Improving Educational Opportunities

By: 
State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem)
As the mother of three children in public school, improving educational opportunities for all children is a top priority of mine, and it is why I was proud to author Senate Resolution 21 last legislative session.
 
SR 21 urged the Legislative Council to assign the topic of autism and public education to an appropriate interim study committee, and I am thankful it was assigned to the Interim Study Committee on Education.
 
The idea for SR 21 was brought to me by the mother of a nine-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After listening to her story and the stories of others, including my own family, it became clear to me that there is room to improve how we treat and teach students with autism in public schools. Simply providing educators with a brief overview of the disorder is not enough.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 59 children has been identified as having ASD. This rate has steadily increased over the past few years, and ASD represents a broader and broader segment of our student population.
While it is difficult to specifically train every teacher to handle every developmental and intellectual disability, it is important to critically address the most prevalent among them. There are resources available for students, teachers and parents on how to best handle autism in a learning environment, and to ensure these students are given the best education they can receive.
 
I am thankful this topic will receive consideration, and look forward to the upcoming conversations between legislators, parents, educators and students. Ensuring all children in our state are given the opportunity to reach their full potential is of the utmost importance, and I am eager to see the results of the committee discussions.
 
You can follow the Interim Study Committee on Education and others by visiting iga.in.gov.
 
If you have any thoughts or questions on this or other issues, contact me by email at Senator.Houchin@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

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