One thing that can cause massive amounts of problems for autistic children is lack of consistency. Our classroom is strewn with visual reminders of one sort or another to help the children stay calm by giving them a pattern to their day. At the basic level, it consists of schedules given to each student — rather, placed in “his/her” area — that outline what we’ll be doing the whole day.
Unexpected changes can send more profoundly autistic children into spirals of panic, which manifest themselves usually in a meltdown of screaming and other “typical” autistic behaviors.
Even with this, some children have trouble navigating through the day without having someone assist them exclusively throughout the day. These services are supplied by the Autism Society, which receives a great deal of federal funding.
Well, the Federal funding has been cut, and that means that all services in our area end 17 March. No tapering off; no warning — just BOOM!
“Sorry Joey, but your one-on-one had to leave. You won’t see him again. The entire structure of your school day will now be instantly and violently disrupted. Have fun!”
Thanks, W. Really — No Child (who isn’t autistic, and whose parents are middle or upper class and contribute to my campaign) will be Left Behind.