Monday, April 20, 2009

In New York City, a Tug of War to Educate Children with Autism

Disturbing story from Sunday's edition of The New York Times about the large number of children with autism and how their families are struggling to find and afford schools.

Of the more than 6,800 children with autism recorded by the city’s public schools, 4,200 are enrolled in special education classes with a small student-to-teacher to ratio, 285 students are part of a program where children with autism are taught alongside regular education students and 28 are in a charter school with a one-to-one ratio between teachers and students.

Other autistic students attend private schools from a list of those approved by the state, and their tuition, which ranges from $30,800 to $48,100, is paid by the city’s Education Department. Finally, if parents are dissatisfied with any of the options offered by the public schools, they can choose another private school, one not on the list, at their own expense --which can run from $80,000 and higher -- and seek to have the cost reimbursed by the city.

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