At-risk students and autism

studentsatriskAccording to Charrisse Beach, 23% of students within the Joliet Public Schools have been identified as at-risk.  If one assumes that Joliet is indicative of schools across the United States then it means that an alarming one quarter of all children are at-risk students.  While specifics on what percentages of those are on the autism spectrum have not been identified, it is safe to assume the number is high.

What does it mean to be an at-risk student?

Charrisse Beach, assistant principal for Joliet Public Schools and certified presenter for the Illinois State Board of Education, paints a grim picture of teacher preparation in the United States, especially when dealing with children who exhibit emotional and behavioral difficulties. In her book, At- Risk Students: Transforming Student Behavior, Beach presents the brutal facts about the limited understanding and resources available to help the majority of at-risk students.

“At- risk students challenge every school leader. Educators need to recognize that one-size does not fit all when working with at-risk students. Educators need to take a hard look at what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to explore and develop plans to best help these students.”

In an informative and content rich interview, Beach discussed with Autism Daily Newscast

  • Why is it important for educators to identify children exhibiting at-risk behaviors?
  • How can educators incorporate these policies to help support and monitor achievement for at-risk students – particularly those who are autistic?
  • What are the top three signs your child has a teacher who is inadequately prepared to deal with your autistic child?
  • How can parents and the autism community come together to expand opportunities and the quality of life for at-risk students?
  • What are the challenges as at-risk students with autism move into post-secondary education or employment?

As those on the spectrum have an IEP, Beach also advocates a individual  plan be established around services to provide a real and comprehensive “wrap around” service. The first six minutes of the interview can be viewed below. The full interview is featured in this month’s ASDigest which goes on newsstands next week.