Note: One of the lessons of Covid is that the planet - the entire planet - can and will react and make radical changes if scared into, told to, preached at, warned of something that seems dire. Why is it that autism has barely moved the needle despite our two decades of warnings? It's as if someone - someones - declared that autism was never to be shown as a problem but instead as a version of neurodiversity. Cure was disallowed. Treatment limited only to behavioral and educational models. Grants only for genetics studies. Anne Dachel has been writing about the explosion in the need for special education services for years. Her site Loss of Brain Trust has thousands of reports.
By Anne Dachel
This past week we were again overwhelmed by stories from England along with ones from Ireland, the U.S. and Australia, even Israel—all of which describe never-ending increases in students with disabilities, specifically ones with autism, in their schools.
This is now the pattern. Numbers will only get worse. There is nothing we can do to stop it. We need to spend more and more.
Here are a few of the very concerning comments found in these stories.
Scottsdale, AZ: Bierman ABA Autism Center announced the opening of its first Arizona location in Scottsdale.
Amarillo, TX: The opportunity school has a full waiting list and is currently hiring for teachers to help more children.
Texas: Texas State University and Action Behavior Centers (ABC), a leading provider of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism, have entered into a strategic partnership through which ABC’s employees will have access to a customized graduate ABA degree curriculum at Texas State tailored to meet the growing need for qualified board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) serving children on the autism spectrum.
Colorado: Some state legislators and educators fear, however, that even with the increased investment, the state doesn’t come close to meeting [special needs] students’ needs….
But local school districts take on the majority of the funding burden. When faced with budget shortfalls, they have to figure out ways to pay for special education, like increasing the number of students with disabilities assigned to a single teacher.
Jacksonville, FL: The [autism] school was founded in 1995 by a group of Jacksonville-area parents and business leaders who saw the need….
"There is no other place for a lot of families. … They've been at other schools and not been successful," he said.
Staten Island, NY: A new Staten Island charter school opened to students for the first time this fall for the 2021-2022 academic year, offering an inclusive environment for both general education students and students with special needs, particularly those on the autism spectrum….
Ireland: Families and those working in schools would tell you that provision is still nowhere near adequate in terms of addressing [special ed] students’ needs.
UK: The shocking reports detail how vulnerable children and their families are left to fall into crisis before getting help. Youngsters are waiting more than two years for support in some areas, with delays exacerbated by the pandemic, Ofsted found….
Of the eight areas visited for the first time, seven were told to produce a written statement of action because of “significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice”….
‘Too many children reach crisis point’…
In Richmond upon Thames in west London, another area found to be failing, children were waiting “too long” for autism assessments. Covid had led to “further delays in diagnosis”.