Special Education Essay

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV, 1994), the category of disorders under which autism falls is pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Autism is often referred to as belonging in a “spectrum” of disorders. Autism is a severe disorder of communication and behavior. It is a lifelong disorder that usually appears during the first three years of life. It occurs in approximately 15 in 10,000 births, ten percent are classically autistic, the most severe form of autism. Autism is four times more likely to occur in males than females and there is no known cause or cure for autism (Sullivan, cited in Sewell, 1998).
Educational Placement Parents and advocates began to challenge
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Children with mild disabilities are most often placed in full time general education classes, where more moderate or severe/profound students are served in a traditional day class/resource room setting with very little integration into the general education environment (Palmer, Fuller, Arora, & Nelson, 2001).
A study conducted by Kasari et al. (1999) examined the perceptions of parents toward inclusion of students with Down’s syndrome and students with autism. The study specifically looked at the parent’s satisfaction and perceived advantages of their child’s educational program. This study also examined the parental desire for changes in their child’s current educational placement.
Another issue that continues to be difficult for students in Special Education as they transition to adulthood is finding and keeping employment. Work is not only important for economic support, but also for opportunities to interact socially and to gain a sense of pride (Heward, 2006). Students with special needs may have a difficult time finding employment due to the extent of their disabilities or because of employers’’ misconceptions about their disabilities. There are a variety of issues that come up in relation to students with special needs finding employment, but one important topic is impact that higher education has on employment.
According to Heward (2006), postsecondary education significantly improves the chances of students with

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