By Christina Samuels
Janet Mino, a seemingly tireless special education teacher in New Jersey, is quick with smiles, hugs, and high-fives for the six young men with autism in her self-contained classroom at Newark’s John F. Kennedy High School.
The students in her class, and throughout the school that calls itself the city’s “best kept secret,” are used to a warm, supportive environment. All of the students have autism or multiple disabilities with cognitive impairments. But once those students reach the age of 21, they leave the school system for a fate that is sometimes unknown.