Don't cut the Autism Program for middle and high school students!
  • Petitioned Arlington, VA School Board

This petition was delivered to:

Arlington, VA School Board

Don't cut the Autism Program for middle and high school students!

    1. Petition by

      Concerned Parents of Arlington Students with Asperger's

The Arlington School District is proposing to cut seven staff positions from the District's successful Autism program for middle and high school students. The $271,000 in cuts would hurt our children by making it harder for them to participate in regular classrooms with their peers who are not in special education.  Arlington's middle and high school Autism program is successful because the 58 students who currently participate receive social skills instruction from teachers who understand Autism and Asperger's, and direct support from assistants in regular mainstream classrooms.  All students, with or without disabilities, benefit from increased attention and the expertise of the staff.  Cutting more than half of the assistants would undermine the program.  With the number of children being diagnosed with Autism rising, we need to expand, not cut, successful programs. Here is a report put together by parents about the program and its success.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Congratulations!

      Congratulations! Tonight the Arlington School Board voted 4-1 to restore the full $271,000 in funding to maintain the current staff to student ratio in the Secondary School Autism Program. They did this with one-time funding, and instructions to the Superintendent to create a process to assess the program, so we will have to be very vigilant and stay involved if we want to continue to protect and expand this very successful program. None of this would have been possible without the incredible work of so many people.

    2. Join us at Thursday night's School Board meeting

      With all of the incredible support from so many people, we're expecting good news at Thursday evening's school board meeting. If you are able, please come to the board meeting, on Thursday evening at 7:30pm. 1426 N. Quincy Street. Thanks!

    3. Please LIKE our Facebook page

      Visit our page and click the Like box. https://www.facebook.com/autismapsva

      Support Arlington Students with Autism

      Support Arlington Students with Autism. 120 likes · 157 talking about this. This page was built to build public support for effective programs that serve our children with Asperger's/Autism in the Arlington, Virginia Public Schools

    4. Barbara Kanninen wins School Board nomination

      As Concerned Parents of Arlington Students with Asperger’s/Autism, we congratulate Barbara Kanninen for her selection as the Democratic nominee to the Arlington School Board. We appreciate Barbara's vocal support for the Secondary School Autism program and for special needs students during the campaign, and we look forward to working closely with her to strengthen and expand the School District’s model Autism program and other critically important special education programs. Here are Barbara's comments about the program during the campaign: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/2876719

      TubeChop - Question on Special Needs Students at Arlington School Board Debate (5/7/14) (01:35)

      TubeChop allows you to easily chop a funny or interesting section from any YouTube video and share it.

    5. Saturday is the last day to VOTE in the Arlington School Board election

      Cast your vote for School Board on Saturday from 11am-7pm at Washington-Lee High School, 1301 N Stafford Street. Last year's election was decided by just 40 votes, so every vote matters!

      Thanks to everyone who voted on Thursday evening. It was a pretty simple process of filling out an information sheet, receiving a ballot with the three candidates listed, and ranking them in order of preference.

      In case you haven't seen them yet, our Facebook page has the answers from all three candidates to three questions about the Autism program and special education. https://www.facebook.com/autismapsva. While you're there, check out the latest news on our efforts and LIKE our page!

      https://www.facebook.com/autismapsva/photos/a.1492309097653951.1073741828.1491172431100951/1492663770951817/?type=1&theater

    6. Reached 1,000 signatures
    7. Washington Post: Parents protest cuts to autism program in Arlington

      Parents protest cuts to autism program in Arlington

      The proposed school budget would cut $271,000 from this program and could eliminate about half the aides. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget May 22. "We believe that these children can't succeed in the regular classroom without the right support," said Gordon Whitman, parent of a seventh-grade son in the autism program at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington.

    8. School Board candidate responses on Autism cuts and Special Education

      We asked the three candidates for Arlington School Board to answer three questions about the Autism program and special education. Below is the link to their answers (on our Facebook page) in the order we received them. PLEASE vote on Thursday or Saturday. The threat of these cuts shows us how important it is to have strong advocates for children with special needs on the school board. Make a plan to vote on Thursday 7-9pm or Saturday 11am-7pm!

      https://www.facebook.com/autismapsva/photos/a.1492309097653951.1073741828.1491172431100951/1492316190986575/?type=1&theater

      Timeline Photos - Support Arlington Students with Autism | Facebook

      We asked the three candidates for Arlington School Board to answer three questions about the Autism program and special education. Below are their answers in the order we received them. PLEASE vote on Thursday or Sunday. The threat of these cuts shows us how important it is to have strong advocates for children with special needs on the school board.

    9. School Board candidate responses on Autism cuts and Special Education

      We asked the three candidates for Arlington School Board to answer three questions about the Autism program and special education. Below are their answers in the order we received them. PLEASE vote on Thursday or Sunday. The threat of these cuts shows us how important it is to have strong advocates for children with special needs on the school board. Make this the election in which you vote!

      https://www.facebook.com/autismapsva/photos/a.1492309097653951.1073741828.1491172431100951/1492308794320648/?type=1&theater

      Timeline Photos - Support Arlington Students with Autism | Facebook

      We asked the three candidates for Arlington School Board to answer three questions about the Autism program and special education. Below are their answers in the order we received them. PLEASE vote on Thursday or Sunday. The threat of these cuts shows us how important it is to have strong advocates for children with special needs on the school board.

    10. Please plan to vote this week in the Arlington School Board election

      Put these voting dates and times in your calendar: Thursday, May 15, 2014, (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) at Drew Model School (3500 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22206) OR Saturday, May 17, 2014 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N Stafford St, Arlington, VA 22201).

      This is the Democratic Caucus election which will effectively determine who will replace Sally Baird on the School Board. It is an instant run-off election, so voters will be ranking the three candidates.

    11. Arlington parents, school staff tangle over best way to support students wi

      Arlington parents, school staff tangle over best way to support students with autism

      "We've got something successful," parent Gordon Whitman said of the existing support network for students with autism. "They work together as a team. Let's not do harm to what we have." Julia Paley, who also spoke out, voiced concerns that the proposed changes would "cripple the program."

    12. Arlington parents rallying to prevent proposed cuts to autism program

      Check out this FOX5 News story. Thanks to everyone who came and who spoke last night. It was very moving, with lots of tears and powerful stories. We have a lot to do between now and May 22 to persuade the Board to stop the cuts and expand the program. Please continue to forward the petition, and put the School Board election caucus, May 15 and 17 in your calendar. More info to follow.

      Arlington school parents rallying to prevent proposed cuts to autism program

      Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/25471096/arlington-school-parents-rallying-to-prevent-proposed-cuts-to-autism-program#ixzz31DP5Y5Ec

      Arlington school parents rallying to prevent proposed cuts to autism program

      Arlington school parents rallying to prevent proposed cuts to autism program Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:50 PM EDT Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:50 PM EDT ARLINGTON, Va. - Dozens of parents are rallying in Arlington to stop proposed budget cuts to a model autism program for students at Arlington Public Schools.

    13. Reminder, tonight at 7pm at the School Board

      Hope you can join us at the Arlington School Board tonight at 7pm, 1426 N. Quincy Street. Families welcome.

      We're so grateful for the support that so many people and organizations have given our children with Autism.

      On top of 900 people who signed the petition so far (still time for new people to sign on at http://www.change.org/petitions/don-t-cut-the-autism-program-for-middle-and-high-school-students), we have support from the Arlington Special Education PTA, many school PTAs, the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, Arlington Education Association, Autism Society of Northern VA, and Parents of Autistic Children of NOVA.

      We expect that the School Board will listen to us tonight, and then make a final decision before May 22. We'll let people know how tonight goes.

      Thanks so much!

      Gordon
      (202) 427-2992

      Don't cut the Autism Program for middle and high school students!

      The Arlington School District is proposing to cut seven staff members from the District's successful Autism program for middle and high school...

    14. Reached 750 signatures
    15. Thursday, May 8 Public Forum on the Budget

      Join us at 7pm on Thursday to show support for our children with Autism. Arlington School Board, 1426 N Quincy St. RSVP at this link: http://anyvite.com/events/home/bee7hwlco5

      Arlington School Board Budget Hearing - Help prevent Autism program cuts

      Come to the School Board Budget Forum and show your support for Arlington's successful Autism program for middle and high school students. The Board is proposing to cut seven staff who work directly with our children. The program helps children with special needs participate in mainstream classrooms and benefits all children.

    16. Sign up now to speak at the School Board Budget Forum on Thurs. May 8

      Click this link to sign up for a 2 or 3 minute speaking slot at the Board's Budget Hearing.

      http://www.apsva.us//cms/module/selectsurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=1171

      We need people to attend and speak who can share their own experiences of having children with autism in the Arlington schools, and we also need to hear from people who don't have children with special needs, but are willing to express their support for the program and for all of our children in special education.

      Even if you are not able to speak, please come with your friends and family, and hand made signs. We'll begin outside at 7pm.

    17. Reached 500 signatures
    18. 2009 Washington Post article explains why the Arlington program was created

      Teaching mildly autistic kids the ABC's of key social skills

      The middle school years, when nothing seems more important or more impossible than fitting in, are rough for nearly everyone. But they are particularly brutal for preteens such as Will Gilbertsen, whose mild autism makes him stand out.

    19. Reached 250 signatures
    20. Vaughan's story is similar to my son's story

      Trigie Ealey and her son Vaughan's story “Punishments too harsh for boy with autism?” aired on WUSA on Apr 25,2014 at 9:24 PM EST is very similar to my son's story. He was mistreated and routinely sent to the principal's office. The general education staff is not only often clueless about Autism/Aspergers related behavior; they also have a good number of students to attend to in the classrooms. The assistants in the Aspergers Program are trained to deal with the social skills and organization challenges that my son faces in the classrooms. They help him stay on task and allow him to receive the education he needs. Any cuts in funding for the assistants is harmful and will directly impact his success.
      -Liz Tefera

    21. Reached 100 signatures
    22. Punishments too harsh for boy with autism?

      http://www.wusa9.com/videos/news/local/2014/04/25/8167525/ Thanks Trigie for sharing this. Many of us have had similar experiences with our children. It is why the middle and high school Autism program has been such a godsend for our families. Having trained teachers and assistants who understand Autism is what prevents this kind of situation from happening. Please let us know if we can help. And everyone, please continue to share this petition with your friends and family.

      Punishments too harsh for boy with autism?

      Peggy Fox reports from Arlington County.

    23. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Rachel Sutherland ARLINGTON, VA
      • 5 months ago

      If APS has enough money to give its schools iPads, it should be able to keep staff who work with kids with Autism and Asperger's.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sally Ancheva ARLINGTON, VA
      • 5 months ago

      I have worked with many kids with autism and they have changed my life. These programs simply cannot be cut, they change the lives of the kids in them, their families, and the people around them.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alisa Tanaka-Dodge ARLINGTON, VA
      • 5 months ago

      Young adults with Asperger's have a 35% unemployment rate. APS should do everything it can to succeed in an integrated school environment to better prepare for life after graduation.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • charles coleman ALEXANDRIA, VA
      • 5 months ago

      I grew up in Arlington and could have benefited from it. It is shocking that Arlington, with its gold-plated projects, is going to cut a successful program. Cut the gold plating instead!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aaron Cohen HOWELL, NJ
      • 5 months ago

      An Autism program should be one of a school's top priorities.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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