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By Davin White

 

CHARLELSTON, W.Va. — Many autistic students in Berkeley County go without regular instruction from a teacher certified to teach children with autism, Berkeley Superintendent Manny Arvon told state Board of Education members Wednesday.

 

Fifteen of the 32 who teach autistic students in the Eastern Panhandle county are uncertified, Arvon said.

 

With at least 130 students diagnosed with autism and several more expected next year, Arvon said his county’s biggest challenge is certifying and retaining qualified autism teachers.

 

The certified teachers almost always get the tough cases, he said.

 

“What happens is they leave, ’cause we burn them out,” he said.

 

Pat Homberg, director of the state Department of Education’s Office of Special Programs, agreed that it’s difficult to find enough certified teachers for autism across the state.

 

During the 2001-2002 school year, fewer than 400 students in West Virginia were diagnosed with autism. That number has increased to 1,230 students this year.  

 

State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine noted that West Virginia has a very high percentage of special education students, who are expensive to educate.  

 

Read in Full: 

http://wvgazette.com/News/201010061138



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