However, at the same time, I would suggest that the answer to this question is quickly becoming a moot point as the needs of the ever increasing number of autistic children are quickly outpacing the services that are available for them. The State of Texas seems to be learning this lesson the hard way -
Causes aside, autism’s effects are indisputably profound on students, parents and teachers. Nearly 30,000 of the 4.8 million students in Texas schools are classified as autistic, according to TEA data. Lawmakers have taken note of the growing autistic population and the increasing volume of complaints from frustrated parents. And they are looking to new programs and to other states for potential solutions.
Many Texas teachers have limited knowledge and training to teach students with autism. With more and more autistic students in regular classrooms, many parents say teachers must be better prepared.The article mentions this 30,000 number is a 400% increase over the past decade but leaves out the fact that the situation is only going to get worse. If the most recent figures from the AAP and CDC (1 in 110) are to be believed, the number of children with autism in Texas should still be another 50% higher - almost 45,000 children.
If the rate of autism isn't increasing, then I have to wonder what these extra 22,000 children were called before being lumped in with the autism group and how their needs were being met. If the children - and their needs - have always been there, why isn't the education system in Texas prepared to deal with them?
But regardless, it doesn't really matter where these children came from, what matters is that they are here now.