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Fighting an uphill battle with the school

Posted by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM
  • 9 Replies

My son is 5 and currently goes to head start at our local elementary school.  He was officially diagnosed with Autism (high functioning) earlier in the school year and has problems with anxiety, speech, and social interactions.   We've been trying to change the classification on his current IEP from speech only to autistic, but the school psychologist keeps saying that Tobi is "too smart to be autistic".  I'm so fed up with her!  I swear that she doesn't even know what she is talking about!  He went to an actual doctor who helped write one of the tests to test for autism when he was diagnosed, so who is she to say something like he's "too smart".  I keep complaining to the district and hoping that they'll let someone else make the final decision, but I'm not sure what I should say anymore.  I just don't understand why it's so hard to get them to actually get him the help that he deserves.

Any suggestions?

Mommy to Aeneas Rachel, 6, Tobias Alexander, 5, Alistair Brian, 1.... and soon to be Cortana Michaela!


by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM
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by Gold Member on Feb. 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

You have to call the higher ups. The district special education director. Something along those lines.

There are people here who know more than me.

On a bit of a side note, I'm just curious, who was your doctor?

by Emma on Feb. 14, 2013 at 6:16 PM
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I don't understand how someone can be too smart to be autistic, higher iq's and low social functioning is often very common amongst autistic kids. ^.^

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM
Give a formal letter to his school requesting a iep meeting.
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by Dawn on Feb. 14, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I discovered back in 1996-1997 that not all psychologists are familiar with every type of Autism, and she sounds like she is unfamiliar with the higher functioning levels. Autism can be found in all levels of intelligence believe me. I have a friend with a high functioning or mild form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome, and he holds a PhD. Some parents have discovered much about their child after they found the right form of communication for some of the nonverbal kids that they were really smart. You might want to talk to an advocate in which you can find through your local Autism Society (, Autism Speaks (, or TheARC ( Before your next meeting, you might want to read up on Special Education laws and services at You might also want to look into the local Easter Seals (

Beautifully Talanted Asperger Syndrome Writer
Diagnosed Asperger Syndrome as an adult
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by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM

As far as I know school is not suppose to give any diagonosis but their IEP services are based on the student need. If he has "autism" on his IEP yes he will get more services...My son had speech on his IEP so we got a private evaluation and got "autism" dx and the school had to accept it.

u can try private eval thru ur Insurance and see what they say. My son is high functioning so its quite confusing for the pysch to give diagonosis ,2nd opinion always helps

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Be very stern as a parent toward the school I did and I got what I wanted for my son...he has the dx autism adhd and speech delay on his iep.he's in the proper school and in the proper class and on a handicapped bus so if you stay strong and determined you will get it...if you have to call the school everyday and demand a meeting do it for your child..your child will lack the special education and services because they won't Do anymore than they need to do so just push them and let them know how serious you are then they will have no choice but to follow through with more testing possibly or more help......
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by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:49 PM

I hate this too smart to be considered autistic thing, has the world gone mad? This is the second professional this week who I have heard has said such a thing. Autism is not an intellectual dysfunction, its a neurological disorder, and often times these kids are highly intelligent, but just not as skilled with communicating it, or with being social. Some people!

by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:31 AM

1) the school does not diagnose but they do have to consider whether the category of "autistic-like features" is a list of things that impairs your child enough on a daily basis to warrant him being given further support in class or being put in a different special ed class altogether. Your kid may very well have autism but the SYMPTOMS and SIGNS of his autism may not be impacting his ability to learn and function in his class to the point where the school feels he requires further support.  OR more likely they are lazy and unwilling to do a thorough evaluation to see if his autism is affecting his education. 

2) you can request an IEP meeting to review your son's IEP at any time and the school must hold that meeting w/ in a certain amount of time, not remembering how many days but def. 45 or less.  Request the meeting in writing, in an email, and be sure to include the principal as well as his teachers. 

3) if they continue to dick you around you can google for autism advocates in your area.  Some will be lawyers and NOT free, others may not have a degree but have lots of experience and would be willing to sit in with you at your son's IEP and help you get 'er done.

by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 5:54 AM
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You need to write a letter to the director of special education (sometimes called special services) in your district.

1. Make SURE you date the letter. 

2. Directly state that you want your child to have a full evaluation for special education services.

3. Write a breif summary of your educational concerns. 

4. Print and sign the letter.

Send certified copies of the letter to the director of special education, the principal and the child's teacher. 

Just to give you an idea, in my state when you send such a letter the district has 15 school business days to send you informed consent.  You have 15 school business days to sign or to begin due process procedures.  After the district recieves your signed consent they have 60 business school days to complete their evaluation and hold their 1st IEP meeting OR provide you a copy of their reporting stating that your child doesn't qualify for special services.  (In my case, I signed informed consent on Jan 23rd and the 60th school day will be May 1st--it is not a fast process.)  Also, in my state, the last 15 days prior to the end of school do not count as 'school days' AND although school starts on or around Aug 10th, the 'time clock' doesn't start again until the 1st school day in September.

If they find that your child doesn't qualify, you are entitled to an independent evaluation provided by an outside source at public expense.  You just have to disagree with their findings and request it in writting.  Also, when they provide a list of providers for you to choose from, you can reject their list and request that they provide additional choices.  Choose carefully, because it is very difficult to object to what the independent outside source finds. 

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