Media Coverage of CA SB277
"Eminence Based" Medicine versus Evidence Based

Massachusetts' Special Education Soars - So Do Problems

Mass SPED chart
By Anne Dachel

This article is the second of a two part series on the Massachusetts special education system. Problems are enormous with no solutions in sight. There are charges of abuse and neglect in a program that seems to be failing to meet the needs of the disabled in state schools.

This particular story focuses on the numbers, the jaw-dropping increases in special needs students, especially those with autism. Something is clearly wrong. The burden on schools is overwhelming, yet nowhere in this coverage is there a call for answers.

Aug 17, 2016, WBUR Boston: 'There Is No Yelp': Why Parents Struggle With The State's Special Ed System

"We have a growing concern about students with disabilities across the commonwealth being severely mistreated," said Stan Eichner, the center's head litigator. "It’s our sense that the mistreatment of these youngsters with disabilities is not limited to public or private schools, it’s not limited by geography, and we think it’s a widespread problem.”...

According to state data, the number of special ed students with severe disabilities is increasing. Since 2003, enrollment of students with autism, for example, is up more than 300 percent. The number of students with severe neurological impairments is up almost 150 percent in the same time frame....

Mossaides says she believes this is the first time the state has taken such a deep dive into reviewing oversight of these schools.

"I think the population of children that are now in these schools represent more acute cases than ever before and so it is a good time to look at the protocols and say, ‘Are these sufficient to protect the children who are currently in these schools?' "

What do school officials who’ve been involved in education for more than twenty say about these increases? Do they try and convince themselves that nothing is wrong? Do they pretend that students like this were locked in institutions or kept at home back in the 90s? Do they worry that the soaring rate will continue to increase? When will autism become a crisis for Massachusetts? 30,000 autistic students? 50,000?

And lastly, if the state is struggling to serve the needs of so many disabled students, how will Massachusetts handle the thousands of young adults with autism who will be leaving high school in the coming years?

Look at the comments at the end of the article.

One comment is a look into the future when so many disabled will have to be supported by the taxpayers.

At the risk of being roundly lambasted, is it time to have a discussion about the limits of educating severely disabled children using the public education system? Given that public funding, at some point, becomes a fundamental constraint that affects both the taxpayer as well as Special Ed and normal children in the public school system at what point do we concede that it is both impractical and unfair to support the few to the detriment of many?

And another is from an educator who isn’t buying the “better diagnosing—no real increase” claim.

There are so many things I can say about this, being an elementary school counselor in an urban public school district. I've been doing this work for 25 years, and have seen a dramatic increase in the number and severity of children's mental health issues and diagnoses such as autism. It's a real thing, not just overdiagnosing or an increase in awareness. And despite what Law thinks, it's generally not due to "poor parenting."

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


Good to Know

1. Repeal the law that protects the Big Pharma drug companies from being liable for the vaccine damage fostered onto our children. They benefit from the easy money generated from these vaccines as the shot takes only a few minutes to administer and does not require the attention of a physician. Doctors/nurses/pharmacies and hospitals that give the vaccines, are not liable either.

2. Subpoena William Thompson, the senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was the whistle blower regarding issues of fraud and malfeasance in the CDC, specifically regarding the link between neurodevelopmental disorders and childhood vaccines.

Keep your Senators and Representatives informed of your views on vaccines. You can contact them via their Facebook or Twitter accounts or

 What say you Presidential candidates?

Severe Neurological impairments up 150% in that time. No surprise to those of us in education. This is surely not sustainable. It would have been nice if Stein had just come out and said what she really thinks of vaccines and what they are doing to our children. Trump does and thereby has earned the peoples' trust. Conversely Hillary receives contempt for her staunch and bought stance, while Stein is seen as just pandering to all sides. Squeak up people: are you men or mice?

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Benedetta, Thanks, and for your comments below on the flawed CDC "experts."

The world and our futures have not turned out to be what we expected. It is certainly not boring. We must continue to confront high-minded wizards attempting to stamp out reality.


Eileen; I am so sorry. There by the grace of God go I. The world did not turn out to be how I thought it would be at all! It sure has not been boring.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Anne, Thanks for continuing to point out what "experts" are turning their backs on.

Good people undertake careers in special education, but then come face to face with the hopelessness of overcoming brain damage even with the most creative teaching methods.

Good people work in group homes while they undertake higher education, but adults with autism are even more difficult than children in special ed.

My son Conrad was murdered by a lethal dose of Thorazine ordered by a psychiatrist responding to desperate pleas from staff his group home for increased medication to keep his behaviors under control. Staff believed the facilitated-communicator who "explained" that Conrad had suffered physical and sexual abuse from his mother; that would be me.


@Tim Lundeen,

Saw your comment on the article... ROFL

Bob Moffit

@ Tim

"...we will spend billions of dollars studying EVERYTHING EXCEPT VACCINES, BECAUSE IT COULD NOT BE THE VACCINES!"

Every time I am reminded of the "anything but vaccines" research .. I am reminded of this "old" tale:

"Town of allopath seeks "cause" of so many car accidents" ...

It had to be the SKIDMARKS .. just as it has to be ANYTHING BUT VACCINES

Tim Lundeen

But there's one thing we know: IT IS NOT THE VACCINES. IT COULD NOT BE THE VACCINES. ANYONE WHO THINKS IT MIGHT BE THE VACCINES WEARS A TINFOIL HAT! Of course, we have no ideas what causes this, it is probably just genetic and better diagnosis, probably no real change, and we will spend billions of dollars studying EVERYTHING EXCEPT VACCINES, BECAUSE IT COULD NOT BE THE VACCINES!


The fad in MA is shared housing--where you pair someone with autism and often someone from a third world country, and hey, the housing problems are solved. Except as a parent, I am left wondering just who wants to do shared housing with someone with moderate to severe autism. Not many people, and not for very long, I'm willing to bet. While the parents alive and can sue, I imagine things will run okay, but it there's no one watching, I have not doubt abuse will escalate. As editors like to say, if it bleeds, it leads. I'm very much afraid that until there are enough dead bodies, no one is going to pay attention.


This article shows how stupid state legislators are. For a campaign contribution or fear of retribution from the pro-vaccine cultist in this country starting with the pharmaceutical industry they have put on blinders. Autistic children have come of age and soon there will be several generations more plus children who are disabled because of vaccines will be coming of age-who is going to provided the necessary care and services for them? The states? Where are they going to get the money? The Federal government? Are there any government programs in place to train people to care for these individuals or is the plan to allow them to be in the care, even just a few hours a day, of people who have no skills or temperament to be caring for disabled people? Although I never encourage violence but someone needs to smack these legislators upside the head and say YOU ARE IGNORANT OF THE BIG PICTURE WHILE YOU ARE LINING YOU POCKETS!

I have a family member right now who is constantly dealing with agencies who have nothing for young autistic adults who have left the public schools but is incapable of attending college and it is overwhelming at times. Folks in every state need to attend any and all state meetings where vaccines are discussed and funding for disabled people is discussed with signs that say "We are not others." "We are Human Being!"

Louis Conte

Excellent job highlighting the impact on special education.

Keep going!


I have been wondering for a long time why the CDC is acting like it has to go in and do it's own assessments when this is what the schools are really good at it. I do mean they are really good.

I know cause back in the 90s during teachers' meetings at the beginning and the ending of the year these experts came in and did long; eye glazing over lots of overhead projector - bar graphs, line graphs - copied text on percentiles

Back in the 90s -- each year the school district I worked for - special education population increased each year by 10 percent.

That meant that for each school in the district (there was six schools) there was an additional student or two more than there had been in the preceding year.

So, like everything else - why is this not been reported in the news?

We get the Zika virus is coming and so many important issues -- I mean really important issues are not being covered.

And why is the CDC acting like they have to do their own assessments ,when you know they have to be getting it all tied up in a neat little package from any school district they so desire?


The huge increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed with autism and other learning disabilities is staggering. The country as a whole will not be able to support the enormous numbers of people with autism. My son is an adult and the system is already broken with long wait lists for services, housing etc. My question for the presidential candidates is what are you going to do about the autism crisis in our country? We, the families, are left with the responsibility of trying to cope with an uncertain future for our children.

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