An inclusive program for students with autism is being implemented in New York City Schools and being considered by some other districts.
The ASD Nest model was developed by New York University to implement inclusive classrooms. In a presentation to the Franklin County School Board in Virginia, Staci Carr with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence discussed the details.
One in 1000 children was diagnosed with autism when Carr first started in her field. Today one in 68 is classified on the spectrum.
Carr explained that self contained classrooms are too restrictive. Two teachers would be necessary for the Nest model, and class sizes capped at 12 for Kindergarten, 16 for grades 1-3, and 20 for fourth and fifth grades. Each class would include 4 autistic students.
“Most students in the Nest program progress with their typically-developing peers, meet grade level expectations and learn to function behaviorally and socially in their schools and communities,” Carr said.