Grafton in Action – Spring 2019

When I tell people about Grafton, one of the first things I mention is that we have been on the forefront of working with individuals with autism for the past six decades. Yes, April is Autism Awareness Month. But at Grafton, so are the other 11 months of the year.

Over the course of Grafton’s 60 years, knowledge about autism has grown exponentially. It’s very exciting to see the increased understanding and acceptance of what it means to be on the autism spectrum. Today, we often take for granted that students on the spectrum will join their peers in mainstream classes. And many of these children will benefit greatly from that experience. But some — like Hannah, the star of the success story shared later in this message — will not.

In 2017, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County reconfirmed that public schools have an obligation, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to provide more than the bare minimum to students with autism and other developmental challenges. What happens, though, when a child’s needs can’t be met in a mainstream or even special education classroom? How do we serve students, like Hannah? Without the resources to accommodate and nurture them, we risk failing a growing population of children with a complex mix of autism and other psychiatric conditions.

Read the full newsletter here.