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SPECIAL NOTE TO OUT-OF-STATE PARENTS

CT FEAT frequently receives inquiries from out-of-state parents seeking information about public school services in Connecticut. Typically, such parents are seeking specific guidance regarding selecting the best school systems for special education services.

Unfortunately, CT FEAT does not compile specific information about individual school systems. One of the reasons is that the information is constantly changing.

Please do not call our hot line or request to join our listserv. These services are available only to Connecticut parents.

Our organization is run by parent volunteers and the hours we can volunteer are limited. We reluctantly have concluded that we can no longer take the time to respond to requests for information regarding services in Connecticut.

While CT FEAT cannot advise you about specific towns, we do provide a great deal of information on our web site which should help you in your decision-making process.

In particular, you should read through the advisory guidelines published by the State Department of Education and the Birth to Three System. Both sets of guidelines can be reached through links in the “Government Reports” section of the web site.

Reading through back issues of our newsletter, also available online, should give you some flavor of the autism treatment climate in the state, including information about public sector agencies and both public and private schools.

In the Links section of the web site, there are links to other CT autism organizations, including the Autism Spectrum Resource Center (ASRC) which publishes a helpful resource guide to services in Connecticut. You can learn more about ASRC's resource guide at their website, including purchasing information.

You also may find worthwhile information in the Connecticut due process decisions published by the Bureau of Special Education, which can be reached through a link in the “Legal Decisions” section of the web site.

Unlike many states, Connecticut does not have a single state-wide or even county-wide system of public education. Instead, each of Connecticut's 169 towns has its own separate school system.

Services available within a given town can vary rather dramatically, even from year to year. Individual children within the same town can be receiving significantly different kinds of services.

The most important variable affecting the quality of services in a given district seems to be ongoing parental advocacy. Sometimes a good quality program will collapse completely simply because a given family, with good advocacy skills, moved on to a different school or town.

In some instances, an influx of new families into a town reputed to have good services has resulted in the diminishment or even elimination of those services.

Anecdotal information from our parent community suggests that some of the wealthiest towns sometimes provide the worst services. If you are interested in a specific town, it's a good idea to personally contact its director of special education services to learn more about that town's particular approach to autism intervention. Good luck!

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