[Source: Reading Rockets]
Belle Gardner (not her real name) is the principal of a Maine elementary school enrolling about 240 students. During 2007–2008, 8 of those students had autism spectrum labels—nearly four times as many as would be predicted by figures on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the general population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007). Although some will do so with testing modifications such as extended time or teacher scribing of their written responses, all 8 are or will be required to take the state language arts assessment for third through eighth graders.
Staff members at Ms. Gardner’s school aren’t the only ones thinking more about autism lately. The past year has seen autism frequently in the U.S. media, from newspaper coverage of an autism-focused Congressional bill to an episode of The Oprah Winfrey