Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't get pushed around

This note is for any parent of an autistic child who meets with the child's school regularly.

We meet with our sons school on a regular basis. Unfortunately most of the meetings are at our request, and they are to hold the teachers and administrators accountable for the education of my son. If you are an administrator or teacher -please just do what you say you are going to do and then parents like me won't get involved.

It started with an IEP meeting at the beginning of the school year. It was important to us that Chandler continue his integration into his general education classroom (a process that we started last year,and he did very well with).

We were told that because he had an IEP that he could not begin the year in his general education class and that we would have a plan within the first 20 days of school to begin integration.

20 days came, and went. 30 days came and went. 45 days then came and went. Time after time we were told that he had to meet specific standards to begin integration. The problem with that is, every time he hit those milestones, they put more obstacles in his way. We called another meeting where we wanted to comb through his IEP thoroughly.

When my wife brought out the document, a teacher quickly grabbed it from her (there were five members of the staff involved in this meeting), and said; "we only need to concentrate on page 35 that is the important page."

Strange, I thought the whole document was important.

At this meeting, I demanded that we have a plan and timeline in place to integrate him into his classroom. We came up with a plan, I asked for a weekly progress report to be emailed to me (this was in December, and I have yet to receive one), and that integration was to become more frequent as time goes on.

Over the next few days, Chandler came home to tell me that his teachers were telling how much more difficult it was going to be in his general education classroom, and that he would frequently become frustrated.

Of course he was already nervous. Because of the time that was wasted in not transitioning him, friendships have already been made, kids know who they play with at recess and who they eat lunch with. He knows it's going to be a challenge - and they are not helping.

Turns out, the school benefits financially if he stays in the B.D. program - and as much as I would hate to believe that their incompetence is drive by money, I can't believe that any one group of people are that careless or stupid to hold a child back when every therapist in his life (and there are many) are telling us that he needs to integrate.

Another meeting tomorrow and Friday.

Bottom line - stand up for your child, be their advocate - you are all they have. If the school doesn't listen - speak louder - get an IEP advocate, do everything in your power. We owe it to them.

Cory Howerton


  1. Good for you for getting in the trenches and fighting it out! I have used an advocate in the past; I have demanded the autism consultant be on my son's IEP; I have fought to get an FBA done and a behavior plan put in place - all frustrating battles, but well worth the effort in the end.

    The best part is that they now know I mean business and I am not going anywhere. When I mentioned to them yesterday that he is due for a re-evaluation (which they should have realized on their own), their only response was, "We'll get the permission to evaluate form to you right away."

  2. We just don't mess around anymore. When I found out that the school benefited financially if my son stayed in the behavioral disorder program, and that was the reason that integration was not happening on the timeline we had agreed to - my head exploded.

    Nobody is looking out for my child except us. I walk him into his school everyday, and they know I am there, and not going anywhere.

    I understand that there are parents who think I overstep my bounds a bit - but if I don't stand up for him, and for what's right - nobody else will.

    Thank you for your comments.

  3. You probably already know of this but . . . just in case. This is helpful site.

    We have our first IEP meeting in three weeks to prepare for Pre-school in the fall. I am doing all my research so that I go into it well informed of the process in order to be a significant partner in our sons education. I am hopeful that the school will put forth good effort but if not I am preparing myself for the steps to take. Good luck - hope to hear more on your progress.