Lack of special ed teachers keeps some autistic students ill-prepared for college or work

From pre-kindergarten through second grade, the now 20-year-old New Jersey man was among roughly a dozen special education students in his public school classrooms, helmed by a special education teacher and two teaching assistants. In addition to learning the alphabet and other fundamentals taught to all pre-K through second-graders, whether or not they were officially enrolled in special ed, he received therapy for his speech, reasoning and other cognitive skills and to regulate his social behavior.

From third through fifth grades, as that kind of instruction and assistance continued, he was among five children with special needs in a classroom with a teacher not trained in special education, one teaching assistant with a background in special education and 25 classmates who didn’t require special education.

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