An estimated 637,000 children ages 3-17 in the U.S. (or 1 in 91) had a current Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis in 2007 according to a widely accepted study published in Pediatrics. That represents a 67% increase from a previous estimate by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, which reported autism rates of 66 per 10,000 children (or 1 in 150) in 2002.
With such an alarming growth in the prevalence of autism, it is no surprise that public school districts nationwide are struggling to keep pace with the complex needs of a growing autism population. Students' needs are usually addressed through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process, where educators propose specific programs and services while parents advocate for what they believe is best for their children on an individual basis. Often this puts schools and parents in an adversarial relationship, missing the "big picture" and the opportunity to create a program structure of best practices that have been proven effective in supporting students with autism.
As part of its commitment to the autism community, Rethink Autism (http://www.rethinkautism.com) is offering a free online webinar, "Key Components Of An Effective School-Based Autism Program," for school district leaders, teachers and parents on Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 1p EST / 12p CST and Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 3p EST / 2p CST, presented by Jamie Pagliaro, who is the Executive VP at Rethink Autism and Founding Executive Director, NY Center for Autism Charter School.
The webinar will identify seven key components that research and practitioners agree are necessary to effectively support students with autism. It will provide a framework for district leaders to allocate resources, for teachers to coordinate direct services, and for parents to advocate, in a collaborative effort to improve supports for students on the autism spectrum.
This free online webinar is open to anyone with Internet access - parents and professionals - but capacity is limited so registration is required to attend (at http://www.rethinkautism.com). In its Expert Access webinar series, Rethink Autism connects the autism community with leading experts to share knowledge and perspectives on a variety of important topics.
Rethink Autism's unique web-based program provides teachers with a comprehensive evidence-based curriculum through 1200+ video-based teaching steps, parent and staff training modules, an assessment tool, and progress tracking features. The curriculum, endorsed by leaders in the field of autism treatment and research, spans the entire autism spectrum and covers a broad range of skills, including academics, language, social, motor, daily living, and behavior managements.