The initiative to improve education for children with autism in New York City has been handed to key activists in order to implement quality learning for the future. Programs like ASD Nest have enhanced the classroom for children with autism by expanding the responsibilities of the paraprofessionals and integrating general students. The roles of paraprofessionals, the teachers who work with autistic children specifically in the classroom environment, have changed drastically within the past couple of years with the help of education advocates. It has gone from just a behavior mediator to helping them step by step in growing the student’s involvement. Secondly, the students who learn alongside their peers with autism result in educating them to emphasize respect not just in the classroom but in the real world. This has made the experience for children with autism in their studies focused and up to speed with the grade level work they should be at.
The Nest program was introduced by Dorothy Siegel, a longtime special education advocate. Her vision has expanded to 39 elementary, middle and high schools all around New York City. Siegel, with the help of other prominent special education advocates, sought to ensure quality education and life for the 17,000 reported children with autism in New York City public schools. Education is without a doubt a gift that should not be taken for granted. It has been an uphill battle for those who suffer from autism in the realm of education, but it is clear that the well-being of each student should be taken into account by education professionals on both the teacher and administrative level.