November 09, 2009,
A.E. asks from Flora, IL on October 05, 2009
My 6 Yr Old Gets Suspended from Kindergarten Has Been Diagnosed W/ Autism
I am trying very hard to get my son the education that he deserves. He is in Kindergarten this year. He has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This does not help him at all!! His IEP doesn't even state that he has been diagnosed. They have Behavioral and developmental delay. I don't know what to do anymore. I have called the special education coordinator to set up a meeting and she has not return my call with an appointment time. My son receives speech, OT and resource. There is also an Aide in the classroom to work with him. She is the classroom aide not his personal aide. My son has issues with aggression. He doesn't like transitions. He would rather be alone than with other children. I feel like the teacher doesn't want him in her classroom( too much trouble). I don't think the principal wants him in her school. I get phone a phone call about once a week. I got a call friday wanting me to pick my son up (1:20) because he tried to hit the aide but hit his arm on the shelf which left a bruise, wanted to hit another student because he was the leader, pulled the aide's hair, and ran out of the classroom when he didn't want to do his work. " He is running out of the classroom and he could get hurt." This is very stressful! I have broken out with hives on my face. I just don't know what to do anymore. Can anyone give me any ideas?
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So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone for all your help! I have recently called the Special Education coordinator and we have a meeting set for 1PM on Tuesday the 13th of October. Everyone agrees that what is put in place is not working. Which makes me feel a little better. I did ask what our options would be if he was not able to be in the Kindergarten class. She said " Honestly, I don't know but I will talk to my supervisor." She also today me that there is a class for Children with Autism but my son is verbal so she didn't feel that class would benefit him. Not sure what we will be able to do. Now I need to think about what I think he needs and tell them what I think. I know I need to be strong or they will walk all over me. I have heard to many stories about how they treat other families. Again Thanks so much!
L.B. answers from St. Joseph on October 06, 2009
This is a frank forum so I want to speak frankly. I don't care what state this is happening in, it is happening ACROSS THE BOARD in EVERY state. If your kid is in need of anything more than a little speech therapy or physical therapy they don't really want to have anything to do with you...granted, YES they HAVE to deal with you by law but that doesn't mean they will make it a pleasant experience. Bottom line here is they WANT you to withdraw your kid and move him someplace else. It is the fact of the matter that budgets are being cut EVERYWHERE and no one is suffering more for it than the people who need it most. My kid was in public last year and we were SOOO egreviously unhappy with the teacher that we literally pulled him mid-year and went parochial...could we afford it, no not really, but it got my son more attention and care that he needed and was getting in public school.
Now, I'm not saying what I did is your solution. Far be it. Every classroom is stretched. Heck I heard our public went from 1:23 to 1:32 this year because they secretly let some of the teachers go (and not informing the parents of this). No, I say you fight it but you are beyond dealing with the principal now...I think it's time you talk to the actual school board as well as the superintendant. If THAT doesn't rattle their trees (which I should expect it would) then I would take it further up the chain and talk to your congressional representatives. Bottom line is this is all boiling down to dollars and cents. Autistic kids are the new ADD. Budgets were stretched on ADD/ADHD and are now dipping into wells that have long been dry. Workers are overworked and underpaid. What the principal is doing is not right and they probably know it but the thinking/mindset of today is that perhaps, just perhaps if they make it difficult and intrusive enough for you then you will act in their benefit (i.e move or withdraw your child). This is the same thing your child does when they pull badgering or martyrdom on you...if it works for the kid or they wear you out enough they have one. DON'T let the school district get away with this behavior.
Instead of picking your child up on Friday at 1:20 you should have told them "I'm sorry, my husband is out of town right now and I'm in an important business meeting that I can't leave. You'll just have to keep him until I can get there at x time." Yes, it may have been a lie but by law they HAVE to keep him unless you have someone who can pick them up...this puts the responsiblity back on their shoulders where it should have been all along for not being able to deal with his behavior. They think that if they can interrupt your busy day enough they will drive you to distraction and get what they want...one less student. I'm probably going to get a lot of flack for this but you live in IL, my BFF lives in MO, and I live in KS and this is a problem I am hearing about across the board. Unless someone (mainly a lot of someones) step up and start making a lot of noise about this and getting more money back into the schools EVERYONE'S kid is going to be suffering...it's not just the special needs kids because all the normal kids get put in the same disruptive classroom as the special needs kids do...and once the teacher gets frazzled, well so do all the kids and then there is total anarchy... One on one paras are a godsend (I should know my mil is one in a special needs center) they are overworked and underpaid (they keep her at just below 40hrs so they don't have to pay her health insurance and for that she is beaten and abused regularly by her students). I'm all for integration in the classroom, as long as the ratios are managable for a teacher and there are paras to help them with the special needs kids...without that, honestly, could any of you truly manage 25 normal kids every single day plus 2-3 that may be ADD, ADHD, or autistic?
Obama wants our kids to be in school longer...frankly, I don't think that's something that should even be considered until they get more funding for the schools NOW so that they can get better ratios & more help for the special needs kids. Longer hours only compound this already taxed problem.
Sorry for the rant, but this is something that I think ALL moms/parents/child raisers should be alert to. Elevate your problem to the next level. Document when you called the principal and what messages you left. Take that information with you to the meeting with the school board/superintendant (or mention it on the phone with them). If that doesn't wake them up...keep moving on up the line.
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S.L. answers from Kansas City on October 05, 2009
I think you need to step up and home school your son. What you are asking for is the school to figure out how to deal with him when they also have a room full of children with similar problems. I understand that from your perspective, you feel they are failing you and your son. They can not be expected to have all the answers when none of the answers are easy, all of the children they care for needs special care and individual attention and one aide in a room full of special children simply is not enough. Have you considered what it might be like in his room? Have you offered to come and sit and help? Your profile says you are a stay at home mom. Also, I believe I noticed he's the youngest. I'll bet that you are his best hope.
I bet all these resources listed by the last person will be a great help. But I see no reason why you shouldn't read everything you can get your hands in, roll up your sleeves and become your child's teacher, either at home or in the classroom right a long side his teacher and the aide.
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C.W. answers from St. Louis on October 06, 2009
I am a teacher in a public school, and I have to say that your school district is horrible!!! I can't believe that they are not bending over backwards to help your son. We are trained regularly on Autism. We meet monthly with a Autism specialist to discuss strategies for specific kids. We have seen amazing growth in our Autistic students. I have never had a class larger than 22 students. We have seen so much success and growth among these students as well as an increased empathy from classmates.
I'm aware that there are some poor public schools out there, but please don't generalize or stereotype public education. What my district is doing is not unique. There are many amazing public schools as well.
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K.F. answers from St. Louis on October 05, 2009
A., I am so sorry you have to go through this! I have a nephew who is now 10 and lives in New Jersey and has Asperger's Syndrome. He had many of the same issues as your son, and it has been a nightmare for my brother and sister-in-law to get him the resources he needs. After watching the way their school district and child study team have been so difficult with my nephew, I have learned a few things. Just this year they got an advocate to come to any meetings with the child study team. The difference in the way my nephew is treated as well as my brother and sister-in-law are like night and day! However, before going so far as to get an advocate, I WOULD contact local support organizations and ask for their suggestions/help. There seem to be some great organizations in the St. Louis area (I've looked because I would love for my brother to move out here with his family). Here are some web sites to start with: http://www.mofeat.org, http://www.touchpointautism.org, http://www.dmh.missouri.gov/mrdd/autismsupport.htm (list of support organizations in MO), http://stlouis.momslikeme.com/members/groupabout.aspx?g=2... (local online group like mamasource but for moms with special needs children), and http://www.autism-society.org. I know this is a lot of information, but I hope some of it will be helpful to you. God bless you and lead you as you seek the best opportunities for your son!
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S.C. answers from Kansas City on October 06, 2009
I'm not sure what state and city you live in, but there should be a local advocacy agency for children with disabilities. Contact them and request that one of their advocates accompany you to the school to meet with the Special Education Coordinator. Schools have a tendency to ignore you until you bring in a regulating agency or someone who knows how to fight for your son's rights.
I also have a son who started Kindergarten this year. We have been to his school weekly and have met with his entire team in the Special Ed classroom and have managed to make some changes in his IEP. Though, I haven't had to bring in an advocacy agency, I keep their number on speed dial just in case the school stops listening to my concerns.
Keep fighting for your son! He deserves the best from you and all the educators in his life. know this is not easy, it is more than worth the fight. If you have trouble locating the advocacy agency, contact the state board of education. They should be able to get the information for you.
I'm praying your success.
God bless you and your son.
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M.Z. answers from Wichita on October 06, 2009
I personally don't have any experience with this, however one of my employees has a 6 yr old son that was diagnosed with Ashberger's (a form of autism) about a year ago. She would get a call at least twice/week from the school that he had hit someone or kicked someone and finally, she met with a Dr here in Wichita over at Heartspring and got some suggestions from him. The IEP does state he has this problem, this year he has a para assigned to him, she has only been called two or three times this year, which is fantastic. He also struggles with aggression, cannot handle change, he doesn't make eye contact, has no social skills. She has done alot of research on this condition and has had to fight for him to the point sometimes that she is physically and mentally exhausted, but as I told her, she is his only advocate, if she doesn't fight for what he needs, noone else will. Good Luck!!!
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L.C. answers from Kansas City on October 06, 2009
I have grandsons who are on the spectrum. One is 7 and so severly autistic that he doesn't talk. One is three and has Aspergers syndrome. Their father also has Asperger's. In order to get help for the children,they hve had to fight. Every year it is another fight. If you have a copy of his psyche evaluation be sure and take it with you to the school. I would make sure you had many copies in your possession.
There is a National autism Society which may be able to help you. And there should be one for each state, as well. You can look these up on the Internet. They can tell you exactly what your rights are.
If the school district suspends him many days (each state is probably different) then they must assign him a teacher at home.
Please take a deep breath and relax. If you are overwhelmed you can not protect your son.
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M.P. answers from Wichita on October 06, 2009
These are great responses with lots of advice. Keep calling about the IEP meeting. As a parent you have the right to request one whenever you want and they must legally scheduel one. If you are able to contact a prfessional advocate through one of the listed suggestions given by other members, they may be able to give you specific ideas. I worked at a counseling center in KS which provided one on one services for kidos in the school setting. The kids were refered to my services through their therapist. My services cost the school nothing and my job was similar to a para. Most of the kids were on medicaide and that is what covered the cost of my services. It sounds like having a one on one para could help and at the very least getting his hours of extra help increased and targeted during the high needs times such as math and reading. I know that a kid that I worked with didn't need the support the whole day of school but he needed it most of the time. Have faith in yourself, you sound like a great mother and already working hard to ensure that your child is successful. Keep it up and don't forget to take a breather yourself!
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