UN Calls For Opportunties on World Autism Awareness Day

UN Calls For Opportunties on World Autism Awareness Day

Posted By The Maher Law Firm || 2-Apr-2015

UN Leader Calls for 'Access and Opportunities' on World Autism Awareness Day

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the United Nations General Assembly called for "greater access and opportunities" for those suffering from autism and for "full integration of persons with autism into society."

"[L]et us join forces to create the best possible conditions for those with autism, so that they can make their own contribution to a future that is fair and sustainable for all," UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, writes in a special message about the event.

The Secretary-General focused his message especially on providing autistic children with equal access to educational opportunities.

What Is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is identified in roughly 1 out 68 children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. The condition can hinder a child's ability to communicate and interact with others and to control his or her behavior. The degree of impairment caused by autism can vary greatly among children.

Unfortunately, delays in diagnosing the condition frequently occur and keep children from receiving the treatment and services they need, including special educational services.

As Ban Ki-moon notes, despite their disability, those suffering from autism have "enormous potential," including "remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills."

"Recognizing the talents of persons on the autism spectrum, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, is essential to creating a society that is truly inclusive," the Secretary-General writes.

Educational Services for Autistic Children in Florida

Florida provides special services for children with autism through the Department of Education's exceptional student education (ESE) program. A child's eligibility to participate in this program is determined in a special evaluation.

"The purpose of ESE is to help each student with a disability progress in school and prepare for life after school," the Florida Department of Education states in a guidebook for parents. "ESE services may include special teaching methods and materials, technology devices, therapies, special transportation or other supports. There is no cost to parents for these ESE services."

In theory, the ESE program in Florida is in step with the UN's call for "schools to open their doors to students with autism." It provides a way for autistic children to be integrated into school communities while also recognizing the special care and attention they need in order to thrive.

In practice, however, teachers and staff members in Florida too often fail to properly provide the ESE services that autistic children are legally entitled to receive.

Additionally, the abuse of special needs children can occur when school employees respond poorly to autistic children with behavioral challenges.

Florida's Autistic Children Deserve Legal Protection

On this World Autism Awareness Day, it is important to remind parents of children with autism spectrum disorder that they can and should take steps to ensure that Florida schools fulfill their duties.

The Maher Law Firm is committed to ensuring equal access to education for children with disabilities, and we are dedicated to helping the parents of disabled children who have suffered from abuse or neglect in school. To learn more, please call or contact us online.

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