Providing high-quality, rigorous education opportunities equips students with the skills necessary to prepare for employment and independence. State standards have been established to help do just that!
The overall goal of state standards within education is to provide a clear, consistent learning framework so that students across the board can be successful in their education and beyond.
State standards vary across the United States. Many states, as well as Washington D.C., the four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity, have adopted the Common Core Standards. Other states create and update their own versions. All state standards can be accessed via your state’s Department of Education website.
For students with the most significant cognitive learning disabilities, the Every Student Success Act (ESSA) permits 1 percent of all students assessed to participate in the Alternate Assessment aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS).
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities should be educated in the least restrictive environment. This means students with disabilities should receive their education and services with their typically developing peers as much as possible, as well as have access to the same academic content that is taught within general education classrooms.
All students who receive special education and/or related services are required to receive an individualized education program (IEP), which must outline how the student is provided a free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. This includes access to grade-aligned instruction. If a child’s IEP doesn’t align to state standards, it can be considered a violation of FAPE.
In order to provide students with autism spectrum disorder and extensive support needs with access to standards-based instruction, materials and instruction should be modified to meet individual needs via evidence-based practices (EBP).
Some evidence-based practices that have been documented as effective for students with autism spectrum disorder and extensive support needs include but are not limited to:
The principle of the least dangerous assumption indicates that educators should believe that all of their students, regardless of ability or disability, are capable of learning. Utilizing this assumption as well as state standards ensures that students with disabilities receive the high-quality education they deserve to prepare them for post-school engagements and potential future employment.
After considering these factors and assumptions, we can set up our students with disabilities for academic success, more opportunity and increased independence in and out of the classroom.