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What ProPublica's investigation of Shrub Oak International School tells us about the needs of autistic students

Girl with teddy bear in empty room.
iStockphoto via Getty Images
The needs of autistic youth can vary. Those with intellectual disabilities and communication challenges often require lifelong support to help with tasks of daily living.

Finding long-term resources and programs for young people with autism can be challenging, and in some cases, incredibly disheartening.

The needs of autistic youth can vary. As a spectrum disorder, some diagnosed with high functioning autism can live relatively normal lives pursuing college, careers and relationships.

But others require more support. Those with intellectual disabilities and communication challenges often require lifelong support to assist with tasks of daily living.

One school that claimed to fulfill that need was Shrub Oak International School in New York. This school takes students from across the country, including Connecticut. But a recent investigation by ProPublica showed that this institution that costs nearly $600,000 a year is failing its students. This investigation uncovered several accusations of neglect and abuse.

Today, we hear about the investigation by ProPublica. The Office of the Child Advocate weighs in and hear about a recent complaint against High Road Schools in Connecticut.


  • Sarah Eagan: Connecticut Child Advocate
  • Jennifer Smith Richards: reporter for ProPublica
  • Jodi Cohen: Reporter for ProPublica
  • Dr. Mary Doherty: founder of Autistic Doctors International and anesthesiologist

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Tess is a senior producer for Connecticut Public news-talk show Where We Live. She enjoys hiking Connecticut's many trails and little peaks, gardening and writing in her seven journals.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.