Over the years I've come to question if any child with autism could reach their potential in an SDC setting, yet I know there are little or no alternatives for many of our kids. What I know now is, it is possible when viewed as something we shop for, vs something we just accept or take for granted.
The big idea here is too many SDC's and the teachers who run them are still operating from the perspective that our children will never developmentally grow beyond elementary school. As a result, they set the bar low and our children suffer, never getting the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Sadly many SDC teachers are still treating students, even in high school, like babies, their "special children" unaware their perceived limitations of each student are part of the problem. For years I thought this would change, but when Nick came home from summer school last week with a "Certificate of Excellence" in an owl cut out aimed at K - 2, my first reaction was "Really....why the heck are you treating my 18-year-old like a child?" Another reminder change is slow, and we have to teach teachers too!
If any of these things are happening in your child's SDC, don't give up, talk. I've found that most teachers want to do a good job, and many have just never been educated about our children. And if you find the teacher won't listen, or can't hear you, go to the next person in charge and express your desire is not to be disruptive, you just want to help to create a better setting for you child and the other students.