How Can I Get My Sons School to Get Him an Aide?

Updated on May 21, 2018
A.M. asks from Denver, CO
13 answers

My son is five years old and autistic/adhd, the last year i had to homeschool him because the school doesn't want to give him a paraprofessional to assist him in his school. But I want him in a school with other children and they would rather stick him in another school. But when i saw the other school and it's program I was immediately against my school being moved there. I don't know what to do! All he needs is a para. He had a part time aide in preschool and he did wonderfully. I don't understand why they would rather stick him in a school where he wouldn't benefit instead of giving him a para.

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answers from Appleton on

I believe he has a right to a para if he needs one. He can't be denied. contact you local office for the aging and disabled they should be able to inform you of his rights.

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answers from Springfield on

My 9 year old is on the Autism Spectrum and has ADHD. He originally attended our neighborhood school. He was never assigned a full-time para, but he did have one for about 2/3 of the time. Our school tried many, many (many) different things before suggesting a different school. The principal, teachers and special ed experts were all very positive and did genuinely try to work with our son. Halfway through first grade, we new this wasn't working and that the situation was getting increasingly worse.

My husband and I met with the principal of the other school and took a tour. We met the woman who would be our son's teacher. We asked lots of questions and really tried to get a feel for the place.

Other parents said to us:
"Don't let them do that to you."
"Tell the school district not to move him!"
"Stand up for your son."
"If he goes to school with other kids on the spectrum, he won't improve. He will only learn more bad behaviors."


Sending our son to the other school was, without a doubt, the best thing we have ever done for him! He is in a class with 7 or 8 other kids, 1 teacher and 3 paras. He gets lots of attention. His scheduled is adjusted to fit his needs. They follow a work/break/work/break routine. If he refuses to do something, they wait him out.


I don't know the specifics of your situation, but I strongly encourage you to keep talking with the school. Ask for a meeting with the principal and the person in charge of special ed. (Your school or district has one.) Ask them why they believe this other school would be better for your son. Make them explain it to you. They must have reasons, so make sure they are good. Ask them why they think your son would do better at the other school. Ask them what the plan is for having your son transfer back to the neighborhood school. Ask about a plan and goals. Write down as many questions as you can, and do not leave until you are satisfied with the answers. Ask them to put you in touch with other parents who have transferred their children to the other school.

Call the other school and ask them all the same questions. How will my son benefit from this school? Why do you think this school is a good fit for him. What are the goals? What is the plan? Do you see him ever transferring back to the neighborhood school, and if so, do you have a plan for transitioning him? Can you put me in touch with some parents of this school so I can ask them about their experience?

You have 3 months before August. Talk to both schools as many times as you need to and ask as many questions as you need to. If by August you are still not convinced, tell them that you do not approve. But do keep an open mind. This might actually be in your son's best interest.

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answers from Boston on

Being a strong advocate for your child is important. Getting a strong advocate for your child is even more important.

You know your child well, and you know what worked in preschool. But he's had a year of home schooling since then (which I am sure found to be challenging - everyone does), and now you're talking about another year. He's grown, he's changed in many ways, and his needs and capabilities have expanded.

You need to combine evaluations from professionals (physician, early intervention, etc.) with the school's special ed staff to develop an IEP. There can be red tape and there can be some wheels that don't turn so efficiently, and that's frustrating. However, there are also people (professionals) there who deal with a lot of kids who need support services of varying kinds. What concerns me from your standpoint is that you are very stuck on exactly one form of assistance and that's all you want. You aren't interested in anything else. You say you saw another program and you were "immediately against" it. You refer to alternative placements as them "sticking" your son there. I think your lack of openness and your total unwillingness to work with the school is going to leave you frustrated and perhaps leave your child without the options that could benefit him.

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answers from San Francisco on

The doctor and psychiatrist who cares for your son and provided all the testing and diagnosis should have all the information you need regarding getting your son an IEP or 504 plan, whatever it is he qualifies for. At the very least they should be able to point you to the right person in the district who can help you (or not, depending on the severity of his diagnosis.)

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answers from Boston on

Sounds like you need an advocate. The school is obligated to provide the least restrictive environment for him. It may very well be that they don't have the staff or space to educate him in the district - if that's the case, your advocate can verify that information and help you to understand the factors at play. If they could educate him in district but are choosing not to, your advocate can push for the right supports in district.

I would caution you to not go in with too many pre-conceived ideas about what he needs. Preschool is not the same as K-12. What works for school that is essentially just play time with some optional academics isn't necessarily what will work in an instructional environment. You know your child best, but your school district knows s education best. Fight for your son, but keep an open mind.

FWIW, placement in a separate school is normally prohibitively expensive and something that a lot of parents have to fight FOR because the district doesn't want to pay the tuition and transportation. My school district is doing everything it can to build out capacity to teach more children with special needs in-district because of that expense, plus the benefits of kids going to school in their own community. In my experience, school districts will normally do everything they can to keep a kid in-district, including hiring an aide, etc. because that costs less. If they're saying that's not an option, there may be very good, valid reasons for that.

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answers from Boston on

Did you have him evaluated by the school so that they could set up a IEP? If you didn't then that would be your first priority.

If you have a IEP then I would read over everything and make sure he was getting 100% of the services they said they would give. I always found that if I didn't keep up on things the school would cut back of the services until I called and asked why it wasn't happening. Extra services are expensive and the school would honestly not like to provide them but if you have it in writing they have to follow through.

Keep an open mind about moving your son to a different school. One of my friend's had a son who was placed in a special school in a different town. Best thing ever. The staff dealt with his issues all the time so he fit right in. Got more of a well rounded education there and has been very successful in his adult life due to that placement.

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answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia.

If your son was diagnosed as autistic? Then he should be given an IEP/540 progam and other preferences for education.

If the school feels that he is capable of being in mainstream school, why would you be against this? Wouldn't it be great for your son to feel "normal"? Why do you want to set him apart from the others?

If the school does not feel he's entitled to a paraprofessional, then you need to do one of two things - 1 - fight/advocate for your son - 2 - accept that your son is not as far on the spectrum as you believe he is. If you feel your son NEEDS this paraprofessional? You offer to pay for it as the funding is not unlimited for IEP/540 Programs. Or you can continue to home school your son and give him the one-on-one you feel he needs.

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answers from Washington DC on

do you have an official diagnosis?

if so, why does the school not want to provide him with an aide? it might be due to financial stresses, or it might be that they feel he'll do better being mainstreamed. that makes a big difference.

what's your beef with the program at the other school?

'all he needs is a para' is all very well from where you're sitting, but in a school district that's financially strapped it may very well not be that easy.

why are you so sure he wouldn't benefit from the program at the other school?

why are you so sure that para at this school is all he needs?

there are a lot of unanswered questions here. but the bottom line is that you can either advocate more loudly, hire a lawyer, cooperate with the school's recommendation or continue to homeschool (which, if done properly, will mean you seek out and get involved with homeschool groups. you're not supposed to homeschool your child in isolation.)


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answers from Portland on

My grandson is autistic. He has some developmental delays as well as apraxia of speech (has difficulty making specific sounds) so that his speech can be understood. He also acted out in anger and difficulty following directions. He went to a therapeutic preschool, was in a special ed class in a mainstream school for a couple of years. He is now in high school. He has one period with a Special Ed professional. He's mainstreamed for all othe classes. He has an IEP which all teachers follow. He likes school and is making friends.
He was not eligible for a personal paraprofessional to help him.
The special ed classroom had a teacher and 3 professional aids. There were fewer students so each child had lots of personal help. This worked for him.

There iis a limited amount of money for such programs. A student has to have a specific need, as evaluated by the county's Intermediate Education office. I'm not sure I remember the name correctly. They will do an evaluation to decide a treatment plan. My grandson received occupational and physical therapy as well as speech therapy. He was placed in a special ed classroom where he had a teacher trained in special ed and 3 paraprofessional aids. I think there were perhaps 10-12 students.

My granddaughter, who has ADHD, was evaluated and received help for writing and math. In high school one of her classes was in a special ed group in which she could get professional help.

Another grandchild was diagnosed with autism. She is mainstreamed in grade school. She is followed by a special ed professional who is the one to monitor her IEP. Her mainstream teacher provides the help she needs. She is doing well in the mainstream classroom.

I write this to illustrate that there are different levels in which a special education is provided. There is a specific amount of money budgeted for this program. The county and the school district have to divide that money amongst students with various levels of need. Not knowing why your son needs special help, nor how much money is budgeted for special ed, can I guess why the district is not providing an additional aid. Perhaps his educational needs are different now.

Have you asked why he won't have an aid this year? Has he been evaluated for a 540 or IEP? He needs to be in one of those programs to be eligible for an individual aid. You said all he needs is an aid. I suggest that kids with autism and ADHD issues need more help than a personal paraprofessional aid. The school district office of the Intermediate Education School District office will explain your son's eligibility and the way to get the help he needs.

You can hire an advocate who will help you to get what your child needs. I suggest that you may have to have your son be evaluated by specific professionals who are outside the school district. If the school district has diagnosed and provided a treatment plan that does'nt include a paraprofessional aid. If the district did an evaluation, they can tell you how you can get an aide and/or tell you why he's not eligible. They can tell you, based on legal requirements and budget issues, if there is a possibility to get one.

Unfortunately, there is not enough money for this program.

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answers from New York on

I am guessing they don't want to pay for a para. Find out what your rights are in your state and make the school do their part

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answers from Philadelphia on

I would bet their motivation is purely financial. It’s probably much more expensive to hire a one on one aide than have him go to a special school.

Know what your son’s rights are re: his education. Call your states department of Education and ask for guidance. Then request a meeting with the school to come up with a plan that is agreeable to you.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Know your rights.

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answers from Macon on

I don't know if the State you live in has any programs that protect the Children with Disabilities. I am in Georgia, we have a program called the 504 program in our public schools. This program is a State program that protects the Children with disabilities. I did not know about it until I started searching for answers like you. No one at the school volunteered this information until I requested information and met with a School Counselor. Check the State you live in to see if there are any programs that protect your Childs rights in school. Ask the school, check the State's web page on the .gov website. I hope this helps you. My son had severe ADHD and OCD and had a very hard time in school. It was a struggle his entire life. He is 28 now and has a College Degree. Good luck and prayers. Be Strong.

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answers from Denver on

You have already received some good advice from other respondents so I would just like to add to it. I am in Colorado and have a daughter with issues that required an IEP.

What I learned is that you yourself will need to read and understand the current laws regarding all the different regulations. IDEA etc. I had to teach myself the laws to advocate for my own child. Although she had an IEP throughout her life it was not really worth the paper it was written on if the educators did not follow it.
What I mean is, yes there is an IEP but are the educators actually changing their approach and teaching based on your child's needs or are they just not working with them if they don't learn how the teacher teaches? Are they just putting them in class and lowering the standards so they are moved along or are they actually trying to engage and teach to the child's learning style?
Accommodations and flowery words don't mean that the school/educators etc are actually teaching the way the child learns. Are they are putting together an IEP with goals that are broad and sound nice without the actual steps or plan to get them to these global goals?
Statements like 'the child will know their colors by the end of 1st grade" does not state how they are going to know these. That kind of statement depends on the child fitting into how the teacher teaches, not the teacher teaching to that particular child.
Any person can complete an IEP if they have the template to complete, as an advocate ensure at each step that your child is attaining the goals, all accommodations or adaptive tools are being utilized by the school and that if a goal is not obtained it is seen as a teaching challenge to be adapted to, not the child's fault.
I have seen far too many children essentially stuck in the corner and 'watered' just to move them along without a teacher that changes their learning style for the child. An IEP is the first step, I understand it is incredibly challenging to manage their disability and the day to day and then teach yourself the entire requirements of IDEA and IEPs and all the other alphabet soup.. but there are books out there, there are great websites like that offer tools and assistance.
Good luck. My daughter is 25, can barely read and still struggles with basic skills she was supposedly taught in school. I wish I had known to ensure the IEP was detailed enough and specific enough so she was getting the assistance she needed.

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