How Do I Make the School System Help My Autisic Child
April 22, 2008
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?"
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
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.
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.
I wish I had more time to respond to you but on our way to the dr. I also have had to fight the school system for years because of my middle son. Your son is on an IEP they have to educate him period end of discussion. It is a FEDERAL LAW!!!! I have lived in many states 7 to be exact with a child on an IEP. Because of his IEP they have to educate him they have to pay to educate him if they can't do it in his school system and they have to bus him from your front door to school and back. It is the law not a state law a federal law. You might want to remind them of that. Our son couldn't get the education he needed in Ohio they hired a tutor who handled Keith's schooling for 6 months until we moved to Cinnci. All of their special ed classes were full because it was almost the end of the year. They did the same thing they hired a tutor and Keith went to him 5 hours a day 5 days a week for 3 months. Don't let them bully you and push you around. Research all the laws of an IEP. Plus we have No Child Left Behind you might want to remind them of that.
i would seriously consider changing schools. There is probably a school in your area that is more equipt for meeting your sons needs. You may consider just helping him yourself (that may not be possible with how full your plate already is with your father in law and other 4 kids)
Try contacting the Denver Legal Center for developmental disabilities. their E-mail is E-mail us at ____@____.com
You can find their web site by google if you type in Legal Center for Developmental Disablities + Colordado.
Good Luck! Even if they can't help you directly, I'm sure they will help you find more resources.
I also have an autistic child. It took a lot of fight to get help unfortunately. They only help those who do put up with a fight because they don't have enough money. Luckily I had my sons teacher and principal on my side. You need lots of documentation. Has the school district tested your son themselves? I know that you do have a right. They are supposed to give you papers of your rights and who the chain of command is. But there is always someone higher to appeal to. But trust me the more fuss you make the more they will end up helping your child. I think it is a weeding process to see who really fights for the help and those who just sit back and let it happen. They help the ones who wont sit back and let it slide. We didn't and we got people on our side. So get as much documentation and people to help you out. Have his teacher write down things he does in school to show that he needs more help. It is all in the documentation. The district or the autistic until didn't believe my son needed help either they said he had aspbergers and was not autistic. Even though I gave them the previous tests. So they tested him and were shocked to find out that he didn't have aspbergers he was indeed autistic. I hope this helps sorry it isn't easier news for you but that is the school district.
I'm sorry for all the frustration you are experiencing. It's challenging enough to give your son the support he needs outside of school, then have to face a lack of support within the school. In regards to help with the school itself, I would strongly encourage you to contact PEAK Parent. They specialize in helping parents with children with disabilites. They are very knowledgable about IEPS and the law. For parent support, I would recommend two organizations: Parent 2 Parent http://www.p2p-co.org/ and Empower http://www.empowercolorado.com/index.htm Both organizations have many resources on their website and offer support to families throughout the state. I wish you the best. Know that you are not alone.
I am not sure if this will help, and I think that you are in utah. Check out the carson b smith scholarship..(just google it) it is a scholarship for private schools for kids like yours. I am having the same problem of getting my daughter on an iep, they will not do it because she attends a private school right now. frustrating I know! check it out and possibly put him in a private school! hope this helps
I live in Ft. Collins and live almost right across the street from O'dea and they specialize in autistic children and have their own program. Have you checked to see if any of Windsor's schools have one? I know that Ft. Collins is school of choice, but I don't know if Windsor is that way. Maybe there is a way for you to put him in the Ft. Collins school if it makes it easier on him.
Are you in colorado? Do you have a community centered board? They provide services to people with disabilities birth through the lifespan. In colorado, each county has a CCB, denver county has Denver Options, Boulder and Broomfield counties have Imagine, etc. They can provide information, suggestions, support. The schools are legally binded to provide education for all children and those who have a disability until they are 21 through the IEP. As others have mentioned--legal action might be the best course.
I'm a public school teacher. Does your son attend a public school? If so, by law, the school is required to serve your son. Look up Title I laws. Even if the school doesn't have the resources --- if you have to go elsewhere, the school has to pay for it. Request another meeting that includes your son's teacher, the principal, the special education teacher, title I specialist, superintendent, and/or school board president. Kindly request their services for your son. If they are uncooperative, suggest to them that you may be pursuing legal counsel. Don't go in on the offensive or defensive. Go in with a reasonable attitude --- "How can I help you help me?" Good luck. My guess would be they are not helping not because they don't want to, but because they don't have the resources (staff & money) to help you. That's understandable. Regardless, they are under a legal (moral & ethical) obligation to serve your son.
My mom works for an amazing company called Empower Colorado. This is a non-profit organization that works specifically with families that have children with special needs. They have advocates that can help you with the school and classes and support groups for parents. My mom is working from home at the moment because of complications from my sisters disabilities, but I know that she would be more than willing to help. Her home phone number is ###-###-#### and her work number is ###-###-####. Her name is Darcy. Just tell her that her daughter gave you her number and tell her what problems you are having and I know that she will be able to help you. I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck getting everything to work out for your child.
Go above your home school's SPED dept. Go to the district's Special Services director and alert them to your situation. By law, every child must be provided with a public education and transportation to and from his school with the proper supervision if necessary. Another area to review is your doctor's description of your son's condition. The wording must be very specific in terms of the severity of his Autism and what accommodations he may need. This is important because if the language from the doctor isn't powerful then the school district is better able to limit the services available to your son. If all else fails there are numerous lawyers specializing in this field that often provide services for a nominal fee. Sometimes just showing up with a law professional is all you need to let them know you will not let your child's education suffer. Autism is very manageable given the correct resources and the right nurturing environment. I have been in education for 12 years and have taught a great number of Autistic children and enjoyed them all. Good luck and stand your ground.
I am employed with the girl district here in MT. and we have autistic children in our schools...in fact I am a special needs bus driver assistant..I ride with autistic children to different schools in our area....I can not understand any school not having availability for special needs children....I feel you have rights to seek help with getting your child an education.....I think there is someone out there to help....try contacting our school district and ask them who could help....it is Billings, Montana....and the email address I have you could try is
<www.billings.k12.mt.us> ...maybe they have ideas to help you.....all I can say...is hang in there...ALL Kids deserve an education.......and autictic children are extremely capable and smart....with the right teacher they can really blossom....my best wishes....L. M
(I think your area may have the ....NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND LAW...)
I just read your update....an I'm assuming your son is on an IEP which is for specially designed instruction. A 504 is not needed if your son is on an IEP. An IEP is what you want your son on. A 504 is not enough.
R. - Having been in education for quite a while I think the best way to handle this is with positive persistence. "Going after" the district doesn't help what you want to achieve. You have certain rights depending on your child's disabilities. If your husband is hoping for a job in the district make sure you handle all situations how you would want other parents to treat him. With that being said....the most important factor is your child and his education. Depending where he is at on the spectrum, I would speak with his teacher or teachers and take many notes. Go into the meeting with exactly what you want on paper as well. Be positive, smile....it lets them know you want to work with them not against them. After this, meet with the vice-principal, then the principal and then the superintendent if you need to. Legally, they have to accommodate your son. If he is severely autistic then they have to hire someone to be one on one with him. Testing will be involved if it hasn't been already. Most districts have a special education coordinator for the district....he really should be one of the first that you speak with. Regardless, don't take no for an answer if you are not satisfied. Positive persistence will go a long way for you. Remember not to show your frustration with anger but use constructive words and keep going. Eventually you will get where you want to be. I really hope everything works out for you and your family!!!
My daughter worked at a wonderful school here in Denver that took in kids that the public schools could not "handle". Call Alta Vista Center for Autism. ###-###-#### here is their web[page. http://www.aspenautism.org/index.php
Ariel DeFazio is a sweetheart of a lady. She is the one you would want to speak with. She can t tell you all of the ins and out of Colorado law and what the schools have to do for your son. They are wonderful people with a huge hearts for these kids. I know when my daughter worked there, a kid or two were being bussed down from Greeley, and the schoold district paid for all or part???
They can also help you with support groups and other options.
There was a recent case in the Loveland-Berthoud area where parents sued the Thompson Valley R2-J School District for not being able to accommodate their autistic child. I guess the District had some specialized classrooms, but it was proven that it was not enough for this child. The District is now paying to send the child to a special school all the way in Boston. The name of the case: Thompson R2-J School District
Luke P., by and through his parents and next friends, Jeff P. and Julie P.
I'm sure you are tired of banging your head against the brick wall, not to mention just tired. It sounds like you need some other resources and support. I do not know where you live, but I understand there is a new charter school in North Salt Lake. It is called Spectrum Academy, www.spectrumcharter.org. It is for children with high functioning autism and asperger's.The Pingree School (not exact name)in Salt Lake, on Guardsman Way and 800 south - next to Rowland Hall, is another school for children with autism. It may or may not be feasible for your son to attend, but I can't imagine them not taking with you about some options or ideas. Look into UFIT www.utah.edu/outreach/ufit. It is a program the P.E. dept at the Univ of Utah started for the pingree school. I think it is just spring quarter on Friday nights. If I understand correctly, it is open to the community. I hope this helps. Peace and strength to you.
contact your congressman or senator. Tell them the problem. Also, if you need money to put him into a different/special school, like charter or private, find out if grants or scholarships are offered for him. Good Luck! I'll pray for you.
In most states, the school district only provides what they absolutly have to according to state law. depending on what's available where you are, there are options. First, look for a child development program (usually part of the State) or a parent advocate program. Here in MT we have PLUK (Parents Lets Unite for Kids). Some areas also have private autism schools, and yes they have scholarships. We went with homeschooling. This way we can provide what we (not the schools) feel is the best for our son. We still go to the school for speech therapy, but that is all they are willing to do for us. My son has done great, and while it is not perfect, I feel that is is improving so much more than he would have in school. I've heard of people suing the school and getting more help, but it seems like a long shot. I have found as a parent we pretty much have to do all the work, which is sad.
I have a 3rd grade son on the autistic spectrum and know hwo you feel. School has been a roller coaster. Legally, the school has to comply with an I.E.P. if your son has that diagnosis. You, as the parent have all the rights when it comes to writing and making sure they are following through with that I.E.P. For instance - I insist that my son gets to go to the resource room at least once a day for about 45 minutes to an hour where he can work in a quiter more relaxing environment as I know he needs that sensory break. I also have them giving him warnings when there is going to be a fire drill, or recess will be ending so he has some time to prepare himself, as he does not do so well with sudden surprises or changes. I get to pick his teacher every year as no one knows as well as i do what kind of personality and situation he will do best in etc.
If you have his diagnosis in black and white on paper they can get in a lot of trouble if they do not meet with you and decide on a good individualzed educational program to help your son have a successful experience. Take it to the district head. Your so has the right to a good education and a successful experience. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions or concerns - it has been a long learning road for me to get to this point - but my son has a had a great year this year finally.
And bless your heart, it sounds like you really have a lot on your plate right now. I pray it all works out for you!!
I have and autistic son as well. I find most things are a battle with the school. I recommend a couple of things.
1. Purchase "From Emotions to Advocacy" by Pam and Pete Wright. This book will help you prepare to fight and win the battles.
2. Do you have an Autism Consultant where you live. If so find out where he or she is and contact them directly.
3. Who is the SPED coordinator where you live? I find if you go up far enough they will tend to listen more. It is similar to putting up road blocks. Step one is always to say no. Most people are to tired and overwhelmed to keep on fighting. You go over there head and try again.
4. Don't give up. If you truely believe your son needs something, you can't give up. Just keep fighting.
I deal with this issue a lot. It takes up a lot of time and energy, but is very worth it.
If you need to talk feel free to reply and I will give you my contact information. Good Luck.
My sister has the same problem. Are you in Cheyenne or further out. If DFS is helping you than your advocate should be helping you. I am really upset with their putting your child in the "middle", too bad for the school to help, but not bad enough to get more help. So he is to be uneducated. You might bring p the No Child Left Behind Act. the NCLB says that ALL children deserve an education regardless of their needs. Even if English isn't their first language of they have learning difficulties.
You could go higher in the adminstration. School adminstrator, or go to the school board meetings and bring it up their. Letters to the Editor work well too. The more people that know about it the more pressure will be put on the school to do something. If nothing else they should arrange and pay for your child to be bussed to a school that can help him. Just saying we can't teach him is the worst thing they cold have said. They just admitted they can't educate children... when that gets out how many other parents will want tehir children in a school like that. You do have the option of moving your child to a different school, that is hard though when youa re in a smll community.
Hope I didn;t confuse you. I also might have preached a bit sorry.
If you have ny questions....
I found some new ebsites that my sister put me on to. They list the Federal laws that require the school to give your child a fair education there are also links to the alignment to the No Child Left Behind law. You can can't get the state to help bring in the big guns with the federal governement. I don't care who they are... they can't break the law and they can't deny your son and education. Keep up the fight. I know you are tired, but you are a wonderful strong person.
The webistes are: www.nami.com and www.revolutionhealth.com
In the state of Utah from age 3 on if your child is disabled in anyway they are required to provide the means to help educate them. Do you have a copy of the parents hand book? If not request one and that will give you the exact details of what the school district can or cannot do. And if all else fails try getting Gephart with chanel 2 news and see if he would be willing to do a story on your family. Keep up the good fight that you are fighting and with all that you do try and make some relief time for you to unwind.
Do you have the ability or resources to do home school? I would bet that there are some people in your neighborhood who
are acquainted with someone who has some information about it.
there are some supplements in health food stores that address
autism...essential fatty acids (omega 3 with DHA) and eccess
copper in the system seem to contribute.
Have you considered an "all autistic" school? There is state funding available and there are several all over the valley. I have a friend whose daughter started going there. It has made a huge difference. There are many varying degrees of autism, and they're all in those schools. The teachers are more understanding and they are around children who are more like them. It has been a HUGE positive for this particular child. She loves school and it has helped her parents to know how to deal with her special needs. I don't have any of the info on it with me, but I'm sure you could look up any of the schools on the web.
I know I'm late in responding, but I recall a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a disabled child's right to a free education. If you haven't contacted the organization that someone else mentioned, I would strongly consider it. Also, you can try the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition http://www.ccdconline.org/index.htm.
You say your son has an IEP, so you need to reread it it has certain protections for you and your son, you have legal federal protection to enforce your sons IEP. 1st are they meeting the requirements of the IEP? If they are not you need to tell them of there obligation to follow it. If you tell them he has been diagnosed they need to bring in a specialist to test him on the school level to determine if they agree with the outsider who has diagnosed him. I know this part sounds crazy but it's true. If you knew about the diagnosis when the IEP was written they might have worded it so your out of help. Get a man involved, your husband, his dad, I know this sound strange, but when they won't listen to me the will to my husband. I've been down the IEP road with 4 children, my first was the worst I was pushed around, due to my ignorance, he is your son, don't give up, he is entitled to an education. I would get very comfortable with my legal rights google then if nothing else. If you are still being bullied get a lawyer. I know this sounds extreme, but your it no one else will fight like a parent, It will not be easy and you appear to be very busy, but it will be worth it. good luck, L.
go to this website and try and contact this person www.aspergerworkshop.com by Melisa Genaux she has worked with schools across the country in finding things that help she has been kind of a middle man in mild and extreme cases amazing person good luck.She knows the whole spectrum.
Good morning R.! I am a stay-at-home Mom of two little girls. I am also a part-time student at BSU working toward my teaching certification in special education. As I understand it the school has an obligation to give your some a free and approriate public education (FAPE). This is the law! I took a class this semester called educational technology. We looked into special education and the law. I suggest you look into your rights because your son's right is to be able to attend school and get an education whatever the cost and resources. Look into the laws. Go to court if you havve to. The school will lose!
You might check our www.starcenter.us Lucy Jane Miller is probably the most respected in the field of Autism. They would be able to help you with Colorado law and your rights. Lucy is just great! Also, interactive metronome is a great help for many autistic kids. www.interactivemetronome.com I hope you find something that helps.
It's terrible the way they're treating you! If the advocate isn't putting enough pressure on them to do something, I don't know what will. Maybe you could find out from the advocate who else to contact to put real pressure on them?
If not, I'm afraid I'd pull him out of school and find another for him. They are not doing him any favors. I used with work in an Elementary program for children with autism and other communications and social delays, and I really wish I had more help for you, but the school I worked with was really good with them. Do you live in Colorado Springs?
"THE SCHOOL COULD NO LONGER EDUCATE HIM?!" Seriously? At this point I would consult a lawyer. If your son has an IEP, the school is obligated to honor it. If you are in a public school system, they are REQUIRED to give your son an education and do everything his IEP says. We're in the Denver Public School system and my son has a pretty extensive IEP (he's also PDD-NOS, very high-functioning autistic with ADHD thrown in for fun). Last year, at one point, his school psychologist told us that he had tested out of the program he was in and that he would have to leave that school (where he'd been since 1st grade and had friends, etc) and would have to move to our neighborhood school (a great school, but didn't have the program he was in and he'd have to make new friends, etc). What she didn't tell us was that ultimately, it was our choice. She made it seem like we had no recourse and we'd have to do what she said. His teacher took us aside and told us in HER opinion, our son would still benefit from the program and we could insist he stay put. Which we did. If your son has been tested and the district has found that he has special needs and gives him an IEP, the school HAS to follow it. It's ridiculous for them to disregard it. You should raise h*ll...Keep bothering them until they give in. If you don't do it, no one else will and your son will slip through the cracks. How can they say he's "not so bad" if he's failing? That means they're not doing their job of educating him. If they back you into a corner, talk to a lawyer. I'm sure they'd rather spend money educating your son than defending a lawsuit. I really hope it doesn't come to that...good luck!
I'd get a lawyer or at least talk to an assistant/paralegal over the phone. That is unacceptable. They are required by state law. I think they are wrong. You should be allowed to have someone with you on those meetings. Maybe you could Goggle the state law requirements. Good luck!
This is crazy! The special ed program and IEP specifically were designed by the federal government so that parents wouldn't have to fight so hard to get the services needed for their children. Legally, they have to provide whatever services that the recommend in the IEP meetings. I know these meetings can be overwhelming with all of the "experts" talking in code. An Advocate is certainly a good idea. (You are your child's best advocate, but a professional advocate can help you with the educational mumbo-jumbo). You can keep your child at this school and continue fighting, or move on. I can tell you from experience that once the teachers dig in their heals and decide they won't do something, you'll have to fight everyone all the way to the top to get it done. Have you contacted anyone at autismcolorado.org? There are educators in this state who are experts in Autism and can do wonderful things. Good Luck!
Please send me your information on the school your son is at in Windsor and I will see if I can help. I live in Windsor and have three kids that have been in this school system, I also take of a downs syndrome child who also went through this school system and her Mom is an elementary school principal. I will help you fight for your son's right to an education if you want me to.
You should have been given a set of rights and responsiblities with every written notice and IEP copy. Read it! If you are still lost, contact your State Dept. of Education where they will help you through the maze of arbitration, mediation, in other words, to help resolve the issues. When your child is suspended they had to have held a hearing to decide if his misbehavior is related to his disability or not. If they say your child is not so bad, but he is flunking out, and being suspended, YOU NEED HELP. Do not delay, but get on the phone to your principal first and tell him your intentions to seek higher authority, then the School District special ed office next, then the State last. That is why those rules and regulations are there for you. Good luck!
It might help to write down his likes/dislikes; something to give to his teachers and others whom it might help. This will allow them to know what he is thinking (i.e. does he like eye contact, does he like to participate or does he need to get to know you first, etc.) Things that will help the teachers understand him better so that he can feel more comfortable around them, and in turn it might help him feel more comfortable in school.