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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Autism and Schools: Good News and Bad

The Houston Chronicle reports on a Houston school for kids with disabilities:
A generation or more of mainstreaming students with disabilities has increased public acceptance, but employers have been slower to adapt. Options for community housing are still limited, as well. Monarch is trying to change that, one student at a time.
The school’s mission has broadened over the years.
It now serves students from prekindergarten through high school and offers a post-graduate program with internships, help finding jobs and, for some students, the transition to college. It has a small housing program, a cluster of homes near the campus where students ranging from their teens to early 30s live with a house parent.
An apartment program for more independent living could start next year.
Monarch serves students with attention deficit disorder, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and mood, anxiety and seizure disorders. The number with autism spectrum disorders has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and now accounts for almost two-thirds of the school’s enrollment, executive director Marty Webb said.
In FloridaThe Orlando Sentinel reports:
Parents of autistic Lake students are upset about a plan to cease out-of-county busing for their children to attend a specialized Orlando charter school.
The school district is hoping to save $400,000 of transportation expenses it pays to bus 32 autistic students to Princeton House Charter School in Orlando. The district began footing the bill for busing about 10 years ago when officials said the district could not provide the autistic students with proper services.
Now, district officials are saying the students can get a proper education within Lake schools and want to cut the out-of-county busing during a tight budget year. The School Board still needs to figure out how to come up with about $1.3 million to meet next year's budget needs.
In GeorgiaWSB in Atlanta reports:
The family of an autistic high school student is outraged the state Board of Education won't let him graduate next week.
Sinclaire Coffer, 17, is a senior at North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs.
"He's a model student," his sister Capri told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik. "Not being able to graduate is an impediment to his dream.”
Coffer showed Petchenik paperwork that shows school officials are well aware of his difficulties with math. His transcripts show he excels in other subjects, including English and history.
"We’ve gotten a private tutor," his mother said. "He’s taken classes that are offered by the school in summer and throughout the school year.”
Still, Coffer has failed the state's required math graduation exam five times. 
I’ve been trying really hard," Coffer told Petchenik. "I passed all of the art ones on the first try, but it’s just math that gets me.”
Because of his diagnosis, the Coffers requested a special waiver from the Board of Education that would have allowed him to graduate. On Thursday, the board voted to deny his request.

"I’ve been trying really hard," Coffer told Petchenik. "I passed all of the art ones on the first try, but it’s just math that gets me.”