July 31, 2012

Boom in autistic students prompts new Montgomery school centers

Winston Churchill High School in Potomac is one of the Montgomery County schools that will house an autism resource center. (Examiner file photo)

Montgomery County Public Schools is planning to open autism centers at three high schools in the new school year, as the district grapples with a fivefold increase in the number of students diagnosed with autism over the last decade.

In the 2000-2001 school year, 266 students on the autism spectrum enrolled in MCPS. By 2010-2011, that number had jumped to 1,642, as autism became better diagnosed thanks to its federal classification as a disability and more awareness of the disorder's symptoms. In the past year, MCPS added 179 students with autism, including at least 62 who moved into Montgomery County with the diagnosis, said Chrisandra Richardson, associate superintendent for the Office of Special Education and Student Services.

The picture is further complicated by the number of autistic students from diverse backgrounds who may not speak English, in addition to their cognitive disability, school officials... READ MORE >>

Lisa Gartner
Examiner Staff Writer - education  |  The Washington Examiner

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