The World Within: Finding a good school



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Posted on December 29, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Karate class is one place where Jon Runge is encouraged to shout out loud. He's done it enough, with expertise, to earn himself a blue belt.

Every week Jon masters his moves alongside typically developing kids at Evergreen Karate in Bothell.

The senseis welcome Jon, believing it teaches everyone a lesson in acceptance.

But it's not easy finding classes, or schools, that can or will allow children with autism to join in.

The Runges say after many sleepless nights they finally found a good school for Jon at Overlake Specialty School.

His twin brother Nathan, who gets tutoring at home, will join Jon in class soon.

"What we have had to endure and the stories of what other families have had to endure because of schools, my heart just breaks, it literally breaks for these families," said Kim.

"I believe there is a fundamental understanding of autism in the education system," said Rich.

"I believe there is a double standard between a physical disability and a mental disability, or a neurological disability in the case of autism. I believe that if there is a kid in a walker who falls down, staff circles around that child and helps them up. In the case of an autistic child that falls down, so to speak, and has an escalation they're punished, they're sent home, they are suspended," said Rich.

"It took us a long time to get where we are now, with them being able to learn," said Rich.