The Gaskin Settlement Agreement is designed to increase opportunities for children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled peers in regular education classrooms. While we understand that only the IEP team can make changes to a child\'s IEP to include him or her in a regular education setting, we have already experienced being told that there is no staff available to accompany our children to regular education classrooms due to limited staff or hiring freezes.
It is our fear that this will be exacerbated by the proposed cuts. In addition to least restrictive environment (LRE) concerns, we are extremely bothered that the safety of our children and others, may be in jeopardy, if the current teacher to student ratios should decrease. For example, paraprofessionals escort children to and from the buses and children left in the classrooms understaffed and undersupervised may cause safety hazards due to toileting issues, behavioral challenges and other idiosyncratic behaviors typical of children on the autism spectrum.
Positions that are not currently filled may need to be filled with the constant influx of children into Norristown because of the stellar program offered for children with autism. As parents of children with autism, we ask that you reconsider all cuts for paraprofessionals and find other ways to cut monies in the NASD budget.
Parents of Children with Disabilities, Specifically ASD
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http://www.pde.state.pa.us/special_edu/cwp/view.aspa=3&q=124057&pp=3 http://www.ascendgroup.org/newsletters/2006ASCENDSpringSummer.pdf (scroll to page 9) http://www.elc-pa.org/disabilities/publications.html Feel free to come and make a public comment at the NASD school board meeting on May 21, 2007!
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