The State Education Department's Office of Special Education Programs reports a 153.6%, increase for the period 1994-1999, in students between the ages of 6 to 11 classified with autism. According to the University of Albany, Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, 50 children per day in the United States are diagnosed with autism, making it the fastest growing developmental disability in the country. Legislation enacted in 2006 required special education teachers and administrators be trained in the needs of autistic children in order to be certified by February 2007. This bill provides that special education administrators are required to obtain similar training in the needs of autistic children if appointed to the position on or after September 2, 2009. This bill further allows BOCES to provide such training as part of its professional development program.
“Given the increased prevalence of autism, it is essential that students diagnosed with autism be given the benefit of the enhanced knowledge of effective methodologies, programs and strategies this bill requires of special education teachers and administrators. Children with autism need and deserve assistance in reaching their full potential,” said Senator Saland.
The bill also passed the Assembly today and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.