The number of autistic students entering the private and public school systems has skyrocketed over the last ten years, prompting the CDC to do a full study on how having autistic children in the classroom change the dynamics. Teachers who are not well prepared can feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
Administrators can also feel frustration or the sense of being overwhelmed for different reasons as it is estimated that the cost of just one autistic child in the school system can cost $25,000-$100,000 more than a non-autistic child, for a single school year. That can be difficult for schools with tight budgets and the sharp increases in autism.
The findings prompted CDC director, Dr. Colleen Boyle, to respond, “It is concerning.”
The challenge school districts are facing is funding is not keeping up with demand which forces administrators to dip into their general education fund in order to make ends meet. While that can be a short-term solution, because the requirements rise each year, the schools are feeling the “financial squeeze.”
In the early 1980s, 1 in every 15,000 students was afflicted with the condition. Now, it is one in 68 according to the CDC.
The CDC’s Boyle said, “There is a significant message for parents or grandparents or prospective parents in this study. The numbers are concerning to us. So if you have concerns about your child, don’t wait.
“That’s our message to parents, act early. There are a lot of free resources to track development. You can reach out to a doctor or early education facility or a school system in the area.”