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May 30 , 2006

ACT Reports on Education News - Recognizing ASD in One Supplemental
Funding Category!

An announcement made by the Ministry of Education on May 25, 2006 outlines a long awaited policy shift that favourably impacts British Columbia students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Most students with ASD require additional supports to address their educational challenges. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, who are eligible for supplemental funding, will now be placed in one category (view Revised Guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education). Those students will generate an additional $16, 500 for schools to address the extra costs involved in supporting their educational needs. Parents and educators will no longer find themselves engaging in the tedious debate regarding how and where to categorize these students or, in some cases, whether students wit PDD NOS or Asperger Syndrome even can be placed in any supplemental funding category. Valuable time, up to now, has been focused on determining funding category diverting precious time away from the task of addressing the specific needs of these students and delivering meaningful service to them.

The placement of students with ASD in the same funding category will provide specific information of how many students with ASD are being educated in the province. Previously, with students with ASD placed in several possible categories, stakeholders were unable to determine the number of students with ASD who were generating supplemental funding in BC. The recording of these students in one category will be important by allowing accurate measuring and reporting. The Ministry of Education and School Districts will be in a better position to track and report the progress of this group of students and also measure the success of specific educational approaches for this cohort.

In addition to the announcement regarding supplemental; funding the Ministry
of Education has developed an “Autistic Spectrum Disorder Support Planning Process” available for educators to use in their practice. This tool describes seven domains relevant to autism spectrum disorders: social interaction; communication; behaviours/emotional functioning; self determination & independent living; cognition; other health factors, and academics/functional academics. This tool has been piloted in several school districts with positive feedback. (View ASD Needs Cover Form provided by the Ministry of Education) (View ASD Needs Determination Document provided by the Ministry
of Education).

It is important to remember that this tool is a planning tool not related to categorical funding. All students placed in category G, Autism, will be funded at the same dollar level.

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