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Responding to rise in autism in schools, committee gives recommendations

Here’s an eye-popping statistic for you: Between 1998 and 2002, the number of California students receiving services for autism almost doubled (10,360 to 20,377), and the number has continued to grow.

State superintendent Jack O’Connell convened a committee to respond to the trend. It has just released recommendations to the governor and state legislature.

Here’s the summary, from the state department of education. What would you add? Take a look and let us know what you think:

  • Changes are called for to ensure a seamless delivery of services and early intervention for students with ASD and their families. Also, changes are called for in the dissemination, training, credentials, and certification of people working with students with ASD.
  • Develop a statewide, education-focused interagency clearinghouse to provide information on ASD-related, evidence-based interventions, strategies, and other resources.
  • Provide technical assistance and training to people at schools to implement and disseminate evidence-based ASD information and strategies.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sue

    We’ll see what comes of this.

    As the parent of an OUSD student with autism, I haven’t seen much/anything good come from Sacramento so far. We have a home-grown program for high-functioning autism and Aspergers Syndrome students that started six years ago, and has (mostly) been very effective and successful.

    I’m sorry to see that the listed committee members don’t include anyone from OUSD, or from the private agencies with which I’m familiar in the Bay Area which contract to our district to provide support and services for our students program.

    If this is because our district’s program isn’t as state-of-the-art as I believe it to be, then I’ll welcome the new information and services that the state brings to our district. But if the committee doesn’t provide anything helpful to Oakland, then I doubt that it will be providing much of use to the rest of the state either.

    Only time will tell.

  • Katy Murphy

    After posting the above entry, I came across an Associated Press/MSNBC story about the rise in autism cases. The story, headlined “Autism `epidemic’ may be all in the label,” suggests that the surge might be partly explained by a new, broader definition of autism.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21600784/