The public vs private school debate. Has everyone forgotten it’s a spectrum?

There has been a lot of talk lately, due to news stories coming out, about the pros and cons of having children with Autism pushed out there into public schools or secluded away into private schools. Quite frankly, I’m surprised this is even a debate.

Here is my question for all involved… how can you possibly debate one or the other when what we need is both?

Autism is a general term encompassing a spectrum of disorders in a variety of levels of severity… you know this, I know this… these people debating should know it.. right?

If you are debating this topic at a political or journalistic level, please listen to me very carefully.

We need both!

Children that are newly diagnosed likely need the extra hand holding… a child that is so severely low functioning that they’re unable to speak or be toilet trained, they should probably not be in a public school. No, I don’t think the parent has to choose between an institution and home schooling either. A school should be an option… an OPTION. They should not be forced into school and they should not be forced to send their defenceless child to what will likely be a very difficult and cruel time at public school.

Conversely, a child that is speaking, rather intelligent and capable of maintaining at least one friendship at a time will likely benefit from being in a public school. Here, their social skills are put to the test as well as their intellect… also, if they’re high functioning, they won’t be subject to the lesser desired behaviours of the lower functioning children around them in an all Autism school.

A spectrum of children with a spectrum of functioning levels requires a spectrum of solutions… not ‘a solution.

There is never one solution for all children when Autism is involved.

I understand there is seldom the money available when having to choose which services will get which funding but I’m afraid you don’t get to choose… there really is not a choice. Parents need both because our children need both.

This is where we need to step it up to another level beyond Autism Awareness and institute a policy of Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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3 Responses to The public vs private school debate. Has everyone forgotten it’s a spectrum?

  1. The Domestic Goddess January 18, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Well said. I’m sure that part of this new thing is to also support the kids who belong in a typical program. Not all kids should or could be in a regular school. Our older son attends a typical setting with support and does fine. Our younger son needs a smaller, quieter setting and is thriving in that specialized environment. Every kid is different.

  2. Claire January 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    It was difficult to choose public schooling for Eloy at the age of 4 yrs., but finances made the decision for me. However, he wasn’t diagnosed until 8 y/o. Teachers knew but didn’t want to say anything without a proper diagnosis. I can say that we have had some good and some bad experiences with teachers. Nothing is predictable. I do wonder however, if it could have gone better at a private school if I had the funds.

  3. Shelby January 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    My only problem with my 10 yr old son attending school is the fact that he will keep things to himself. If someone were to be bullying him he would probably not tell me unless it happened on a regualr basis. I agree with you on the “school” issue though. My son has been recently moved into a special ed. class and I have mixed feeling about this. I just pray for his future and hope that his father and make the best decisions for him. If things get any worse than they are now….public school will NOT be in his future!

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