather than giving them the "cold shoulder" and suspending them. This is totally contradictory to the concept of "no child left behind" which should be a high priority. All children need to be given a proper education and if they have special needs they must be considered for appropriate programs that will help them in obtaining an education and improving their situation.
We have experienced a "rocky road" in providing our son an education and it seems the schools he has attended felt compelled to "throw in the towel" and permanently suspend him as a result of his meltdowns and his behavioral difficulties. We have been seeking the support of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, and the school district to get him properly placed and although the school he was currently attending has been cooperative in trying to help us it seems that they could not address his special needs. I often wonder if schools are not yet ready to help educate autistic children since it seems they are so quick to suspend them. We have yet to find a school that caters to an autistic child's needs and will focus on their complete development. It seems that these schools are few and far between or it is a big secret as to finding them or having your child placed there.
Most parents of autistic children do not have the financial resources in sending their children to private schools and therefore they must rely on the public schools hoping there are appropriate programs that will suit their child's special needs. It seems schools are making more and more cutbacks in regard to hiring teachers, funding special programs and addressing the needs of autistic and other special needs children.
All children need to obtain an education and there must be more understanding and compassion for children that have personal struggles and special needs. Schools have to take an active interest in helping all of its students and must not be so quick to give up on autistic and other children that have emotional difficulties. They need to support them, nurture them and encourage them. By suspending them they are sending the wrong message and they are destroying their self esteem and causing them and their families psychological pain and frustration. It really bothers me knowing that I pay property taxes which are very high and part is used to fund education which my son is losing out on because the school continues to suspend him. This is unfair and it really makes me wonder what these schools plan to do with the increasing rise of autistic children seeking an education. Will they help and educate them or shatter their self esteem by continually suspending them?
My hope is that the schools will grow to appreciate these special children on the spectrum, find their strengths, educate them, treat them with respect and give them the opportunity they so deserve.
Edward D. Iannielli III
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