Skip navigation

Calls to Action

'How to best advocate for your child's education' Transcript


  With the IEP season firmly underway in a difficult economic climate, parents are encountering new and additional challenges. Let the Q and A begin!!
Comment From jeanne

my sons school wants him to be moved into kindergarden from his special autism class, when he is clearly not ready.. after seeing his doctor to check his yearly progress, it states that he has either made little to no progress, and even fallen back in some areas.. the school still says we just need to push him harder.. how do i get them to see my point.. that he is not ready

  Jeanne....the key is usually having comprehensive assessments and/or progress reports from a behaviorist and/or educational consultant (and other providers) who can attest that your son has not yet obtained the prerequisite skills needed to move into kindergarten. Autism is just terrible with the calendar, and is not guided by anything other than the student's actual progress.
Comment From sheila

what should I do when I have moved from one state to another an they tell me my child doesnt qualify for services til hes reevaluated

  Sheila.....I don't know about your particular state, but students who move from one state to another typically are entitled to an "interim" service plan until evaluations and assessments are completed. Write to your district and tell them you are prepared to share all your prior evals and that if they want to conduct additional evals, they should specify what evals they are seeking and you will likely consent. However, you also should press for an interim service plan as your child is not supposed to have any material lapse in services.
  You have at least two options. If you are able to afford a battery of private evaluations, you might want to consider getting them now as insurance in the event you are in disagreement with the districts evals and recommendations. If, like many parents, you cannot afford the private evaluation route, wait until you receive and review the districts evaluations. You might agree with what they say and recommend but if you do not agree, request in writing for independent evaluations at the school districts expense. If you go that route, YOU choose the independent evaluators, not the school district.
Comment From Guest

My son is in a local special school which does not specialise in ASD he is held with4 or more adults on him, although he he has not shown any signs of violence! there issue is he is a big lad and they have to keep others safe! is it acceptable to use such force?he comes home from school with substantial bruising over his body from hoilds from staff.

  I do not know how old your son is, or how long he has been in this "local special school" but if he is regularly being held with multiple adults on him, this is a sitaution crying out for assessment and remediation. I would send in a behavior analyst, preferably someone with BCBA or PH.D. level credentials, to find out what is happening behind the schoolhouse doors because whatever is happening, what you describe is alarming.
Comment From Erica

How do I get my 5 year old daughter the services she deserves she has been dx with PDD Nos Ocd and Sensory Proccesing disorder she has a speech only IEP right now but we are changing the IEp because of her new DX

  When a child turns five, in most states only a single eligibility classification can be chosen. You need to convene a new IEP meeting, share your new evaluations, and probably request a change of classification to autism (which normally includes the communication deficit issues). Document your requests in writing. And, ask if the reclassification under autism entitles your daughter or your family to any additional services or protections because in some states, such as New York, there are some special protections where there is an autism diagnosis or classification.
Comment From Tanya

I have asked for help with my sons hand writing for 4 years he is 15 in the 8th grade and writes like he is starting school its large and unreconizable . We finally convince them he needs help and the specialist has worked with him just a few times and out sick the rest of the year what do I do?

  Tanya......handwriting is an important issue, but at 15, the handwriting remediation approach might 
be a little different. Your son certainly needs to be able to print legibly, but with laptops, ipads etc., learning cursive handwriting at 15 might not be your most pressing priority. Is your son utilizing a keyboard or any similar technology? Certainly if your school district is failing to provide the services they promised to provide you should call an IEP meeting and address the issue straightaway......and if the failure continues, you might threaten to go out and get private remediation and seek reimbursement
Comment From Trey

My son is in middle school, and in regular classes (with an aide) and is struggling in science. He seems to know the material, but does poorly on tests. The teacher says that he will not fail her class, but shouldn't the focus be getting him to perform better instead of just passing him along to the next level. We have met with the education team at the school and they do not seem to think that there is a problem.

  Trey.....your question highlights a number of big problems. First, parents must consider whether to press the district for a modified curriculum, or whether to struggle with what the other students are doing. Second, parents must consider testing and assessments "accomodations," such as additional time, notetaking, resource room, and the like. There is nothing worse than a school distrtict engaging in 'social" promotion of students. You want genuine assessments to know where your son really is, because otherwise, you cannot possibly devise an appropriate plan of action.
Comment From Tanya

My son is in his transitional years what should we make sure we keep in our IEP that will best benefit him in college?

  I don't know what is in your son's IEP, so I cannot meaningfully comment on what should be continued. This is something for the review of an educational consultant that you trust. And how fortunate you are that your son is a candidate for a college experience. Having said that, the key is to retain the accomodations your son might need, such as proximate seating, additional time, use of keyboard, etc. while promoting greater independence and self sufficiency, because those are the skills that colleges will teach to and most colleges, even those with support systems, do not have the level of supports and accomodations that a good high school program might have (and yes, there are always exceptions).
Comment From Kevin

Isn't a language delay enough reason for schools to consider offering ESY under special circumstances. And what is the benchmark for regression to justify it for IEP goals

  First of all, obviously, the "language delay" needs to be sufficient to support an IEP for the "regular" part of the year. If so, the ESY analysis turns on actual or at least anticipated regression that cannot be easily recouped. What happens after school breaks or illnesses? This is both an objective and subjective analysis over which there often is plenty of disagreement.
Comment From Laurie

My Aspergers son is in high school and his day is filled with classes. I have asked for much needed help with social skills, and they are going to accommodate with one day a week for 20 min with peers inside an advisory class next year. I have also requested tuition for a 3 week overnight camp for aspergers teens during the summer that is very intense training. I am waiting for a response, but do you think I am asking too much from my school district?

  Laurie.....every school district is different. Some school districts recognize the special issues (such as social skills deficits) associated with Aspergers, and some districts think that a parent with a child with Aspergers is "lucky" and has won the lottery. On its face, I don't think that you are "asking too much." However, I think that if you don't already have them, you need to have your son assessed to evaluated the extent of his social skills deficits. Partitcularly for "transition" purposes, which include job and vocational training, your son will need to develop social skills. In fact, some autism educators might argue that for some students with autism or Aspergers, there is nothing MORE important than learning social skills.
Comment From Ramirez

Can you request to have your child changed to another school district if you are not satisfied with the services being provided in the one you are assigned to?

  Technically, you would not be "changing" your school district, however, if your school district does not have or offer the services that your child demonstrably needs, and another neighboring school district does, you can ask the IEP team to approve your child attending the neighboring district's program, and your district can pay tuition or otherwise financially adjust with the other district. There usually is a lot of resistance to these kinds of requests, but they are not at all unheard of.
Comment From Sally

What should happen in a bullying situation? Should the child doing the bullying be removed from school at least until things can be assessed.

6:53 hit one of my raw nerves with your excellent question. Last year, my office obtained the landmark "bullying" decision in the New York federal court, T.K. v. NYCDOE.
There is far too much bullying nationwide and students with disabilities are at least twice as likely to be bullied.
First thing you do is document the bullying complaint and demand an immediate investigation. The school district has an absolute duty to timely investigate and take appropriate remedial action. The removal issue is a little tricky however, The district might mediate the bullying and if that does not work, one of the actors in the drama may well be moved to another classroom.
Comment From Learn From Sam

Along lines of Sally's Comment - Some of our son's peers have commented that our Autistic Son, Sam, will "do whatever we ask him to". We talked with those kids and talked to his teacher to be on lookout for this.


  To guard against being victimized, you are doing the right thing by making inquiries such as you have made. You also might want to check out your son's facebook or other online communications to make sure that he is not communicating or responding inappropriately, and that no one is engaging in conduct that would fall under the category of "victimizing"
Comment From Jennifer

I am a mom of twin 9 yr old boys who both have autism. How do I handle the school distirct threatening to send them to differnt schools b/c they need different services?

  While it might be educationally productive to send twins to the same school, there actually is no right to a joint school placement, and if your twins actually need "different" services, it conceivably might be justifiable to send them to different schools. In other words, if the service differences are real, it may not be a "threat" but I recognize that there may be other nuances that you know that I am not aware of.
Comment From Heather

My child will be moving to a new school in the same district next year.Our Annual review will be coming up in a few short weeks.Wouldnt it be important that staff/teachers for next year would be involved in the planning of his IEP for when he attends their school?

  I think it is very responsible when the outgoing and incoming school personnel meet at the IEP for planning purposes. School districts that employ this kind of approach will likely experience fewer transition problems and the reverse is true for those school districts that do not engage is proper planning. If Ii were you I would write and request this kind of crossover at the IEP meeting.
Comment From Sally

Thank you for sharing your expertise. Its wonderful that you can help families with these tough questions. We need more people like you.

  Sally....thank YOU for participating. I appreciate your kind words and I know exactly what hurdles parents must constantly leap through to obtain appropriate services and programming. Good luck to you!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.