It has recently come to our attention that the New York Regents is attempting to reduce the minimum educational standards for students with autism. We have serious concerns about this issue. We have heard that the NY State Regents are interested in making integrated classrooms bigger and eliminating the minimum speech therapy standards for students with autism. We are also told that these standards are being lowered for fiscal reasons alone.
We find this unacceptable as do many other parents with children on the spectrum. Current educational efforts are already lacking for many of these students. There is no alternative to our public education for children on the spectrum, especially now that the Governor has vetoed the autism insurance reform proposed legislation. We are confused why New York, once a progressive state with very high educational standards, is deciding it no longer wants to be in the forefront of modern educational movements. One of the many reasons that people choose to stay in New York state were the once wonderful public schools and programs for children that they offered.
We are deeply disheartened to hear that the services we already have had to fight for our son, may be further watered down to meet some financial goal.
Time and time again, I revisit in my head: are there better places for services? I read complaints from parents from all over the country. And you also hear from time to time about such and such city that is everything and anything. I have a hard time believing it though. I think someone, or maybe even a few families, get lucky, and then everybody starts moving there, and the voila, the pie gets diced up pretty small and now things aren't so great.
When in Connecticut recently, we asked about services there. Again, we heard much like we have about everywhere else: it depends. There are more laws on the books pertaining to covering autism there. There are great top notch research universities that study autism and I believe end up affecting the culture in the area. But each individual case is just that.
So if you are in NY, and love someone with autism please check out the following website to learn how you can help with the proposed cut to services. An email or phone call to one of the Regents would be greatly appreciated! Time is running out!
Autism Action Alert