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How Do I Make the School System Help My Autisic Child

I have been having problems with the school district not wanting to help my Autistic son. The school refuses to accept that he's been diagnosed with Autism and other PDD(NOS) symptoms. I have him in O.T. but he is failing school. He has been kicked out of school in the past and I was told the school could no longer educate him. I tried having an advacate and a psychologist in our IEP meetings. We were told they have to consider it but not except it. I am also being told they don't have the help or funding to give my son more help and has also said he's not bad enough to get more help. Who else can I turn to, to make them help my son? Also my husband is in the process of trying to become a full time teacher. This is putting a damper on being able to fight back. Should I still go after the school even though that may hurt us financially?

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So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone, I just wanted to say Thank you guys so much for all your help and input. A lot of the suggestions that has been given, I have already tried. Like checking into other schools around. No luck. There's only 1 school around and it's packed with Autistic children in their district with a waiting list. I do have an advacate and the last meeting we went to with him involved, the gentleman said it was the worse IEP meeting he'd been to yet. My sons psychologist was disregarded by the distrct Special Ed person saying he had more experience than my sons psychologist did. The web sites help a lot and if someone could tell me how to request a 504, I'd really appreciate it.
Thank you all so much for your input, it helps me want to keep fighting no matter what and I feel I can't know too much when it comes to my children.

More Answers

I'm sorry to hear about your struggle R.. I noticed that no one has mentioned IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Under Public Law 94-142, schools are required to seek out and implement appropriate educational services for all students with disabilities. In 1990, PL 94-142 was reauthorized by congress and renamed IDEA. That is also when Autism was recognized as a category of its own. The Autism Society of America may be helpful for you and you should also check out this website http://idea.ed.gov/ . Educators cannot kick your child out of school if they fall under this category for behavior related to their disability. They can and are required by law to educate your son!
Good luck!!!!

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It sounds to me like your child needs to be on a 504. A 504 is classroom modifications specifically for your child and their learning styles and needs. With the diagnosis you have he should qualify easily. (A 504 can never be taken away and will follow your child through college) If he is on an IEP and you still aren't able to get the school to provide the help that he needs, there are steps to follow to see that this is done. Here is a link that might help you in determining what steps you need to take to advocate more effectively for your child. http://www.schwablearning.org/. I have found it so informative and helpful in my daughters situation. You need to document everything you have done, everything you have requested from the school and their response. You are probably able to request additional testing at the districts expense to get your child the help that he needs. You might possibly need to bring in a moderator, and if that doesn't work, possible legal action. Our LD children are supposed to be given a FREE and APPROPRIATE education regardless. Really look at the schwab learning site. They have some great advice, a great archive of articles that will help direct you in the way you need to proceed. Don't give up...listen to your Mother's instinct. You know your child better than any "professional" ever will, and you know what is best for your child. Best of luck to you and God Bless. J.

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I have a Master's degree in Special Education and will tell you that you and your child have legal rights under the education laws of this country (especially if you have a doctor's diagnosis). Whoever talked about IDEA was right on in what they were saying. If the school can't provide an appropriate education for your child they are required to find a school or place that can. Also, make sure you are involved in the IEP meetings. Good job bringing an advocate to your meetings! One thing that I would recommend is that you are part of that IEP meeting (and one of the most important parts of the team) and have every right to make suggestions and plans for your child and have them discussed and talked about. If the teacher has the goals all ready made up before the IEP meeting (which is against the law, but happens all to often) ask to have them sent to you before the meeting so you can review them with your husband and come with suggestioins. That way you can be involved and know exactly what is going on and you can make suggestions on how and what to teach your child because you know your child the best. If all else fails, there are lawyers that work specifically with Education law and you can have one of them come to your meetings to make sure that you are getting your legal rights to an education.
Good Luck!

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I am so sorry you are having such a struggle. The school system owes it to you and your son do to the very most for him possible. I know the Boulder Valley district is very proactive in helping kids stay in mainstream regardless of their disabilities. They have staff to assist with regular classes as well as OT on duty. I don't know other then to go to the city administration for education on what your concerns and needs are. I hope you get it figured out and things work out for your son, the school system sounds like they are being very stubborn and uncooperative, that is what you pay taxes for to educate your children! Good luck

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As a teacher, I'm confused as to why your school district thinks they have a choice about whether or not to educate your child. If your child is on an IEP then he is protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act. If he is on a 504 plan, the requirements of the district are a little more fuzzy; however, public schools/districts must provide education to EVERY child residing legally within its boundaries. This education must occur in the "least restrictive environment." Districts usually offer special programs for children with severe/profound disabilities, such as autism. These are typically self-contained classrooms housed within the neighborhood school, but some districts select a few schools, scattered throughout the boundaries, to house their self-contained programs. They then provide transportation to those selected schools. Is your school telling you that they do not have the specialized staff to educate your child in his current classroom and they want to move him to one of these specialized programs, or are they simply refusing to educate your child? I'm assuming you reside in Idaho. There are several advocacy agencies that can help you; two that I recommend are Comprehensive Advocacy (CoAd), 1-800-632-5125 and Idaho Parents Unlimited (IPUL), 1-800-242-IPUL. Bottom line, parents: The question for your school is not, "Will you educate my child?" It is "How do you plan to educate my child?"

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Under federal law the school MUST accomadate your child, not vice versa! I am including a site that helps explain your rights and your sons, I am looking for the federal mandate and can't find it. My son is also on an IEP for a speech/language/comprehension and some other minor things and I have been very lucky with our district, but a lot of schools just don't have the people or budget and if parents don't clearly understand the laws it can be a tough fight, go into your school armed with all the information and then work your way up, even to the superintendent if you have to! Good luck!!!


YES!!!!! Fight for your son, your husband can find others schools to sub at and teach at, but your son has only one childhood and one shot at getting the help he deserves!! There is no do overs for him.

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Dear R.,

I'm not sure which state you are in, or what school system, but after so much you need to draw a line for yourself and your family somewhere and seek help elsewhere! I can't believe, actually yes I can, that sometimes the schools just can't/won't help! It is a terrible thing! Seek help through your doctor, the psychiatrist, and anyone who IS willing to help you to get your son in the school that is RIGHT for HIM. It might not be close, it might not be convenient for you, but if it is right for him you will know what to do. I would not put much stock in our public school system anyway. The minute I find a school that has my daughter's needs she's being moved out of their system as it is busting at the seams with falsehoods. Do what is best for your son, and your family and don't regret leaving the school, they obviously are not helping you in any way. I saw on Oprah (actually it was a tiny piece that I caught on Oprah) about a few actresses that have autistic children and what they are doing for them. You may want to cruise around her website and see what is there. I honestly can't remember the names of the actresses (Holly may be one of them, I know her in the movies!!!). They seemed to have found a good balance and good information, however they have ENDLESS FUNDS, which I'm certain you probably don't!

Chin up, shoulders back and keep looking!!!!

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You're beating your head against a brick wall - the school system doesn't know WHAT to do even if they WANTED to. They don't understand autism-spectrum kids - heck, their best therapy is to bury you in special meetings and pounds of paper, adding a ton of guilt and meaningless tasks for parents - that's "support" from the school system. It won't help - in fact it makes things worse, adding sheer frustration, guilt and anger to the already huge task of parenting an autistic child.
This isn't the educator's fault - they simply don't know what else to do.

Here's a quote from "Gut and Psychology Syndrome", by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, a Medical Doctor who had (yes, past tense: HAD) an autistic son:

"...Most of the parents I have met are intelligent and often well-educated people. The first thing they do is learn as much as possible. Today there is a whole world of information available on the subject of autism, including solid scientific research. Looking at the amount of research done in other areas of medicine in the last 10 years, it is often less than what has been achieved in the field of autism. I believe the reason is that research in autism is almost entirely done by the most motivated people on Earth - the parents of autistic children. Among them are doctors, biochemists, biologists and simply intelligent people looking for solutions to their child's problem. There is a network of parent organizations across the world, keen to share information and help each other....
..Treating autism is not an easy task. It takes years of continuous effort and commitment. But being a parent myself, I can tell you that it is one of the most rewarding experiences on Earth! In this book I would like to share with you what I strongly believe to be the appropriate treatment for an autistic child."

Read this book! It will make much more sense than a meeting with the school system.

-B. McMorran
Denver WAPF Chapter
Raw Milk Association of Colorado

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