Concept Schools Adapt to Growing Autism Rates

Concept Schools Adapt to Growing Autism Rates

 

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum—a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered.

With this unanticipated rise, schools have had to adapt fairly quickly to meet the educational needs of students on the autism spectrum. Our public charter schools, located throughout the Midwest, utilize our charter sponsors with Autism Itinerant collaborations, and our staff use exemplary researched-based practices on a daily basis. Our dedicated and highly qualified staff members are supporting students with autism and adapting to a growing demographic of students. Through individualized education plans and program design, the caring Special Education team partners with teachers inclusively, and students are supported in Resource settings with a variety of unique supports.

In these photos are examples of sensory, communication, and behavioral best practices that our caring staff fosters in students with autism at school. We also employ the popular PBIS, or Positive Behavior Intervention Supports, in our schools, which help to establish a positive, preventive, and safe school environment and help students flourish academically with a supportive focus on student outcomes related to social, emotional, and behavioral competence.  Having PBIS in place gives students tools to change their behaviors in ways that allow them to be included in the general education setting. But, sometimes a student will require an individualized education plan with behavior intervention planning. To learn more about PBIS, please visit www.pbis.org.

Concept Schools, like all public charter schools, offer Special Education programs in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, according to each student’s “least restrictive environment” with a continuum of services that support students through individualized education plans. We continue to be proud of the creative and enthusiastic programs we have implemented, and that our schools are places where students can flourish in diverse learning environments.

To learn more about autism, visit www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism. And to learn more about Concept Schools Department of Special Education, please visit specialeducation.conceptschools.org.

Concept Schools is a 501(c)3 non-profit charter school management organization with 30 charter schools in 7 Midwest states.

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