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    Autism and Special Education Policy in Mexico Essay

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    Since the early asses, governments in Latin America have Implemented a wide range tot social and health policy reforms. In the aftermath of the 1982 debt crisis, policy-makers in the region came under strong erasures from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to reduce social spending and to redesign social and health programs to be compatible with inalienable economic reforms. L In addition to pressures emanating from international economic organizations, transitional policy networks and politically Insulated “change teams” were also key to promoting social sector reforms. Regardless of whether the Orleans tot policy change were located at the systemic or domestic levels, by the mid-asses it was plain to most observers that social policies had been radically altered throughout Latin America. Social sector reforms in Latin America have had a profound Influence on education policies In the region. A rich policy literature has documented effects of various reforms to regular education. Ranging from decentralization plans, performance-based compensation for teachers, and vouchers. 3 Yet, although the effects of reforms to regular education have been well studied. Analysts have devoted comparatively little attention to recent changes in special education policy in Latin America. 4 The lack of attention given to special education by analysts of comparative health and social policy is potentially significant. Human rights groups and policy-makers alike have come to recognize that people with disabilities in Latin America are subject to social exclusion and frequently end up Living In poverty. 5 In this context, the question of tallboys rights has become increasingly salient in selected countries in Latin America.

    There is also a strong presumption among regional health organizations that public policies tort people with disabilities are not adequate. Indeed, In many cases, special education is the only major service provided by the state, and particularly for people with mental ATMAN, ROTH-JOHNSON, BAKER AND VEHICLE, AUTISM AND SPECIAL EDUCATION POLICY IN MEXICO 2 Fog Ana neurological Territories. Velvet Trot tans angle, ten Taller to adequately study changes in special education creates a large gap in our understanding of how Latin America’s new democracies are addressing the needs of differentiable people.

    In this paper, we attempt to bridge this gap in the literature by focusing on the provision of public education policies in Mexico. Among the Latin American countries implementing changes in special education policy, Mexico experience with reform has been particularly striking. After 1993, the government embraced a policy of inclusiveness and mainstreaming, to the maximum extent possible, for all children with disabilities. To date, however, only a small number of studies have examined the effects of Mexico reforms. There has been virtually no research on the experience of specific groups of disabled students in Mexico covered by special education, including students with autism. 8 A focus on children with autism can contribute to the comparative analysis of special education policies specifically and social sector reform in Latin America more generally. Given the high level of economic integration between the U. S. And Mexico, it is possible that the recent surge in media coverage of growth in autism in the U. S. Has spilled over into the Mexican media market.

    If awareness of autism in Mexico is increasing, then it is possible that parents and advocates are scrutinizing the provision of special education policies, with attendant consequences for political organizing in the disability rights community. 9 A focus on policy for children with autism can also contribute to a broader analysis of demagnification in Latin America. Although there is some debate in the literature, cent scholarship has asserted that full democracies must provide a minimum of protections and opportunities for groups that are vulnerable to social exclusion. 0 Because people with autism experience varying levels of behavior that is socially defined as “stereotyped,” “impaired, or “socially challenged,” they are at risk for experiencing poverty, social exclusion, and mistreatment via institutionalizing. 11 The inability or unwillingness of policymakers to provide adequate opportunities for people with autism and others with disabilities is suggestive of the barriers political games face as they attempt to transition from semi-democracies to full- democracies. The analysis employs a case study approach that utilizes different types of data.

    We draw partly on anonymous semi-structured interviews to analyze the effects of reform and the pattern of political activism among disability rights groups. Generated between 1999-2001 and 2006-2007,13 the interviews cover federal and state-level special education officials, psychologists and other professionals (e. G. , speech therapists, behavioral intervention consultants), members of advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders in Mexico and the U. S. Who work in Mexico disability policy area. The information gleaned from interviews is augmented by contact with staff from U.

    In the first section, we examine the data on the prevalence of autism in industrialized countries and in Mexico. The second and third parts examine public special education and private programs for children with autism. Finally, in the fourth section, we examine the politics of policymaking, with a focus on the activities of disability rights and advocacy organizations. Data from recent studies suggest that prevalence of autism in industrialized countries may be higher than what had been estimated in previous research. In a review of 16 studies from 1993 to 2003 completed in the U. S. , U.

    K. France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Japan, Eric Forefront found that the median estimate of prevalence of autism and autism spectrum disorders from these studies was 1. 3 per 1,000 children. 15 In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported its first national estimate of SAD prevalence among children in the U. S. The CDC study, which did not distinguish among parent-reported diagnoses of childhood autism, SAD, or ‘atypical’ autism,16 suggested that the prevalence rate among children in the U. S. Is between 5. 5 and 5. Per 1,000 children (or approximately one in 175, to one in 181 children). 7 Studies of administrative prevalence in selected U. S. States (as measured by normalized prevalence of students receiving special education services) suggest a ten-fold increase from 1995 through 2004 in some areas. 18 The reported increase in prevalence has been subject to debate; factors implicated in the trend include changes in diagnostic criteria, better surveillance, environmental exposure, genetic and environmental interaction, perennial risk factors (e. G. , pre-term delivery, etc. ), parental age, and diagnostic substitution. 9 In Mexico, epidemiological estimates of autism prevalence at the national or state level do not exist.

    Clinical studies and medical reports in Mexico tend to report prevalence rates that are based upon samples from the U. S. And U. K. 20 The only Mexican data available on autism prevalence refer to reports from surveys of families, as measured through a registry of minors with disabilities that was first completed in 1996. 21 Memorable notes that this survey, the Register De Onions con Displacing, was national in its scope and yielded a total childhood disability rate consistent with estimated rates from other developing countries. According to the survey, the total number of children in Mexico identified with autism in 1996 was 45,956.

    We combined the registry data with Mexican census data for 1996 for the relevant age group in order to calculate (provisionally) a childhood autism rate (ages 0-15) in Mexico of approximately 1. 43 per 1,000. 23 Because the registry data represent an undercount of the true prevalence of disability in the population, this estimate should be treated as provisional and with caution. Moreover, while members of advocacy organizations suggest that autism has increased in Mexico, we lack any longitudinal data on the growth trajectory of autism nice the asses.

    Social acceptance of people with disabilities, including people with autism, varies throughout Mexico. 24 Although the government has attempted to find employment for adults with disabilities, many face discrimination in the labor NYC VOLUME II, NO 1 (SPRING 2008) nntp:/ /www;Eng. Org POLICY IN MEXICO 4 market (where unemployment is already a problem) and other forms of social exclusion. Given the social stigma associated with disability, the incidence of autism among children within the family can magnify many other challenges Mexican families may encounter.

    The problems faced by families who care for children with autism in Mexico tend to be, to a large extent, similar to issues mentioned in studies from the U. S. And other industrialized countries. 25 Due to the persistence of folk beliefs and misinformation about the sources of disability, families with children with autism report isolation or distance from other members of their extended family, changed behaviors among siblings, and feelings ranging from depression to burnout. 7 Economic resources are frequently cited cause of familial stress, as parents attempt to secure the necessary funds to find appropriate support services or treatment for their child. 9 Mothers of children with autism in Mexico report being most affected by the child’s disability, since they are seen to be the primary caregivers and are expected to provide extra care and support; in some cases, women are compelled to quit their Jobs in order to provide additional care (exacerbating economic stress in the family unit).

    Fathers may spend less time at home after the diagnosis or abandon the family, leaving the mother to assume most of the responsibilities associated with the child with autism and his or her siblings. 30 The expectation that women should assume the primary care-giving role for a hill with disability would appear to be associated with a the manner in which gender roles are constructed in the Mexican household; it also reflects gendered attitudes toward disability which emphasize that mental disabilities among children are the fault of the something the mother has done.

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