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What is up with my son's school???
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What is up with my son's school???

I had to fight my son's school to test him so that he could get help in school and now that we finally have the testing done they are not doing anything to help him. He is now failing so miserably there is no way he will be able to start second grade with a good chance to suceed. I went to a parent training with the diagnosticion yesterday and she was unaware of him failing in school. She didn't realize that he wasn't doing well in class. The teacher views him as being defiant and not willing to paticipate. That is not the case at all instead he is so over whelmed that he has shut down and stopped trying.

I have had a meeting with his teacher and she says well he goes to Ms. Willete for extra help with reading. That is all they are doing for my son. Heck my other son is doing that as well and a whole group of kids go to that class for help. It is not one on one like he needs. They are not finding better ways of teaching him instead they are expecting him to keep up with the rest. He can't do that. They need to find ways to help him learn not force him to learn their way.

I am so frustrated by the school. I can't spend every moment fighting them!! I will lose my job if I have to keep missing just to get the run around at his school and the worst part is they are intending to push him along to second grade because they can not hold him back again.

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At times like this it can go one of three ways.  You find another school that has experience and expertise of teaching children with autism and aspergers.  You visit it to talk to the head teacher and ask them to describe how they would support your son in lessons and during freetime.  If you are happy with that school move him.  If he needs to fulfill some kind of criteria to get a place you complete it.  If there are no places etc you find a legal advocate who specialises in Educational Law and you get some advice on how you can get your son into that or another similar school.  That may involve you having to get private reports, which are not cheap, but are cost effective in the long run if they get you what you want for your son.
The second route is he stays at his current school and you still follow the procedure of getting legal advice on what his current school should be providing, and get private reports if necessary to demonstrate his needs and what supports he should be having.
The third option is to home school, and of course that would involve you leaving work.  But it is worth looking into to see if you would be entitled to any benefits if you took that route.
I spent over 3 years trying to make things work in my sons former school, and they just didn't want to do anything.  My son was refused entry into another school that did have experience, because they said there were no 'special need' places left.  I got him a place as a mainstream pupil in the same school and moved him anyway because I figured even if they didn't have a 'special needs' place, they were much better suited to meet his needs.  The local authority threatened me by saying that if I moved him he would be in a mainstream only class and would not receive any support.  I double checked that information and found out it was a lie.  They told me that even if there are no special need places left, by law they have to meet every pupils needs - therefore my son received a special needs place simply because of the supported he needed.  I also found out that they couldn't refuse him a mainstream pupil place under Disability Discrimination law.  I also found a solicitor who specialised in educational law.  That is when I found out that 'by law' the school has to meet his needs full stop.  So if you have a private report that says he needs x, y and z the school has to provide it.  If they don't have the staff or funds they have to apply to the educational authority and the authority has to fund it, QED.  That is in the UK, I don't know about in the USA - but find a legal advocate who has a proven track record and experience in special educational needs law and pay for a couple of hours advice at least to see what your possibilities are.
Any requests you make to school, make sure you put them in writing and keep copies of them.  Also get replies in writing eg. if they phone you and tell you something, or speak to after school and tell you something, ask them to put it in writing.  That in itself makes them sit up and take notice because they don't like to be dishing out evidence to parents that they are not supporting your child.  And always keep every single letter for years.  You will be amazed how useful they can be in the future.  You may be able to get a letter from your local GP, or whoever diagnosed him, to state that he needs a greater level of support than that being provided.  You can get them to state that he is suffering from stress and anxiety or any other behaviours he is showing that are because he is unhappy in school.  
I know you feel like you are knocking your head against a brick wall.  So get the legal advice first.  You may have to sacrifice the cost of the next two years worth of holidays, but your son being happy and settled will mean peace of mind for you and a better future for him.  Look around at other schools.  And weigh up what your options are.
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Thank you so much for your help!! I have started looking into other schools for him including some private schools. I would love to home school him but I can't not because of my job I would give up my job for my kids in a heart beat but because I do not have the patience to teach him everything that a good school would teach him. I try real hard at night just to make it through homework and have to walk away several times so that I don't get aggrevated. Please don't think I am a bad mom because of it I do treat my kids good I just don't have the patience to teach them.

The school I am leaning towards going to is a small school who only focuses on academics not sports. They do not have any sports teams because they are such a small school district and they have recieved the highest rating from TEA for academics. They have talked to me a little bit about what they will do for my son but not in detail I will meet with them again on Thursday to go into detail what they will do for him.

I am also researching a good special education advocate for my son. The doctor that diagnosed my son has written several letters to the school on what they expect them to do for my son but we haven't had luck with that. The counselor at my son's school only does what she has to and that usually isn't much. She will not go out and help because it causes work she doesn't want to do.  

I will keep you posted as we fight the school. Again thank you so much for your advice.
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If you wanted a professional to help you choose a school, then an Educational Psychologist should be able to help you with that.  They can even visit the school to see if they think it would have the right supports.
As you have said your son is finding it hard to keep up with peers academically are you sure that an academic school would be a good choice?
My son used to be in an academic school and I moved him because they couldn't change the way they taught things just for my son.  
You might find it useful to find a school that has experience and teachers with expertise in teaching those on the spectrum including aspergers.
They should be able to use different teaching approaches, and use strategies and supports in the classroom and during breaks and dinnertimes to support your son.
They should have a social skills group and also teach life skills.
You need to be able to talk with his teachers and they understand what the issues are.
I would visit a number of schools and see which one would best support him.  Try not to make decisions on the person you meet, because a teacher/head teacher can change.  You need to be looking at the school as a whole and what it can offer your son.  
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I am not sure if there are any special schools around our area. I live in such a small town that we don't have many resources. I will look it up on google and see if there are any. I will also look into a educational specialist to help us with this.

I have also started looking into private home teachers to come to our house and teach him so that we can take him out of school.
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Make sure you get advice before you make any decisions about moving schools or home schooling.
Find out if he would get access to professionals and therapies if he is home schooled.
If you do home school, try to keep doing social stuff, and get advice from a speech and language therapist (because they are also responsible for social interaction).  Sometimes those that are home schooled do not meet or mix with other children or go to clubs etc.  So get advice on that if that is your choice.
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well talk the princple to see if the school has a reading recovery teacher, I had to get ugly with the school then they finally moved him to class that had a reading recovery teacher and his reading and attitude has turned around. just keep in there it does seem pointless at times but it is your kid and you do wantthe best for him, dont worry about what the school thinks about you.
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Yes they have something like that and he is already going to the reading teacher. The problem is they will not "change up" the way they teach and he is not grasping it the way they are teaching it. They teach through Phonics  and some of the research I have done says that some Asperger children can not learn to read this way.  
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That is right.  They tend to try phonics as some children do learn this way, but many others tend to learn whole words.  That tends to tie in with their learning style ie. they prefer to see the end item and find out how it works, rather than having to learn how to put the pieces together to make the end product.  That tends to be because they cannot manipulate information learnt into other environments. Ie they find it hard to generalise learnt information into new situations and be able to 'work out' how to approach it from past experience.  They tend to learn whole things whether it is whole words, or whole situations, or memorise whole reading books or DVDs.
However, if he isn't learning phonics they should be looking at his learning styles and assessing him for dyslexia.  If he has the same difficulties with numeracy they should assess for dyscalculia.  
I was fobbed off for a long time with "children on the autistic spectrum usually have these types of difficulties".  However, since I got my private EP report and went to Tribunal, I have it written into his Statement (similar to an IEP), that he is showing consistently signs of dyslexia, and if they continue he needs to be assessed for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  If he cannot be assessed because of his other difficulties (ie. problems with speech etc), and he continues to show these difficulties we have to assume he has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  If, with the supports, approaches and strategies in his current school he does not make acceptable progress in this academic year the school has to fund the provision of a specialist Dyslexia/Dyscalculia teacher to come into school to teach him.  To get this we also had to prove that my son is of at least average intelligence, and we had to use non-verbal assessments otherwise it gives a false indication of low IQ because of his language and communication difficulties.  However with non-verbal assessments, he is assessed as being above average intelligence.  
That is why it is important to find out how the system works.  So that you can get the evidence you need so that they have to provide the supports he needs in school.
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Good news!!! I met with his diagnostician yesterday and she has really become his advocate since the last time we talked. She met with all of the staff he deals with at school and looked over his paperwork. Since he is failing so bad and not grasping phonics they will be teaching him using a different method. The name slipps my mind but I looked over what they will be doing and I really am happy with it.

Also they are pulling him from main stream and putting him in resource classes for reading, math, and any other subject he is having trouble in. He will go back to main stream classes for science/social studies, PE, and he will eat lunch with his regular class. This way he is getting one on one attention for the subjects he is not doing well in and still getting the socialization for the classes he is flying through with flying colors.

I am really happy about the change they will be making and I can see where he will come a long way in a short time with it.

Thank you for all your help!!
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Pick up the phone and call the STATE board of education and tell them you want to speak to whomever is in charge of special needs. Then tell THEM what's going on. After that, call the local district school board, then the principal. Hit the trifecta and you'll see things WILL change!

This is what I had to do and now we're getting the help he so desperately needed. HOWEVER he is already 10 and has only 1 more year left of elementary education then he's off to Jr High.

I'm seriously considering virtual school at that time.
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Good news the new learning style is in place and will be through out his remainder of 1st grade and will be that way through out 2nd grade as well.

They call it the Edmark learning style.

Anyway I have fought a hard battle but I am winning!!!
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I did a quick google about Edmark.  It looks like a visual way of reinforcing learning that is interactive and also computer based.  That might help your son make better connections and be able to tie visual information with learning, especially if he likes computer stuff.  I hope it helps, but it is definately a step in the right direct.
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i am a homeschool mom, i quit my job to do it, we looked into private schools but the only ones that would take my son were schools for disibilities, i did not want that for him
we actually have more time for social affairs because i am not fighting all night to do homework, i was room mom when he was in school and honestly his class was such a zoo there was no way he could have learned approptiate behavior from his peers, because he was seperated all day in a special ed class, at lunch and related arts, he would be sitting with his class and other students called them retards, and he went out for science and history, where he was unable to sit through boring class lessons because most of the information he had already learned, i can promise you that if you do it right, homeschooling is nothing like the pressure you experience during homework time
it looks like you are good for now, the school has responded well to your demands, but if you ever feel like you may need to pull him out, please do not feel like you cannot help your child at home, i should have pulled my son out 2 yrs ago but i was afraid to teach him at home, finally it bacame painfully obvious what i needed to do
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I'm happy to hear things are looking good. If in the future you consider putting him in a private school and you live in the US.  There are sholarships for free private school placement for special needs children. If you are in the US search your states DOE website for guidlines and qualifications.

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For the hundredth millionth time - get an advocate.  Let me say it again - GET AN ADVOCATE.  My husband is one of those big time city lawyers and he can't even keep up with the regulations.  You should see my advocates website (and no I'm not pushing her but it has a lot of the recent court doings on it) and see what is going in.

School districts are broke.  They are laying off teachers.  States have their own formulas for special ed - but it basically works like this:  for every dollar they put out they get matched.  Live in a low tax state and your kid gets screwed.  And yes there are states that tax a lot lower than others - that is why California and the Northeast are flush with services and programs (and also going bankrupt) while the rest of the country doesn't have too much to offer.  For once, being a tax loving, socialist  liberal pays off - lol.  My sister works for one of the richest districts in the country (Westchester County) and she has been ordered to try 10 interventions before she can even recomend a kid for services.  This is brand new.

Why you need private testing... well why would you want the state to test your kid...they don't have his best interest at heart ($$$$).  Your kid is going to cost your district $$$$$.  When they look at him they see $$$$$.  

My sister's best friend is a good example.  Two out of three of her kids have severe learning disabilities.  In three years a child has gone from normal intelligence down to 70.  If you met this girl there is no way she is retarded.  It is called the Matthew Effect.  when her child went down for 100 to 70 she had the right to a private test but she listened to the school district who told her that she was not allowed to test the child again (every 3 years). she spends $10000 a year on tutoring but won't set an advocate for a $500 consult.  she believes the crappy IQ tests that they give.  Her kid could have been put in a private special ed school because she was obviously deteriorating under the public school's care - and yet, she still hasn't called my advocate.  My husband's collegue just used her on so -so grounds and his daughter's very expensive school is now being paid for with pendency.  It is a game of very complicated and technical rules - and you are not given the handbook to play them.

For the last time, think of it as a small pot.  15% of the people get 85% of the resources.  It is not easily given away.  I used to spend a lot of times at schools - until my advocate showed up.  Now I spend very little time dealing with all of this stuff.  


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Her website is Susan Luger Associates - but again - this relates mostly to NY but the cases she posts are national.  It gives you a pretty good idea about how easy it is to screw up dealing with school districts.  
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"Why you need private testing... well why would you want the state to test your kid...they don't have his best interest at heart ($$$$).  Your kid is going to cost your district $$$$$.  When they look at him they see $$$$$."  


Because  only when the public school evaluates the child, Only then  a parent can disagree with the results and request a private  educational evaluation at public expence (IEE at no coast to  the parent)
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It depends on the state,  in NY the burden of proof falls on the state (not the parent).  The state has to prove that your evaluator was wrong.  If your evaluator beats them to the punch (which is usually the lWeischler and the Wyatt) then they are screwed.  They generally won't contest the findings in your hearing proceedings because the judge puts more weight on your independent evaluators.  

On the other hand, if they evaluate your kid first you get dueling psychiatrists/psychologists in your IEP hearing.  Either way, you can get a private evaluation paid for in NY without going through the school evaluator first.  You just have to make a request (and sometimes threaten an IEP hearing if they refuse).  Usually they give in as a private evaluation costs $4,000 and an IEP hearing cost them over $10,000.  

That is why advocates are so important.  A good advocate knows exactly how your state operates and how your hearing officer tends to operate.  In fact, they have been known to withdraw and reinstate a hearing in order to pull a more favorable judge.  

All I know, is that the advocates in NY tell the people never to let the school evaluate their kid.  I come from the perspective of a kid with severe problems that cannot be worked out in a public school setting.  Parents that have to actually go through IEP hearings have different issues to deal with than the majority of people on this board - we don't even deal with the schools anymore but faceless district heads, a large but forgettable IEP committee who just rubber stamps go to settlement in a minute, and then the district's lawyers only to be followed by an IEP hearing (because a signed settlement agreement means nothing if the district "forgets" to send you the money).  This is the world that about 1/2 of the parents with children who have an IEP for private placements live with.   Believe it or not, most of the special ed schools that are contracted with the NYC Department of Ed don't like getting aspies.  They don't know what to do with them because a lot of them don't have your typical learning disabilities.  These schools are set up for mostly for normal kids with reading, math or non-verbal learning disabilities (aspies need not appkly). The Asperger's kids tend to be sent off to places that cater to the cognatively deficient or the severely emotionally disturbed.

For instance, today's strategy session is having my son's IEP require that he is given a gifted curriculumn (due to his IQ scores) just so we can successfully bar the state from suggesting most of their schools that they like to warehouse the Asperger's kids in.  

Most of the parents I know through this experience don't really care much about the IEP meetings (they are just one pro forma thing that one must go through like the resolution meeting) - the real action happens in your lawyers plotting out the best strategy to make you look like the most cooperative parent that has ever lived (as you turn down all of the state's solutions) and to make the Department of Education look live the devil incarnateI.  It is truly exhausting.  

So, why do I do it.  Because I know that he would be lost without the school he goes to.  
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We do have an Advocate for my son now. That is how he was moved into Special resource class for the classes he is struggling in. She is wonderful.
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Unfortunately, advocates are the only way to go now.  Ours is wonderful too.  She keeps all of her clients up to date on the recent court rulings and everything else.  If it wasn't for her - we don't now how we would handle all of this.
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