Autistic kids learn in integrated classrooms in Kennewick - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Autistic kids learn in integrated classrooms in Kennewick

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KENNEWICK, Wash. --  Autism is a growing problem but thanks to the Kennewick School District there's been a big development for high functioning kids with autism.
 There are 177 autistic children in the district and those who are fit for the inclusionary program come from all over to attend .Southgate Elementary School which integrate these students into regular classrooms at each grade level.

"They look like all the other students. they're working the same academic work as the rest of the kids," says MayRene McCabe, an autism teacher at the school.  She says they aim to make them feel like equals, "We focus on the kids with autism who need extra help but because it's an inclusionary program, we don't want them to stand out, so when we're in the classroom, if there's other kids that are sitting next to them or that need help, we're going to help those other students too."

"They're with their peers, they're not pulled out in a small setting but rather in a setting where they're getting that peer interaction that they really need. so really it benefits all students, but certainly those on the autistic spectrum," says Carol Girard, the autism specialist for Kennewick Schools.
She says it's not just the autistic kids who benefit from the program.  "It develops compassion, and ways of working with all people and really we teach kids to be tolerant of each other, says Girard.