Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Adding More Schools for Autism Just Might Defeat the Purpose - National Autism & Parenting | Examiner.com
Monday, January 17, 2011
More Autism Schools Proposed in New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie has proposed creating additional specialized public schools for educating children with autism in New Jersey, a departure from the current practice in many communities of integrating those children into neighborhood schools.
The governor proposed creating “centers for excellence” in every county, suggesting that such schools could save money for districts and ensure a higher quality of instruction. He told the audience at a town-hall-style meeting in Paramus on Thursday night that “the start-up costs of these programs, if you do it district-by-district, are mind-blowing and the quality is variable.”
Parents and advocates are split over the idea of creating specialized schools for children with autism, reflecting a larger debate nationally over whether those children are best served in separate programs or in general-education classes.
Critics of the idea say that children with disabilities gain valuable academic and social skills from interacting with their peers without disabilities, and also develop closer ties to their communities.
“We’re horrified at this suggestion to have another segregated setting for children with autism in every county in New Jersey,” said Diana Autin, executive co-director of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, a nonprofit group that assists families. “It would also send a message to parents that children with autism can’t be included.”READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES HERE