Public Schools Seek Speech Pathologists as Number of Autistic Children Increases
As the number of autistic children in California continues to increase, public schools are finding it difficult to recruit an adequate number of speech pathologists, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
According to the California Department of Education, the number of autistic children enrolled in public schools increased to 21,950 students during the 2003-2004 school year, compared with about 4,394 students in 1995. Autistic children account for more than one-third of the special education population, the department reports.
Public schools are required to provide special education services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 27% increase in job openings for speech pathologists between 2002 and 2012.
However, some parents and educators are concerned that there will not be an adequate number of professionals to serve autistic children (Doyle, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/9).