Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Moms with Teens Moms with Teens

Should He Be Allowed to Graduate?

Posted by on May. 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM
  • 68 Replies

Autistic Boy's Parents Need to Accept He Won't Graduate From High School

Posted by Jeanne Sager

graduationIt's every parent's dream to have their child grow up and graduate from high school. But when do you give up on that dream? When do you say, "OK, that's what some kids do. Some kids, but maybe not my kid?" Sinclaire Coffer's parents aren't there yet. 

Their 17-year-old son has taken a math test -- required by the State of Georgia for a high school senior to graduate -- five times. And every single time, Coffer has failed. But because their son has autism, Coffer's parents think their son should get to graduate anyway.

I feel for the Coffers. I really, honestly, 100 percent do. Parenting a kid on the spectrum has its own special challenges to begin with. And they've gotten their kid this far.

They say they've hired a private tutor. They've encouraged their son to take extra courses. They've done everything that a parent SHOULD do and more. They even supported his venture to the point of petitioning the state's board of education for a waiver on the math test -- based on his autism diagnosis -- so that Sinclaire could say he too was a high school graduate.

But now that the state board of education has said no, sorry, but rules are rules, I feel for them even more. Because now they may have to face one of the hardest thing for parents: that point at which we realize there are some things our kids just can't do. We spend their early childhood talking about "no limits," but at some point, that's exactly what they are. Limits on who this person will be and what they can do.

It's not a part of parenting that comes with pithy quotes about hopes and dreams. It's not a part of parenting they talk about much in the books. It's a part that downright sucks.

But it's reality. Some kids are made to kick butt on the basketball court. Some kids are made to multiply huge sums in their head. Some kids are made to graduate.

And some kids aren't. I know I will never be an artist (and have the dismal scores from high school art class on my transcript to prove it). I will never be a nuclear engineer.

This kid gave it the old college try. He took a test FIVE times, and he failed it every single time. The state has said he can't graduate unless he passes it, so what are the Coffers going to do? Are they going to make him take it again and again and again? Or will they accept that this is one dream that is not to be and move on, find something their child can do and do well? I can't make that decision for them, but I hope they make the right one.

Should Sinclaire Coffer be alllowed to graduate?

What would you do if you found out your child could not graduate from high school?

 

by on May. 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
atlmom2
by Susie on May. 15, 2012 at 9:41 AM

I am torn but rules are rules.  Do they start giving diplomas to everyone?  They mean nothing if they just hand them out.  Did he pass all his classes?  Was he given special compensation to pass regular classes too?  Usually these tests are not that hard. They are usually on a 9th grade level at least in the states I know about. 

MB13
by on May. 15, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Our school has required tests in several subject areas.  Those kids that fail the tests are required some form of remediation.  My son had to take an extra math class for review and then retook the test.

boys2men2soon
by Kimberly on May. 15, 2012 at 10:07 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm on the fence.   If he passed all his classes, met all the requirements...but couldn't pass one math test.... I think he should be given special accomomdations.  Perhaps he can have more time on the test or use his notes.      Kids with learning disabilities should have certain allowances made, such as IEP's.    




Carmel63
by Bronze Member on May. 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM
1 mom liked this
In Massachusetts it is unlikely this same student would get a diploma. There is one other avenue to a diploma, but it is so infrequently used, that I know of no one that has been successful. It is a portfolio that demonstrates the knowledge required.

I know Moms that know that their child will spend 12 plus years in school and will never get a diploma because their child will never have the ability to demonstrate what is required. While I will agree that this is sad, I still think the diploma should have some value other than someone sat in a chair for 12 years.

In Massachusetts about five percent of the students fail to pass the MCAS and earn a diploma.
atlmom2
by Susie on May. 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM


Quoting boys2men2soon:

I'm on the fence.   If he passed all his classes, met all the requirements...but couldn't pass one math test.... I think he should be given special accomomdations.  Perhaps he can have more time on the test or use his notes.      Kids with learning disabilities should have certain allowances made, such as IEP's.    

Allowances are made like having tests read to them, or extra time etc.  They are not exempt from taking tests though with IEP's. 

Come join me at The Duggars Debate, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Carmel63
by Bronze Member on May. 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Quoting boys2men2soon:

I'm on the fence.   If he passed all his classes, met all the requirements...but couldn't pass one math test.... I think he should be given special accomomdations.  Perhaps he can have more time on the test or use his notes.      Kids with learning disabilities should have certain allowances made, such as IEP's.    




Their IEP's still require that they pass the test. The IEP can include accommodations like a quiet room, and untimed tests.
boys2men2soon
by Kimberly on May. 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM
1 mom liked this

I have a son on the spectrum.  He is a HS senior.  He has Asperger's and high intelligence....he has never had an IEP.     The year he started HS, our State changed the graduation requirements to include public speaking.   That is the one thing my son is incapable of.   He can swallow his anxiety and sit through 6 hours of crowded classrooms, navigate crowded, loud hallways, (all of which equate to a near torture for him).   He can past tests, do homework, complete projects.......but he can not stand up in front of a crowd and speak.   

Public Speaking is not Math, I know.   But, it would have been ridiculous to not allow him a diploma, a college eduacation, a bright, productive future, simply because he can't speak in public.     I went to his school counselor with my concern, and we concluded that if an IEP was necessary, we would do it to eliminate the public speaking requirement.    As it turned out, there was not a final test in public speaking, simply more classes required oral presentations.   My son padded his grades and had to accept lower grades on oral assignments.   He did the work, but did not present it orally.   He accepted B's as final grades in some classes due to this.    That's life.  

I know kids with Aspergers diagnosis who don't go to school, they will never work, they simply collect SS benefits because they are considered disabled due to Autism.    It is sad and unnecessary.   

luckysevenwow
by Platinum Member on May. 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM
3 moms liked this

My son has numerous disabilities (mostly learning) and an IEP. He was able to pass all of the test but one; math. They could see before his senior year that he probably would not be able to pass it and nothing was gonna change that. They did and can make it so they do not have to take the test. We opted to pass on the test and have him take an online class. His senior year came and he did good the first semester, then bi-polar came and knocked everyone for a loop. He could not complete his senior year so the school labeled him as homeschooled so that he could come bcak the following year as a super senior. 

The following year he did go back, the most important thing to my son was graduating and the school did everything in their power to make that happen. The set his classes up so that there was a break between every class, oddly while math was the one test he couldn't pass the only classes he had to take was history. He struggles with information, to much is overwhelming to him and he can not separate what is needed and what isn't.

He did graduate, he graduated cause the school did everything humanly possible and then some to make sure it happens. I find it shameful that this school has not done everything possible to make sure this child grduates. It's their responsibility as much as it is the parents.

MB13
by on May. 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM
1 mom liked this

I thought that most states have some type of special education diploma available for special needs students.

atlmom2
by Susie on May. 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

I am pretty sure we do here in Wisconsin.  I don't see how you can lessen a regular diploma but you can make a different one. 

Quoting MB13:

I thought that most states have some type of special education diploma available for special needs students.


Come join me at The Duggars Debate, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)