“We are at crisis point….”
“We are at rock bottom…”
By Anne Dachel
Here’s a recap of stories posted over the past week or so on my site, Loss of Brain Trust. https://www.lossofbraintrust.com/
Again my main focus is on what’s happening in Britain . Two stories in the UK Times and one in the Irish Times both assured the public that the 787 percent increase in autism over the past 20 years is nothing more than “increasing recognition” and they attributed it all on more adults and females being diagnosed with autism. That is so absurd I’m not going to bother to explain how baseless it is.
The Times went so far as to cite a scientist from the University College London who said that the current diagnosis of autism is ‘meaningless’ and that it needs “urgent changes.” Their headline asked if autism “is overdiagnosed.”
(Didn’t we do that in 2013 when Aspergers was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?)
None of this is relevant. No matter how unbelievable the stats are, no matter how many students have a label of autism, we’ll happily adjust.
Autism cannot be a problem, and it can only be discussed as a curiosity we have all the time in the world figure out.
Seemingly unbeknown to the folks at the Irish Times and UK Times, schools are, as the BBC tells us, hitting ‘rock bottom’ because of the draining cost of special education and that involves autism.
Across England there are stories about new or expanding special/autism schools. Almost without exception we’re told that there is an increased demand for places for special education.
It’s a nice cover. “Increased demand” doesn’t have the same impact that “more disabled students” would have. Increased damage could mean we just didn’t realize these students needed extra help.
I like to envision how the stories I’m seeing would sound if reporters actually said that there are more dysfunctional kids out there. Then the “better diagnosing” claim wouldn’t fly so easily.
Notice how educators and elected officials pepper these stories with positive sounding words like “delighted” and “excited” at the same time demand is ever-growing.
Here’s how the spin works
Kirklees: Officials propose a new special school for 132 students.
We are putting forward exciting new proposals for special school provision in the district.
There is a growing demand for special school places in Kirklees and we must ensure this demand can be met in the future….
Following a detailed study, the Deighton site was identified as a strong location for a new school as it is central, well suited to a special school and has scope to meet the demand for places.
Derby: A new school for autistic kids has been proposed to the Derby City Council.
Plans to convert a former nursing home into a school for children with autism in a city suburb have been submitted to Derby City Council.
Autism East Midlands (AEM) wants to convert the Manor House home in Manor Road, Littleover into a day school for up to 20 pupils and around 20 staff. …
…this supports a "clear community need" for an increase in the provision of specialist schooling for autistic children from in and around Derby and adds "this growing need is the main driver of this proposal"….
Thatcham: A nursery school is being changed into a special needs school.
The SEN school will now accommodate 60 pupils and 25 members of staff.
St. Helens Borough: New $10M special school is underway.
Anne Kyle, head teacher at Penkford School, added: “The Special Educational Needs children of St Helens deserve the best facilities to learn in, as they already have so many barriers to learning to overcome.
North Yorkshire County: Here yet another county looks into a new special school to save the enormous cost of out-of-area placement for disabled students. What choice do they have?
A COUNCIL facing spiralling costs to educate children with special educational needs and disabilities is considering sweeping changes to enable more pupils to be educated in their local area and save up to £650,000 [$884K] a year. …
It also follows the council highlighting how a shortage in funding for special educational needs and disabled pupils had, until the current financial year, seen funding being top sliced from the budgets of mainstream schools to cover costs….
Officers said analysis had revealed how independent and out of county residential placements cost £4.7 million [$6.3M] annually,…
The average cost per pupil for each out of county or independent provider placement is £186,958 [$254K].