5–5

States should have clearly defined minimum standards for personnel in educational settings for children with autistic spectrum disorders. For example, at a minimum, teachers should have some special preparation (e.g., preservice course work, equivalent inservice training, workshops, and supervised practice in research-based practices in autistic spectrum disorders) and should have well-trained, experienced support personnel available to provide ongoing training and additional consultation.

5–6

States should develop a systematic strategy to fund the interventions that are necessary for children with autistic spectrum disorders in local schools, so that this cost is not borne primarily by the parents or local school systems. State education departments should develop interagency collaborations to pool support for local systems. A state fund for intensive intervention, or more systematic use of Medicaid waivers or other patterns of funding currently in place in some states, should be considered. Families should not be expected to fund or provide the majority of educational programming for their children.

5–7

An updated, accurate summary of case law, consultation services, and mediation mechanisms in autistic spectrum disorders should be made accessible by the Office of Special Education Programs so that schools and parents can understand the options available to them when conflicts arise.

5–8

Since levels of information about autistic spectrum disorders vary greatly within the groups and agencies that make funding and policy decisions about autistic spectrum disorders, including state task forces in education and review panels in federal agencies, it is crucial that persons knowledgeable in the range of needs and interventions associated with autistic spectrum disorders be included in those decision-making activities.

PERSONNEL PREPARATION

Conclusions

The nature of autistic spectrum disorders and other disabilities that frequently accompany them has significant implications for approaches to education and intervention at school, in the home, and in the community. Approaches that emphasize the use of specific “packages” of materials and methods associated with comprehensive intervention programs



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