It’s not about the condition, it’s about the money.
NCLB ties school funding and the ability (or mandate, depending on which side of the coin you’re on) to provide a struggling student help to diagnosis with one of a number of recognized conditions. Yes, your kid’s school cannot recoup any of the money spent helping your child get up to par (and isn’t really required to help at all) unless he or she is diagnosed with something.
The diagnostic criteria for a determination of autism under NCLB are as follows:
[ ] The Eligibility team has ruled out emotional disability as the PRIMARY basis for the student’s learning difficulties.
The student displays a developmental disability significantly effecting:
[ ] verbal communication
[ ] non verbal communication
[ ] social interaction
Other characteristics often associated with autism (check all that apply):
[ ] engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements
[ ] resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
[ ] unusual responses to sensory experiences
Descriptive Analysis (Optional):
[ ] MEETS THE AUTISM CRITERIA
[ ] DOES NOT MEET THE AUTISM CRITERIA
That’s the whole section for autism on the federally-mandated evaluation paperwork. It leaves schools a lot of leeway, and they use it.
I don’t feel particularly strongly for or against the determination. I recognize that it isn’t tied to a disorder, it’s tied to a set of procedures. If a child is autistic, the child’s school gets money from the federal government. The child’s parents can even apply for SSI payments. The school is required to provide services to help the child function and learn.
The problem is this:
Kids who don’t have a specific disorder, or have one that doesn’t bring in any money, are shoehorned into a diagnosis that suits not the child, but the procedural process. In the name of doing something, anything, to help the struggling student, all sorts of very expensive services are applied that aren’t directly addressing what the child needs. Meanwhile, less expensive programs that are more effective for a large number of children (such as subject-based remediation) have been discontinued because they don’t address a disorder for which the school can receive extra funds.
Parents who don’t understand the relationship between money and autism (or similarly funding-directed diagnoses), are left confused, frustrated, and unable to help their kids be successful.
Autism Rate Jumps Almost 60 Percent In Four Years
The researchers said they do not know what caused the dramatic increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism, but it could be due with a broader definition of autism disorders and heightened awareness by parents, doctors and teachers about the condition.Read more at www.allheadlinenews.com