There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder. This is not news. Prevalence for ASD also increases year by year since we know a little bit more about the disorder and the diagnostic tools we have now are advanced. This is also not news.
Therapy methods available
There may be no cure for autism, but there are various therapy methods that alleviate or eliminate certain symptoms. Through early and intensive special education, individuals with autism can live a full life where they participate in life comfortably and achieve their potential.
All sounds good, right? There is a catch. The catch is so huge and extensive that it actually is an obstacle for autistic people and people with special needs. It is the difficulty in and sometimes lack of access to special education. The only tool that is proven to improve the lives of autistic individuals.
Early and intensive intervention including special education and speech therapy is the only way to this date that people with autism can become self-sufficient, free, and confident adults that participate in society. Because, unlike some believe, people with autism can become individuals that do not need others to live their lives comfortably. But this can only be achieved if and when they can access the special education they are entitled to.
Resources for special needs children
There are sources for special needs children. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that all children in the United States have a right to a free and appropriate public education. This act mandates that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for children with autism and those with special needs and these programs are designed to meet the child’s specific special education needs.
Unfortunately, many people with autism and their families and caregivers have problems with accessing special education and speech therapy, whether it be because of lack of funds or lack of services. Despite the many services available outside of schools, it is often reported by children with autism and their parents that their meets are not met .
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This just points to the fact that many people with autism can’t access appropriate special education when it is their right. Unfortunately, a year of pandemic further aggravated this problem, right before our eyes.
The limited access people had to special education was further hindered due to the pandemic as people are not able to go out and get the much-needed special education and speech therapy, which need to be received regularly in order to have a positive outcome. Although edtech companies received more investments compared to the previous years, when we take a deeper look, the companies receiving these investments turned out to be already established platforms in use.
Yes, traditional and well-proven methods of early and intensive education provided by professionals are essential for the development of the individual. However, during the pandemic, people started to look for online and more accessible solutions. Lack of funds and enterprises in the special education environment made it more difficult for these individuals to reach and access proper and quality special education and speech therapy](https://otsimo.com/en/speech-blubs-otsimo-speech-therapy/ “Otsimo | Speech Therapy: Best Alternative for Speech Blubs”).
A quick search on the internet will show you that there aren’t a lot of companies specifically focusing on providing easily accessible special education and speech therapy for those with special needs. This doesn’t add up especially when you consider the fact that around %15 of the entire world population lives with a form of disability .
The reason for this vacuum in the edtech environment is that although the drive of a company is really important, sometimes it is not enough. Without incentives and investment, people are less likely to focus on providing a solution to an obvious problem, where there are easier venues they can strive in, like building another dating app that is quite similar to the one developed before.
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Awareness, acceptance, action
We are great believers in awareness, acceptance, and the action cycle. Yes, being aware and making people aware of autism spectrum disorder, people with special needs, their rights, and what they struggle with in life is the essential first step. But it doesn’t end there. We also need to be aware of our actions or lack thereof also have an immense impact on these people’s lives. If those with the right sources and power were to decide to address problems that people with special needs face every single day, it makes a difference. Because action changes the world.
For our community, we are hoping for a very near future where everyone, including those with big platforms and power, not just celebrate an awareness day once a year, but also take an active part in making the necessary changes to provide the best chance that they deserve to people with special needs. A world where there are no boundaries when accessing education should be our primary goal. We can make this ”invisible” but very much a real barrier between special needs people and the resources and efforts they are entitled to.