Keep Autism Specific Classrooms in Gaston County Elementary Schools
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Over spring break, many parents of children on the Autism Spectrum in the Gaston County School District received notifications stating our children would be assigned to different schools and classroom settings. This change was started without any previous notification to the parents or teachers of these children.
The changes that are being made include:
- the removal of all AU (autism specific) classes
- merging students of different cognitive disabilities into SAC (Specialized Adapted Curriculum) classrooms
- removing the current age separations of K-2 and 3-5 and merging all 6 grades (Kindergarten through Fifth) together
These changes can be detrimental to all children involved. Having these disability and age gaps puts a major strain on our Special Education teachers, who have been nothing short of amazing mentors in our children's lives. These changes can also be dangerous for our smaller children being put into classrooms with larger and older children. It is also a disservice to our older children who may start to regress by seeing and imitating the behaviors of the younger children they will be grouped with.
At least a dozen of us have had meetings with the Department of Exceptional Children, but still have not received straight answers on why or how these changes were brought up.
We are asking the Gaston County Board of Education and Department for Exceptional Children to keep these classrooms intact, creating more throughout the district if needed due to capacity issues.
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