The teenage boy, who’s on the autism spectrum, wore a black trench coat every day as a comfort garment. He talked obsessively about video games and guns and carried a left-handed scissors to cut fabric in theater-tech class. Classmates at his Portland, Oregon high school considered him weird. A librarian overheard a student call him “Shooter.” A parent thought he might be dangerous. The “threat assessment” process, including a police search of his home and random searches at
Students on the autism spectrum may do well in high school, but fail in college, writes Brendan Borrell on Spectrum. Some colleges now offer support for autistic students. High school comes with a support system — family at home, therapists nearby, special-education classes — but colleges have traditionally embraced a sink-or-swim mentality.
. . . Many students on the spectrum require support that extends beyond the classroom into their social and personal lives, such as remi
One in 59 eight-year-olds has autism spectrum disorder, according to a new Centers for Disease Control report. The rate of autism diagnoses has risen sharply since 200, when one in 150 children were diagnosed with autism, reports Karen Weintraub in USA Today. The children of educated, affluent white and Asian-American parents are the most likely to be diagnosed with autism, but African-American and Hispanic children are narrowing the gap. Enrique Duarte, a Los Angeles 12th gr
Beth Hawkins writes about what it’s like when your child’s teachers don’t really believe he can learn. Her older son was offered learning opportunities and challenges in Minneapolis Public Schools. Her equally bright younger son, diagnosed with autism, fell in to a “belief gap” at their well-regarded neighborhood school. For a number of years, most of the conversation about Corey’s education centered on managing his time. How much of it would he spend in a regular classroom,
Lane Wright and his wife bought a home in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood in Tallahassee, he writes on Education Post. It’s zoned for low-performing schools, but their five-year-old son won the lottery for the top charter school in the city, the School of Arts and Sciences. His kids are black, like nearly everyone at the zoned school, but they’re also middle class, with two college-educated parents. On the one hand, finding a way to not attend our zoned scho
College students with autism and other “neurodiverse” conditions could use the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to overturn speech codes, writes Geoffrey Miller, a psychology professor at the University of New Mexico, on Quillette. “Restrictive speech norms impose impossible expectations on the social sensitivity, cultural awareness, verbal precision, and self-control of many neurodivergent people,” he writes. They might be able to memorize “lists of prohibited words, fo
Atypical, a new Netflix show about a family that includes a high school boy with autism, is drawing mixed reviews, writes Mark Walsh on Education Week. The show “is so close to great,” says the Atlantic. Entertainment Weekly calls it “heartwarming,” “very human,” and full of “affection for its messy, relatable characters.” Forbes calls it “the best show Netflix has ever made.”
But USA Today deemed it “saccharine” and “predictable.” Salon called it “offensive,” with “a dull pl
Julia, a Muppet on the autism spectrum, has made her debut on Sesame Street. Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird learn to play a little differently with their new friend, writes Dylan Matthews on Vox. When Julia introduces “boing tag,” the other Muppets aren’t upset that she’s breaking the rules of tag — they’re grateful to learn a new game and experience.
“She’s not like any friend I’ve ever had before,” Big Bird tells the gang. “Yeah, but none of us are exactly the same,” Elmo
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees students with disabilities the chance to make “appropriately ambitious” progress, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. “A student offered an educational program providing ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the unanimous court in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The IDEA “requires an educati
Life, Animated didn’t win the Oscar for best documentary (blame O.J. Simpson), but the movie about Disney and autism is well worth seeing, writes Faith Moore on PJ Media. At the age of three, Owen Suskind stopped talking. He “watched and rewatched every animated Disney movie ever made,” writes Moore. One day, after three years of silence, Owen said: “Walter (his brother) doesn’t want to grow up. Like Mowgli or Peter Pan.” Owen used Disney cartoons to “make sense of the world,