New York has a program called NEST for high functioning autism students including them in general education classrooms… could it apply to even more students?
- Team teaching with both general education and special education teachers.
- Graduate level training for all teachers.
- 5 special needs students maximum and up to 20 general education students.
John Hagan, a social studies teacher and the chapter leader at MS 447, says the Nest program has just as many benefits for typically developing students as it does for students on the spectrum.
“Students learn a level of compassion and acceptance that maybe other middle school students don’t,” he says.
Indeed many of the strategies prized by Nest teachers constitute good practice for any educator.
The program now serves 1200 students at 43 schools across the city.
“When that’s part of the language of the classroom, it demystifies a lot and creates acceptance and understanding,” Hough says. “There’s a paradigm shift in our embrace of neurodiversity as just another type of difference that we see strength in.”
That is the kind of attitude we should have for all students!
What is your school doing to include special needs students?