UNC Scientists: With Special Strategies, Common Core Can Help Kids With Autism

By Danny Hooley Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Teaching to Common Core State Standards can help high school students with autism get into college and gain future employment.

That’s according to newly published information from scientists at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC. The article appears in the new issue of Remedial and Special Education.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Veronica P. Fleury, the lead author of the piece, noted there’s a growing trend away from manufacturing jobs and toward the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Many students with autism tend to gravitate toward those subjects in college. But while Common Core Standards outline expectations of what should be taught, it provides little guidance regarding how to teach.

The lack of specialized teaching presents a problem for people with autism, whose rate of college enrollment is among the lowest for all categories of disabilities. Less than 40 percent hold full-time jobs with benefits, according to Fleury.

Her article, co-written with Cara Hume, suggests methods of teaching to kids in the autism spectrum, to help them avoid falling through the cracks due to social challenges, or difficulty grasping some concepts.

Common Core Standards are a set of educational guidelines designed to challenge students to understand key concepts.

It’s been the subject of some controversy. On Thursday, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education member James Barrett was one of 50 speakers to offer an opinion on Common Core at a state legislative hearing. Common Core was fully implemented in North Carolina during the 2012-2013 school year.

Barrett called it “a set of standards that are needed for our children to succeed in life,” while a private educator at the hearing called Common Core “insidious.”

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