Change in Minneapolis public school program for children with autism sparks protest – w/video

yellow school busMinneapolis — A change in the city’s program for children with autism in public schools has sparked protest among parents caring for children on the spectrum.

Public schools in Minneapolis will no longer be including children on the lower end of the spectrum to their autism program, with the hope of keeping the children closer to their homes.

But parents are concerned the planned change will only cause problems as they fear the children affected would no longer be receiving the kind of care and attention they were given while they were still included in the autism program at the Burroughs Community School. One of the parents, Anne Ursu, said:

“I know how much good it has done for my child. I don’t know where he would be without it, he would not be able to function in a classroom.”

Minneapolis public schools’ autism program are manned by special education experts and assistants who are always on-hand to help children in the program, and parents fear that excluding the children on the lower end of the spectrum and transferring them to schools in their neighborhoods would mean that they will no longer be getting help from these experts.

In a letter to the school board, Anne Ursu said:

“The autism program is essential to the education of the students it serves. These students need the care, experience, and knowledge of certified autism teachers to help them regulate themselves so they can sit in a mainstream classroom with almost thirty other kids, process information, and learn.”

Parents opposing the change have signed an online petition by the Children’s Autism Rights Minneapolis, which is hoping to stop the change from being carried out. The petition has so far garnered about 4,500 signatures.

Children’s Autism Rights Minneapolis plans to deliver its petition to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, the superintendent of schools, and the Minneapolis school board.

Source: Joe Mazan: abc 5 Eyewitness News: Parents Protest Change in Minneapolis Public School Autism Program Karen Scullin: Autism resource shift in Minneapolis schools concerns parents