There are a significant number of neurodiverse students in California that attend public schools. Many of these students are given personalized plans and accommodations such as an IEP or 504 to ensure academic success in their schooling years. However, recently there have been many issues that continue to plague the public school system in regards to students on the spectrum. These kids are not receiving adequate education, whether it is due to the complacency of school administrations or a shortage of special education teachers for students. There have been many instances in which students in special education or neurodiverse programs and plans in school haven’t been given the accommodations and care that they need in school environments. This reflects negatively on schools, and most people haven’t been hearing about these issues. But why?
Most schools are fairly good about keeping their word on these promises of accommodation, but it has become increasingly evident that many students continue to struggle despite the failed attempts of schools to personalize the learning experience enough. This all goes back to the root problem: the lack of efficient teachers who are prepared to teach neurodiverse students. The amount of students who have substitute teachers or teachers without complete credentials to teach students across the spectrum has risen greatly, and is very common in schools in California. Local Bay Area schools have staff shortages often and many teachers even lose prep periods to cover for other absent teachers.
This harms students across the spectrum because without adequate teachers, kids aren’t able to receive the education they deserve. In addition, their accommodations are not upheld, creating even more distress in the learning environment. Staff cuts and monetary issues also play a role, as budget cuts and smaller class sizes limit the amount of teachers that can work with students. With all of these factors piling up, it doesn’t leave students with much of a choice-- especially in public schools where there is a lot of complacency within the staff and administration to step forward and discuss tangible solutions.
There are some ways that school districts can go about providing a more inclusive learning experience for neurodiverse students. Hiring those who are truly passionate about teaching these classes who have completed ample training must be required, among other credentials. Setting aside a specific budget for the neurodiverse student population to help students better adjust in learning environments should also be implemented to provide better education. There are a lot of issues with neurodiverse inclusivity in public schools, but this is a start and step towards equality in education.