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.
Cutting more than half of the assistants from this successful program would hurt all of our children. It makes no sense to cut $271,000 from the Autism program at a time when the number of children being diagnosed with Autism is increasing.
This program is successful because it allows young people with Autism to succeed in regular classrooms with their peers.
Please reject these cuts and work with parents to support and expand this effective program.