Autism is a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and non verbal communication and social interaction, generally common in children three years old and adversely affects the educational performance.
It is characterized by repetitive activities, stereotyped movements and resistance to change from the daily undertakings, environmental changes and abnormal response to sensory experiences. While there is no consensus on the causes of autism, currently, researchers agree that early diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment can improve the outcomes for the children of autism. Each autistic child is affected differently by autism and therefore the treatment of such focuses on the type exhibited by the child.
The most important part involving treating autism is giving education from home and then to the classroom. Education for autistic children is a responsibility of the parent at no cost and autistic societies that guide the programs and procedures recommended by the law on autism. IDEA is the primary federal law that is concerned on the needs of education on autistic children. This act requires that a free appropriate public education for all eligible children with disabilities.
At the same time, it requires an individualized education program for children with disabilities and their inclusion in statewide and district wide academic assessment. On the other hand, there is an emphasis on putting the disabled child in a least restrictive environment to enable achievement. The requirement in classroom setting needs to cater for all the range of spectrum of autism. The teacher, parent and community needs to support the programs and the students.
The classroom for autism needs structures that stimulate sensory organs required by the autistic children during their normal learning. On the other hand, the school can set up classes for personal instruction of the child especially on the interests and hobbies. At the same time, mainstream classes combined with other developing children proves quite important and gives the highest benefits as they learn from them (Sherman, 2007)
Under the IDEA, each school is supposed to provide an assessment of autistic children by covering the expenses once the parent communicates to the school about his or her child. The assessment is supposed to be sixty days, an IEP meeting is scheduled that determines the child’s requirement whether special education. If the child is eligible, the IEP meeting decides on the type of appropriate program for the child which is subject to evaluation by the parent with an expert. The IDEA gives right to a free appropriate public program which is monitored by the parent to ensure maximum benefits of these rights.
The qualification of the child in IEP is then followed in writing stating the special program and the services to be provided to the child. The school should offer other services like mental health therapy, psychological help, speech, occupation and physical therapies in addition to social and counseling services. Technological and computer education coupled by aids in techniques are some of the requirement schools should provide.
In accordance to the type of requirement of the child, the school should have interactive programs which allow mainstream learning and special attention to the required therapies of the child with autism. Exclusion from the class is only important when the autistic child has been identified to require all day one on one attention to allow the development of literacy skills and mathematics (Graziano, 2008)
In my opinion, no child is supposed to be denied the rights of gaining education. Equality and fairness in providing education to all children, whether normal or abnormal is imperative, to ensure that future generations are well equipped to face the uncertain challenges of the future.
Therefore, education holds the key to this question and the fact that children with autism have been observed to succeed in life when given the chance under appropriate education. This means that the solution to the agony of many parents with autistic children can be reduced if not solved by embracing the right kind of education which is most appropriate for the children.
Graziano, A. (2008), Behavior Therapy with Children. ISBN 0202362833, 9780202362830, Aldine Transaction.
Sherman, A., D. (2007), Autism: Asserting Your Child’s Right to a Special Education. ISBN 0974445509, 9780974445502, Autism Special Education Law.