At NHS Autism School, a classroom of seven starts the day by picking someone to hold the flag for the morning salute. Upstairs, a small group of students is already searching for adjectives on worksheets, with several aides nearby.
Down the hall in an emotional support classroom, a teacher asks students questions one by one.
Teacher Kelly Dugan asks a boy to count to 25 and helps him along. Some of the students stray from their chairs and struggle to focus.
The next student counts backwards from 20.
When he gets stuck, Dugan points out the numbers.
The schedule on the wall lists writing, reading, math, lunch, grooming, cooking and gym class.
The school in south Reading, which serves students on all grade levels, is a licensed private school that provides academic and behavioral health services to students with special needs. And there is a need here for such a school. Since it opened four years ago, it has quickly outgrown its enrollment projections for students with special needs, said school director Corlene Ocker.
More @ http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=310635
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
When I first heard about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JREC) in Canton, Massachusetts, I couldn't believe that such a school existed. The JREC is a school for that uses electric shocks to discipline students with disabilities including autism, mental retardation or emotional-behavioral issues. The school was founded by a Harvard-trained psychologist, Matthew Israel and has long attracted controversy among disability rights activists, parents and experts in the field of mental health.
Today, the Boston Globe reports that Israel faces criminal charges over an incident in 2007, when two teenagers with disabilities who were residents at the JREC were wrongfully administered a number of shocks after a prank phone call by someone posing as a supervisor ordered them.
If the use of electric skin shock on children with disabilities is not troubling and barbaric enough, the suit against Israel also suggests how woefully poor the JREC's administrative practices are and also brings into question the training and supervision of its staff at all levels. From the Boston Globe:
A court official who works at the Norfolk County Superior Court said that today's schedule of cases lists a defendant named Matthew Israel facing two charges, misleading a grand jury and accessory after the fact to a crime.
The charges against Israel are believed to be related to the destruction of some of the center's digital surveillance tapes that would have showed what occurred the night of Aug. 26, 2007, in one of the center's residential group homes in Stoughton. That night, staffers received a prank phone call from someone posing as a supervisor, saying two teenagers, including Dumas's son, should be administered electrical shocks as punishment for bad behavior earlier that day.
The Potential Development School of Autism on the Southeast Side is a single-story building fitted for the unique 55 students it educates.
With hallway floors lined with tape telling students where to go and dividers between desks, the school is structured to give easily distracted autistic children the best opportunity at an education — an education that may not be possible at a public school.
“Instead of getting an appropriate education, their socials skills or their anxieties are holding them back,” said Marilyn Fielding, its director. “We, here, are trained to deal with those kinds of things.”
One important aspect of their education is sensory breaks, or mini-recesses, autistic students frequently need between lessons.
“I can’t tell you how that’s turned around some of our kids,” Fielding said.
A large sensory-break area for the students at the 880 E. Indianola Ave. school, however, is incomplete. A jungle gym occupies half of a playground while the other half is filled with mounds of dirt.
When preparing the ground, workers dug down and discovered water flowing downhill from an old hospital next door. They were forced to lay pipe which diverted the water but also shot up the cost of construction.More ... http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/may/25/school-is-specially-suited-for-autistic-/
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The number of children diagnosed with autism in the Los Alamitos Unified School District has nearly tripled in the last eight years, prompting district officials to hire a behavioral specialist to manage the district’s special-education needs.
Between 2002 and 2010, the district experienced a 175 percent increase in the number of students with the autism spectrum disorder, for a total of 152 students. In total, the district has 800 students with special needs. It’s a trend reflected in districts around the nation, and it has a significant impact on the classroom.
In the past, the Los Alamitos school district contracted with an outside agency instead of having its own behavioral specialist.