Citing what they say is a serious lack of resources and teacher training for autistic children, a group of parents gathered outside the Philadelphia School District headquarters on Saturday, April 22, 2023, to call for a public school to focus on autistic and neurodivergent students. …
(This information is part of an article written by Michelle Myers, Staff Writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, appearing in the April 23, 2023 edition. Link to article appears below.)
For Michael Walzer, an autistic adult himself and parent to two children with autism, this feels “like a step closer in the right direction.” As he held a sign saying “Build a school for autism and you will change the world,” Walzer reminisced on the days as a (Philadelphia) school student. “(We) slipped through the cracks and did not get diagnosed until our 50s.” Although he was able to adjust to adult life, his brother (also austistic) didn’t. “He is incredibly brilliant. I often wonder what could have been if he would have been educated and nurtured in a space free of bullying with people who were properly trained.”
The April 22nd event was organized by Philly Autism Education & Program Advocacy – Constance Jones and Jessica McMaster, co-founders of Philly Autism Education & Program Advocacy Facebook Group and parents of autistic children. The group’s mission: to support the creation of more educational options for autistic children, teens, and young adults in our local area as well as to advocate for autistic children and their families within the educational system and beyond.