Date of Award

Summer 7-28-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Childhood Special and General Education

First Advisor

Kim McLeveighn


This paper is intended to analyze what is currently offered by the New York City Department of Education, and District 75 (D75) school programs, to students with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Changes to District 75 programming, based on current research, could vastly improve educational outcomes for students with ASD. Individuals on the autistic spectrum have been historically underrepresented, under-resourced, and underestimated. This paper highlights an educational and social justice need for change. Using the framework that analyzes race and ability called Dis/ability Race Studies (DisCrit), educators and administrators will come to understand that disability classifications are often based on professional judgment that is subjective, and, therefore subject to the influence of bias and cultural misunderstandings. As educators and administrators, the goal is to educate students with ASD in a student-centered environment with the presumption of competence. A sample will be provided that will examine what is currently available in the five boroughs of New York City and why change is needed within the currently established programs. Analysis of the long-term effects on students, if they are not given an education that is tailored to their needs, is included, as well as what the most appropriate education would be for students with ASD. Additionally, I will provide a blueprint for a new school program that is science and research-based for ASD students using the Universal Design to Learning (UDL) framework, best teaching practices, and student and family-centered policies, which can be adopted by the New York City Department of Education for all District 75 schools that educate children on the autistic spectrum.


Program of study: Masters of Science in Childhood Special and General Education