Olivia B. Maryland

Educating Children With Autism

Children with autism are not getting the correct treatment in public schools, therefore teachers should be better taught on how to handle autistic behaviors.

Dear Future President,

School is supposed to be a safe setting, where every student’s needs are met. But for children with autism, school can leave them confused and upset because a mainstream classroom can be overstimulating. Children with high-functioning autism and Asperger's do not get the help they need in the classroom, which leaves most students feeling discouraged. Many students don’t receive help from classroom aids, or proper speech and language services. Children with autism are not getting the correct treatment and individualized education in public schools because teachers are not trained on how to handle autistic behaviors.

There is still a stigma against people with autism, very prevalent in our public school setting. According to mentalhelp.net, children with autism are usually harshly treated in the classroom, given timeouts that last hours or being sent out of the classroom. They are often bullied by other students, and because their brains work much differently from a “normal” brain, a mainstream education normally doesn’t work for them. They are often bullied because their behaviors are misunderstood. As someone with high-functioning autism who attended public school for many years, I can say that a mainstream education didn’t work for me. All of the standardized testing made me stressed, and I was often bullied and made fun of for being different. My parents eventually took me out of public school and sent me to a costly private school so I could get an education that comes free to others. My younger brother, who currently attends middle school, has low-functioning autism, and school is very difficult for him and my parents because he does not get the help he needs. Instead of teaching him, a lot of the teachers put him on the computer most of the time. He oftentimes says he despises school and wants to stay home, something that breaks my parents’ hearts.

Parents of children with autism are usually strong advocates for them, having to spend long amounts of time in meetings to try to give their child what they need. Public schools have limited resources, which is why many autistic children do not receive an individualized education. The effects of the mistreatment of autistic children often causes them to end up dropping out of school and turning to drugs or alcohol.

In public school, not every autistic child’s needs are met with a mainstream education. I ask you, future president, to prioritize this cause and help provide solutions to this issue. To do so could change the course of many children’s lives.