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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

High Functioning Autism and IEPs and Principals

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM
  • 19 Replies

Hello!  I am the mom of three beautiful and brilliant children, one of which has High Functioning Autism.  His school has also labelled him as Gifted, and has stated on several occasions that they don't know what to do with him.

His IEP is a joke, and the meetings a farce.  Recently, my son (he is 11) was suspended for two days for an act that did not occur and the principal refuses to hear his side.  In addition to fighting that battle, we requested another IEP meeting (Our 4th in a year) because of his needs for social skill instructions.  

After visiting an advocate who went over the IEP in detail, page by page, we went to the IEP meeting and were told that what we wanted was unneccessary.  All we asked for were specific and measurable goals for the IEP, Functional Levels of Performance for his Autism, and assistance with his communication and social needs.

We were told by the district representative at the meeting that IEPs must be general, that having the term "Autism" on his IEP would tell educators what needed to be done, since the IEP was only for the student goals.  A Functional Behavior Plan would have to be implemented in order to address all communication, social, and in their terms, "behavioral" needs. As for Present Levels of Performance, we were told that was only for children who needed assistive technology.  Communication concerns were negligible since my son speaks eloquently.  The school psychologist dismissed nonverbal communication as relevant.

We were told that goals do not have to be measurable or specific, and those that were had not been written by educators who knew what they were doing.  Our advocate, they said, was not trained as well as the district and we were better off doing as they said.

I know what is supposed to be in an IEP. I have researched and talked to other parents, but the district will not budge.  It is like the term Autism is not an actual disability, but they are humoring me by putting it on his IEP.  We have filed complaints, but nothing is accomplished.  Our next step is mediation according to the State Board of Education we have been in contact with, yet I still feel that it is not enough.

The suspension devastated him because he did not understand it nor do what he was accused of, then he was moved away from his teacher that he loved into an Inclusion class.  When I asked why they didn't start him in an Inclusion class, it was becasue he was Gifted.  The school cannot seem to accommodate both of his "Disabilities." I can't seem to get through to them!

Any advice would be appreciated.  We are so frustrated! 



by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM
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Replies (1-10):
dawncs
by Dawn on Feb. 13, 2013 at 1:26 PM
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Trust me, there are all sorts of intelligence involved on the Autism Spectrum. I have a friend with a PhD with Asperger's Syndrome (http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/) which is on the high functioning side of the Autism Spectrum. I recommend you read http://www.wrightslaw.com/ and update your advocate if he or she was not at the meeting. By law, they should not be penalizing him for his disability, and bullies tend to make the victim into the one who caused the situation at times trust me on that one. You might have a case for change of placement which is normally hard to do because you have to prove that the school can't provide a placement which meets his educational needs, and you should bring it up to the advocate. There is much more to the Autism label on the IEP on programs, and the principal who was not trained in Special Education really well is showing his ignorance really well. I recommend going to the school and confronting the principal with the advocate and reminding him that he could be held professionally liabel and have to hire an attorney which costs major money over how things were handled under his watch. I recommend going to these websites also: http://www.ldonline.org/, http://www.easterseals.org/, http://www.autism-society.org/, http://www.autismspeaks.org/, http://www.chadd.org/, http://whatdoyouchoose.org/, and http://www.stopbullying.gov/.

Dawn
Beautifully Talanted Asperger Syndrome Writer
Diagnosed Asperger Syndrome as an adult
Diagnosed Edema (since young)
Author Page: http://www.toyboxunlimited.com/

Blondechic13
by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Thank you!  I've looked at Wright's Law and a few others that you mention.  Our advocate was apalled when I told him how things went, and I do not think he would have a problem going to the next IEP meeting with us.  My research skills are getting a workout.  You have mentioned several others I had not seen, so I will definitely check those out!  We have confronted the principal, and either they truly believe they are right in their actions and beliefs, or they have thoroughly underestimated us. 

He is in 5th Grade and we are hoping he gets into a charter school more geared toward his academic level and interests. If he somehow does not get in, we will definitely push for another school.  The middle school here is just like the elementary.  It is just really upsetting, but we are still battling!

Thank you!!

amonkeymom
by Amy on Feb. 13, 2013 at 2:01 PM
1 mom liked this

Wow, I would definitely, definitely go for the mediation.  The school is NOT doing what needs to be done and it is your son who is being hurt by it. 

Bluerose1482
by Bronze Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Send a letter to the compliance office and the director of special services outlining your concerns.  Let them know that you will be filing a formal complaint with the state board of education if your concerns are not addressed in 15 business days.  (I know it seems like a long time, but it is a very reasonable time-frame if you actually do have to file a complaint.)  Then the director can't respond by saying, "I didn't know there was a problem, and when I was made aware, I didn't have time to act on it."

Just keep in mind that going that route sort of makes you an enemy of the state, but it sounds like they aren't bending over backwards to do you any favors now.  Also, document anything that you think it retaliation against your child.  Retaliation is a civil rights violation--that's the kind that ends with a monitary judgement for your child.  I don't think there is anyone in education who doesn't know that IEP goals must be specific and measurable.

Blondechic13
by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Good points.  Fortunately, the State compliance person seems to be on our side. I am worried about retaliation, especially since I still have daughters in the school.  I've just never hear of this kind of blatant disregard for students, not to mention procedures.  We are documenting everything and tape recording the meetings from here on out  (which we are allowed to do so long as we tell them ahead of time.).  If nothing comes of the mediation, then we are definitely filing with OCR.  I'm seeing this through, even if the district ends up despising me.  If I don't, what happens the next time they get a kid like him?

dawncs
by Dawn on Feb. 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM

 I know you are looking out for all of your kids, but you have to protect your son most of all right now. Legally, he can attend school until age 21 under federal guidelines. However, they are costing him very valuable time in which he can learn to better ways to handle his disability. You should approach the charter school that you want to place your son in with your advocate and not to cause problems. You need to explain the situation that is happening at his current school. Tell them you are afraid of what will happen to your son next with the school district and retribution to your daughters over the ignorance and uncaring principal. Make him look like a monster for who he is. Ask to see if you can enroll all three children there instead of just your son.

Quoting Blondechic13:

Good points.  Fortunately, the State compliance person seems to be on our side. I am worried about retaliation, especially since I still have daughters in the school.  I've just never hear of this kind of blatant disregard for students, not to mention procedures.  We are documenting everything and tape recording the meetings from here on out  (which we are allowed to do so long as we tell them ahead of time.).  If nothing comes of the mediation, then we are definitely filing with OCR.  I'm seeing this through, even if the district ends up despising me.  If I don't, what happens the next time they get a kid like him.

Dawn
Beautifully Talanted Asperger Syndrome Writer
Diagnosed Asperger Syndrome as an adult
Diagnosed Edema (since young)
Author Page: http://www.toyboxunlimited.com/

supermomz25
by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM
1 mom liked this

I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time with your sons school. I feel so lucky that the school my son is in now is very well equipped to handle him. he is HFA and all of his teachers and counselors are wonderful. I would talk to your advocate and whomever else will listen. good luck and I hope everything works out for you and your son.

Hottubgodess
by Jackie on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:54 AM
1 mom liked this

((HUGS)) I feel your pain.  I have a boy similar to yours who is not listed as AI but EI (Emotionally Impaired) which means "bad boy who needs to be trained".  It took me requiring an IEE (independent eval at school's expense) to get them to understand that yes he has a form of autism (they still "dont see it") and that yes he has sensory over load (they didnt see that either, but it was in all the emails I got from his teachers...duh).  

Two things to stress - yes by laws IEP's have to have MEASURABLE GOALS.  And the "I" stands for INDIVIDUALIZED - not a cookie cutter plan.  

Good luck.....I am currently working with other parents to stress to the superintendent we need better help for our kids.  Our SPED Director sucks....I honestly think she is evil and refuses to place kids as AI.  

Hottubgodess
by Jackie on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM

And remember - he may be ahead of level now...but if he is not getting what he needs, he will drop.  My bright son who was ahead of level in 2nd grade is now at level in 3rd due to the amounts of ISS and the damage his teacher did last year.  

Quoting dawncs:

 I know you are looking out for all of your kids, but you have to protect your son most of all right now. Legally, he can attend school until age 21 under federal guidelines. However, they are costing him very valuable time in which he can learn to better ways to handle his disability. You should approach the charter school that you want to place your son in with your advocate and not to cause problems. You need to explain the situation that is happening at his current school. Tell them you are afraid of what will happen to your son next with the school district and retribution to your daughters over the ignorance and uncaring principal. Make him look like a monster for who he is. Ask to see if you can enroll all three children there instead of just your son.

Quoting Blondechic13:

Good points.  Fortunately, the State compliance person seems to be on our side. I am worried about retaliation, especially since I still have daughters in the school.  I've just never hear of this kind of blatant disregard for students, not to mention procedures.  We are documenting everything and tape recording the meetings from here on out  (which we are allowed to do so long as we tell them ahead of time.).  If nothing comes of the mediation, then we are definitely filing with OCR.  I'm seeing this through, even if the district ends up despising me.  If I don't, what happens the next time they get a kid like him.


Blondechic13
by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM


On one hand, it's nice to not be alone in this, and on the other I hate that you are also going through something similar!  I know that is hard on you and your son and I admire how hard you are fighting for our kids!

We are filling out the Mediation paperwork today and I am going to start volunteering with our advocacy group that has been so supportive and helpful throughout this IEP mess, so I can also hopefully help other families. I am also meeting this weekend with friends who happen to be a 5th grade teacher, a sped teacher, and a school psychologist so that we rewrite the IEP as we need it. At least we would have something to show.  

I have often thought our principal and school psychologist evil as well, because I cannot imagine any reason to hurt a child over educating them.  Best of luck!  Your son is lucky to have you as his Mom!

Quoting Hottubgodess:

((HUGS)) I feel your pain.  I have a boy similar to yours who is not listed as AI but EI (Emotionally Impaired) which means "bad boy who needs to be trained".  It took me requiring an IEE (independent eval at school's expense) to get them to understand that yes he has a form of autism (they still "dont see it") and that yes he has sensory over load (they didnt see that either, but it was in all the emails I got from his teachers...duh).  

Two things to stress - yes by laws IEP's have to have MEASURABLE GOALS.  And the "I" stands for INDIVIDUALIZED - not a cookie cutter plan.  

Good luck.....I am currently working with other parents to stress to the superintendent we need better help for our kids.  Our SPED Director sucks....I honestly think she is evil and refuses to place kids as AI.  



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