Education Matters: Autism Program

FRESNO, California - You can see the joy in teacher Rebecca Allen's face…she loves her job teaching students with autism.

"I just love it, it comes with challenges but it comes with a lot of joy so I couldn't see myself doing anything different," said Allen.

In this classroom at Teague Elementary School in the Central Unified School District Allen and two professional educators use a lot of visual aids to teach the students their sounds.

"Once you get to know the kids you just see their personalities come out and they are just so fun".

Teachers like Allen receive special training to teach students with autism ….use researched based practices that work ….as you see in this transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classroom it is an individual approach.

"The Autism Spectrum is a very broad spectrum and so you have students that are gifted in certain areas and you have those who have more intense needs," said administrator Trina Frazier.

Not all school districts can provide the array of programs and services needed to meet the needs of students on the autism spectrum…that's when the office of the Fresno County Superintendent of schools steps in

"We step in when we receive referrals from school districts for students with autism that have social behavioral or academics needs we receive those referral and then make placements in our regionalized programs based on where they live," said Program Manager Christina Borges.

The county office services 30 school districts in Fresno County and currently operates 12 classrooms for students with autism….including the one at Teague Elementary where FCSS provides everything including the portable classroom.

"It is all of our staff, they are our teachers our para's our speech and language pathologist our school psychologist".

The office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools says it's a service provider, to districts who don't have the resources to provide certain programs to it's schools…special education is amoung those services.

"Because Fresno County is so large and we have 30 districts that we serve we really try to place our programs in areas to keep the student's close to home", stated Borges.

Not only close to their own neighborhoods but the programs are integrated right on the school site so students with special needs can be on campus with the other students….here at Teague these children will be here until 6th grade.

"We want to get them to a point where they integrate back to their peers because we feel like that's very important. They are going to go out into society and they need to learn those language skills and those social skills hat they need to be around their peers and to be in their community and be a part of everything all of us are a part of," said Borges.

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