Autism Awareness: Special Education In Schools

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Special education teachers work closely with students on the autism spectrum. They tailor lessons and curriculum to the needs of an individual student's abilities.

Right now, there are a little more than 500 students in the Lincoln Public School District with autism spectrum disorders.

Special education teachers make sure that they are serving a student, based on that student's abilities and challenges.

"The key to success with kids on the spectrum is to have structure. To have programming in place that will meet whatever that student's needs are. For every student that has autism, that need can be very different from one student to another," said special education teacher at Meadowlane Elementary, Kelly Muthersbaugh.

Barb Kuchera, mother of a ten year old student diagnosed on the spectrum, Jacob, said that her son has been making progress.

"This year I'm really surprised. Going in to fifth grade, he does not get near as frustrated as he had even last year, last year was a rough year for him in academics where he would get a little frustrated, but I think he's learned and matured through what they're teaching him here how to work through those frustrations," said Barb.

Educators need a good understanding of the approaches and program structures that work best for students on the spectrum.

At Meadowlane Elementary, they take steps to make kids like Jacob comfortable. He has sensitivities to certain smells, so they make sure that he sits in an area that is not near the hot meals at lunch time. Actions like that give his mother comfort that he is being cared for at school.

It has proven effective at school for many students. Barb's son is seeing a lot of success at school and is poised for a bright future.