Autism in the Classroom
NPR’s recent series on autism included a visit to the May Institute outside of Boston where specialized teachers work with children living with the disorder. A year’s tuition at May now runs $75,000 and parents have pushed hard for their school districts to foot the bill. Massachusetts is feeling the pinch. As the number of diagnosed cases rise—more than half a million children have been diagnosed nationally—superintendents are taking notice and preparing their teachers to work with autistic children in their classrooms. “It’s an unbelievable explosion of kids,” said Newton, Mass. superintendent Jeff Young. “It’s growing both in terms of number and severity.”
Massachusetts recently sent a group of teachers to an autism seminar at the May Institute where they watched demonstration videos of teachers in the classroom and listened to technique instruction from autism specialists. Other school districts around the country are turning to places like May to help them prepare for children who have been diagnosed—at a rate of one out of 150—with some form of autism.