Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Separate does not mean Equal - Autism Schooling -- Part 1

Hey Aspierations Friends!

If you're on a lot of autism mailing lists like I am, you may have seen the recent online article in the New York Times talking about Governor Christie's proposal for specialized public schools for children on the autism spectrum that live in New Jersey.

Here is a link to that article:

This is SUCH a loaded subject and I'm sure many are divided with their feelings about the issue.  My husband John at Life and Times of John Krejcha chimed in today with his own blog response:

http://johnkrejcha.blogspot.com/2011/01/separate-is-not-equal.html  - Separate Is Not Equal

Tomorrow night I will be blogging with my thoughts on the subject, although I can tell you in advance, that many of them mirror John's.

As I posted on Facebook earlier this evening, I personally believe in well-developed educational programs that mainstream children with autism with their typically developing peers as well as with other children who may have other special needs.  I am against the concept of having a public school system make the decision to segregate all children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder such as Asperger's, Autism or PDD-NOS by having them be educated in a special school.

For some children and some families, a school such as the Centers For Excellence Christie is proposing might be appropriate.  I do not agree that would ideally be the best educational option for most ASD children.  I strongly believe that if you want your child's light to shine brightest, he/she should be in an inclusive, positive environment that encourages him or her to excel, doesn't set limits and doesn't exclude because he or she has different abilities.

I will talk about this more in-depth **edited** in the future. I want to gather my thoughts together because this is an important subject and I want to make sure I choose my words to reflect my true feelings and beliefs.  I also want to do a little more research into the subject to make sure I correctly understand what is being proposed in New Jersey.

In the meantime, please check out the New York Times article and John's response.  Feel free to let us know what you think either on John's blog, mine or both.

I'll catch you again here soon!
Letting my light shine,

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