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Long Term Inclusion for Children with Autism

Updated on December 15, 2012

Long Term Inclusion for Children with Autism

Inclusion, for children with Autism and other disabilities, appeared to happen pretty rapidly. Technical assistance and training was provided to many schools and their staff. If they were even remotely interested in including a student with disabilities it seemed easy.

Unfortunately many times when the principal or teachers leave or change inclusion falls apart. This was particularly true for students with behavioral problems. Those students included many children with Autism. Many of their gains were lost in the changes.

Parents and professionals at some point realized that fundamental changes had not been made. For inclusion to last there needed to be more. There needed to be change made to the way funding was provided to the school systems and the schools for special education students.

Special education professionals, teachers and administrators, and parents needed to be at the table when decisions were made about curriculum. Those same people needed to be there when the state was making policy decisions and working on school reform.

Particularly for parents and teachers this seems to be a natural extension of the national efforts to strengthen and extend their involvement. Parents of children with Autism and other disabilities and regular education teachers were deemed important and integral parts of the Individual Education Program (IEP) process.

Their participation was written into the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. At the same time this was happening, the need for individual support for a child with a disability such as Autism had not gone away. The challenge is to be able to provide both types of support at once, support on a school wide and state level and support on the individual level.

Well-meaning professionals and many parents believed that if a child with significant disabilities such as Autism were supported in regular education the lessons would flow over to the other children. Although this did happen, it did not happen to the extent that had been hoped.

Those types of support are labor and resource intensive and needed on an individual basis at times. Eventually the state departments of education went to a different model. They had trainings offering to support specific students with Autism and other disabilities. But the difference was that an entire team of people involved with that child had to be trained.

The team consisted of administrators, teachers, related service providers, and the parent. School staff and some of the district staff were involved learning the concepts and skills required to support an included child. This was a basic change that started to have a larger impact on children with Autism throughout their school career.


Was your child with Autism or any other disability included in regular education classes?

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    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Linda! My son has Autism. I'm so happy that he was mainstreamed this year. He does have an aide, but he also has other services such as speech and occupational therapy. (Both in school and private.)

      I couldn't be more pleased with his success in school and how much he loves school this year.

      I remember when I was a kid, there was a little boy that a teacher kept putting in the corner. That would never go over today. Thank goodness.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I do not have a child with autism. But my children have all had classmate friends with autism. We are quite progressive for special needs where they attended schooling. Sometimes priorities had to be changed and sacrifices made by mainstream. But the benefits to the mainstream children was well worth it. these children are special and bring a gift to others that should not be tucked away. Great subject and great hub, thanks

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 4 years ago from Louisiana

      I guess what bothers me about a full time aide is that child then has an adult attached to him. No matter how well trained the adult is to stay out of the way, he/she still gets in the way of relationships between the children.

    • profile image

      SandCastles 4 years ago

      Sometimes inclusion isn't always the best idea unless the child has a full time aide working with them. It depends on the severity of the autism. Maybe part-time inclusion with an area for kids away from all the distractions. It really depends on the teachers. I've heard a horror story of an autistic boy who was treated deplorably by his teacher (the dad put a bug on his child and heard how she taunted the child). Also some teachers are quick to judge someone who is non-verbal, calling the kid stupid or weak. Some adults almost worship of the loud, assertive kids while they snub their nose at the quieter kids. I've even seen this at University. Good hub.