Special Education Letter to the Editor

NCLB Should Include the Needs of Those on the Autism Spectrum

August 04, 2015 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The hotly contested No Child Left Behind Act has brought sweeping changes to education across the nation. Since taking effect in 2002, the law has altered classroom content and teaching methods.

NCLB includes many flaws that undermine its effectiveness and threaten to negatively impact students, particularly those with special needs, such as autism.

Too often, students with special needs are forgotten in education policy decisionmaking. Under NCLB, these students are required to achieve the same standards while overcoming additional obstacles. That has to change.

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, impacts one in 68 Americans. It is thought that more than 3.5 million people are currently living with ASD in the United States. The rate of diagnoses is on the rise, with prevalence having jumped nearly 120 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Over nearly five decades of experience, I’ve seen the principles of broad-spectrum applied-behavior analysis, which is focused on functional outcomes, produce successful results for countless individuals. And the research confirms the effectiveness of this analysis, especially for building crucial life skills—the skills needed for independent living and employment.

To better meet the needs of students with learning difficulties, we need interventions that prepare them for success after schooling ends. Standardized testing and purely academic coursework will not impart the crucial life skills they need in order to succeed. NCLB should begin planning for improving community and vocational skills at all stages of education, for all students.

As Congress negotiates revisions to NCLB, our lawmakers must engage in serious, responsible conversation about applied-behavior analysis and other evidence-based approaches that have the potential to improve opportunities for all students to learn meaningful skills that result in success in real-world settings and independent living.

Andy Bondy

President and Co-founder

Pyramid Educational Consultants Inc.

Newark, Del.

A version of this article appeared in the August 05, 2015 edition of Education Week as NCLB Should Include the Needs of Those on the Autism Spectrum


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education L.A. Agrees to Do More After Failing on Special Education. Could Other Districts Be Next?
The district failed to meet the needs of students with disabilities during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education found.
6 min read
Conceptual image of supporting students.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week (Source images: DigitalVision Vectors and iStock/Getty)
Special Education Protect Students With Disabilities as COVID Rules Ease, Education Secretary Tells Schools
Even as schools drop precautions like mask requirements, they must by law protect medically vulnerable students, a letter emphasizes.
3 min read
Image of a student holding a mask and a backpack near the entrance of a classroom.
Special Education Hearing, Vision ... Autism? Proposal Would Add Screening to School-Entry Requirements
Nebraska legislators consider a first-in-the-nation mandate to assess all children for autism before the start of school.
5 min read
Image of a student working with an adult one-on-one.
Special Education Florida Changed Rules for Special Education Students. Why Many Say It’s Wrong
The new rule contains a more specific definition of what it means to have a “most significant cognitive disability.”
Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
7 min read
Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education sits next to Florida Department of Education Board Chair Andy Tuck as they listen to speakers during Thursday morning's Florida Department of Education meeting. The board members of the Florida Department of Education met Thursday, June 10, 2021 at the Florida State College at Jacksonville's Advanced Technology Center in Jacksonville, Fla. to take care of routine business but then held public comments before a vote to remove critical race theory from Florida classrooms.
Richard Corcoran, Florida’s education commissioner, and Andy Tuck, the chair of the state’s board of education, listen to speakers at a meeting  in June.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP