About 1 percent of the world population has an autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, Center for Disease and Prevention Control)
Prevalence in the United States is estimated at one in fifty nine births. (CDC, 2018)
Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)
Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)
As more and more children are diagnosed with autism, public schools often struggle with providing the intensity of program needed to address the wide range of behaviors and learning problems.
They will first try to find a placement within one of their current programs:
- Typical public school classroom without special support
- Typical public school classroom with support
- Part-time typical classroom, part-time special needs classroom setting
- General special needs class
- Specialized public autism class with some inclusion or mainstreaming
- Specialized public autism class without inclusion or mainstreaming
But in some cases it becomes clear that the student is not succeeding, the family is not happy and the district realizes a more intensive program is required. A student with limited communication skills, huge sensory challenges and behavioral issues may never do well in a mainstream setting and so districts work with the families to identify alternative state certified educational programs, such as Wings Learning Center.