5 Ramifications of IDEA on Children with Autism
- Educator Training
- Environment and Facilities
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created to protect the educational rights and experiences of children living with a wide variety of disabilities. Every student has an equal right to free public education that fits his or her needs, and IDEA builds in the necessary equity for children with disabilities. The ramifications of IDEA differ by disability. Here are five unique ways that IDEA influences the education of children with autism.
Related resource: Top 25 Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Online
There are many definitions of autism and what it means, depending on the perspective of those defining it. The creators of IDEA established their own definition for the purposes of structuring the public education system to accommodate the unique traits of children with autism. The IDEA definition focuses on the fact that autism leads to distinctions in communication and socialization, an affinity for routine and the familiar, and sensory sensitivity. These are the traits that teachers and school administrators need to be the most aware of in creating curriculum and educational environments best suited for children with autism.
It is easy for educators (and even parents and doctors) to misdiagnose children with disabilities such as autism. For this reason, IDEA requires that students be evaluated to determine if they meet the aforementioned definition of autism. Thorough evaluation includes standardized and tested measurements, interviews with appropriate professionals, and parental input and consent.
3. Educator Training
IDEA guides educators toward training on what to expect from their students with autism. Students with autism will display prolonged fixation on one or a few ideas or objects. They struggle to shift their focus to a new task without completing the current task. When students are required to break out of these patterns, educators must be prepared to encounter behavioral responses that range from disruptive to aggressive, depending on the individual student and dissertation. Students with autism display unique communication and social interaction styles. Some are completely nonverbal, others tend towards repeating key phrases, and others struggle with understanding sarcasm and colloquial language.
4. Environment and Facilities
IDEA requires that schools comply with facilities and equipment regularities. Although autism is not a physical disability, there are certain physiological aspects that must be accommodated. Children with autism experience sensory sensitivity. Sometimes they need a degree of sensory deprivation in the form of a space with silence, muted colors, and minimal objects. Sometimes they require a place to externalize sensory overload, such as a sensory experience room full of many objects of varying colors, noises, and textures for the children to explore. This allows children to meet their own sensory needs without having to describe what they need, as many of them are unable to communicate their needs and desires.
Finally, IDEA requires schools to complete periodic reports about student disabilities and outcomes of procedures. These reports ensure that the government has accurate and up to date information about any changes and improvements to be made to IDEA. This is essential for maintaining the funding necessary to keep IDEA active.
Researchers and practitioners learn more about autism and other disabilities every single day. IDEA is committed to helping schools and teachers adapt their curriculum and learning environments to the latest information. Through these efforts, students with autism have the same opportunity as other students to achieve academic success.