The definition of a good educational program depends upon the needs of the individual child as with so much in the world of autism. Thus the bottom line is all about your child's individual strengths and challenges, and whether they "click" with their teacher and setting, while there are certain elements that are likely to be positive for any child with autism. Services and programs are likely to differ from school district to school district and from region to region to make things even more interesting. One state may stress sensory integration therapy while another is strong in Applied Behavior Analysis – and children wind up being offered pot luck since there's no "gold standard" for autistic education. Meanwhile, different families may also have specific preferences regarding therapeutic and teaching approaches, which vary greatly from district to district and from region to region. Here are some basic elements that are critical to any successful educational program for autistic students, all we said. Your child's teacher (whether a special ed teacher or a typical classroom teacher) should have both training and experience in working with autistic children.

 

Educational options for children with autism

Your child's teacher should be able (based on her abilities and resources, and on the school's policies) to modify program and curriculum to your child's needs and strengths based on your child's individualized educational program. You should be able to see evidence of various different teaching styles in use in your child's classroom. Some of the other teachers, for example gym, library and other specials teachers, should be able to access resources and supports as they work with your child. You should see evidence that learners are challenged and supported both academically and socially. Different supportive therapies such as speech, physical and occupational therapy, should all be available on site and free of additional charge. Mainstreaming? Inclusion? Special needs classes? Public school? Private school? Which is best for your child? The answer, of course, is -- it all depends! Some questions to consider as you begin thinking about your options are Is your autistic child verbal and engaged? Does she do well with a lot of sensory input? How well do local programs fit your child's needs and abilities? Are there local private or charter options that make logistical and financial sense for your family? The Idea requires that your district provide the Least Restrictive Environment for education of your child in case you live in the United States. That means that they must consider such options as mainstreaming before deciding (with your involvement) on a more specialized setting – but you may have to prove that the mainstream setting is NOT working before seeking funding for a private or specialized setting in case you decide to work with public schools. Mainstreaming is a somewhat old-fashioned term (the newer term is "inclusion"). It generally describes a setting in which your child is part of a typical classroom with minimal extra support when the term mainstreaming is used.