April is World Autism Month, aimed to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), increase advocacy, and promote acceptance.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain which may cause people to behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are unique from most people. Autism can sometimes be detected as early as 18 months of age.
In 2019-2020, more than 2,700 HISD students with autism received special education services through the district, representing about 17 percent of all HISD students receiving special education services.
HISD provides different service options for students diagnosed with ASD including:
- General education classroom with consultative support from an autism specialist, if needed
- General education classroom with direct instructional services from a special education teacher
- A combination of general education and self-contained special education classes with consultative and/or direct instructional services
- Self-contained special education classroom with direct instructional services
“HISD offers programs where students who are diagnosed with ASD can learn in small group settings and provides opportunities for them to learn in general education settings,” said Franklin Elementary School Special Education Chairperson Priscilla Johnson. “We provide pull out, pull in, and inclusive learning opportunities for our students diagnosed with ASD.”
According to the CDC, one in 36 children live with autism, with boys being nearly four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. As children with autism become adolescents and young adults, they may experience difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected of them in school or on the job.
“HISD has awesome, dedicated, well-trained special education professionals who always put their children’s needs first,” said Franklin Elementary School Special Education Teacher Agnes Vogelsinger. “We collaborate with their parents on a daily basis to monitor their social, emotional, and academic progress together.”
HISD’s Office of Special Education Services will host their annual Special Education Parent Summit Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.
As part of the summit, specialists and liaisons will recognize World Autism Month by exploring sensory integration and how it can assist students on the autism spectrum.
For more information and to register for the summit, click here.
Follow the Office of Special Education Services on Twitter.
To learn more about autism from the CDC, click here.