3 Lies Told by Some Special Education Personnel About Autism and How You Can Fight Back!

Are you concerned that your young child may have autism even though you have you been told by special education personnel that he or she doesn’t? Would you like to know 3 of the lies told by many special education personnel about this disorder? Would you also like to learn advocacy strategies to overcome these lies? This article will address 3 of the most common lies told to parents about autism!

Lie 1: Your child does not have autism, they are emotionally disturbed! This is the most common lie that I see as an educational advocate. Most children with autism do have emotional and behavioral difficulty, but this is caused by the disorder. To truly be emotionally disturbed, the child cannot have any other disability causing the behavioral difficulty; which of course is not true in this case.

The reason that this is important is because if a child has autism, they will probably need extensive related and special education services, to benefit from their education. If the school district can convince you that your child does not have autism but is emotionally disturbed, they can try and deny all of the educational, services that your child needs.

You can advocate for your child by having them tested privately, with a psychologist specifically trained in this area. Bring these results to the school district and ask that your child be found eligible for special education under the category of autism; not emotionally disturbed (if the evaluation shows that this is true).

Lie 2: Your child does not have autism because they do not have the repetitive behavior that is a symptom of autism. I hear this a lot too, especially for children that have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Aspergers Syndrome. Many of these children do not have the typical features associated with this disorder. Over the years I have had many special education personnel tell me that a certain child did not have a certain disability; without testing them. The child needs to be given an autism rating scale by a qualified professional.

The one that I recommend is the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). It is easy to fill out and to come up with a score. The higher the score is the greater chance that the child has the disorder.

There is also an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) that can be given again by a qualified trained professional. Insist that your child receive an Autism Rating Scale (CARS), or the ADOS.

Lie 3: Okay so your child has autism; but they are not eligible for special education services because the autism does not affect their education.

The federal law governing special education is IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). In 2004 the act was reauthorized, and the language stating that the child’s disability must negatively affect the child’s education, was taken out. It now states that for a child to be eligible for special education services, they must have a disability and have educational needs. No mention of disability negatively affecting the child’s education.

You should ask the special education personnel, to please show you in Federal Law where it states that special education eligibility, depends on the child’s disability negatively affecting their education. It does not exist and they will not be able to show you. As an advocacy technique keep repeating that it is your opinion that your child has autism and has educational needs. This is all that is required for a child to be found eligible.

You are the advocate for your child; stand up to special education personnel because your child is depending on you!

Compromise with Special Education Personnel? There is a Better Way!

Are you the parent of a child with autism or other disability that is
tired of receiving the run around, from special education personnel?
Have you tried compromising with school personnel, and your child is
still not receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE)? I have
great news for you, there is another way to work with school personnel
to get an appropriate education for your child. This article will
teach you about how to be assertively persistent in your fight for
your child’s education. Compromise does not work, but assertive
persistence does.

As an advocate for over 15 years I have helped many parents navigate
the special education system. I coined a phrase that describes, how
you should act in your advocacy efforts, with school personnel. I call
it assertive persistence.

Assertiveness is defined as being clear with what you are asking for,
developing concrete evidence of educational and related services that
your child needs, documenting every thing that happens, and speaking
up for your child in a respectful manner. You may think that if you
stand up to school personnel that you are not respecting “authority.”
This is not true. You can stand up to special education personnel, for
the good of your child in an “assertive” way.

Aggressiveness; which unfortunately some parents use in their dealings
with school personnel, is defined as: cussing, screaming, calling
names. You should never do these things! Years ago I heard that the
first person that starts screaming in a disagreement, loses the fight.
If you feel yourself beginning to get angry, which most parents do,
take a break to calm yourself down.

One technique that you can use in your quest to be assertively
persistent, is Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! This technique is extremely
effective in making sure that school personnel do not try and change
the subject, when you are asking for services for your child. You
could say “Please do not change the subject, we were discussing my
child’s need for ABA services, in order to benefit from his
education.” Every time the disability educator tries to change the
subject, repeat the above statement. This will keep you and school
personnel focused on your child’s need.

Another important part of being assertively persistent is to put
together documentation that verifies your child’s need for a
particular service. You could get an independent educational
evaluation (IEE) on your child, or use their district and state wide
testing.

For example: Your child with a learning disability of Dyslexia, is in
4th grade and reading at a 1st grade level. Their state wide testing
verifies this fact. At an IEP meeting, you can bring up these test
scores, and ask for remedial reading for your child. Also, make sure
that your child has not “missed” important skills for reading. No
Child Left Behind (NCLB) states that 5 skills must be learned for
early reading success. These five skills are: 1. Phonemic awareness,
2. Phonics, 3. Fluency, 4. Vocabulary, and 5. Comprehension.

Persistence is important because advocating for a particular service
may take several months. But continuing to persevere will help you win
the fight for your child.

Compromise can be seen as giving in to what school personnel want, and
not effectively advocating for your child. You can stop giving in, and
learn to be assertively persistent for the good of your child! Good
Luck!

Can Special Education Personnel Pick And Choose Services And What About Waiting Lists?

Have you been told by special education personnel that they do not provide Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy, for children with autism? Have you been told that your school district only provides certain services, due to money issues? Is your child on a waiting list for educational or related services? This article will discuss whether the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA), allows special education personnel to only provide certain services to children with a disability. Also discussed, are children put on waiting lists for related and educational services.

IDEA defines special education as: specially designed instruction at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability…

The purpose of IDEA is to provide an education that meets a child’s unique needs and prepares the child for further education, employment and independent living.

Special Education Personnel cannot pick and choose which services that they are going to offer to children with disabilities. That having been said, many school personnel do try and limit what services that they will give children. This is the reason why it is critical that you stand up to special education personnel, who may ruin your child’s life by not giving them the services that they need.

If special education personnel try and limit your child’s services, ask them to show you, under what authority they have the right to deny your child needed educational services (there isn’t any). Remember what special education is-special designed instruction to meet the unique needs of your child.

Also, consider getting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) of your child to prove what services that your child needs. The evaluator can participate in an IEP meeting by telephone, when the evaluations recommendations are discussed.

Waiting lists are also not allowed under IDEA. The difficulty is that when special education personnel state that they are putting your child on a waiting list, it sounds like it could be reasonable. It is not until you find out that waiting lists are not allowed, that you realize that you have been deceived. Always ask special education personnel to prove to you in writing, that what they are saying is the truth. If they cannot show you in writing that what they said is truthful; it probably is not.

For Example: Your 3 year old child with autism needs Applied Behavioral Analysis Treatment. The special education personnel, tells you that the class is full, and that they are waiting for additional funding for a new class. But in the mean time, your child will be put on a waiting list. Write them a letter, documenting what they said, and ask them to show you where it states in federal or state law, that they are allowed to have waiting lists (they aren’t). File for a state complaint for violation of your child’s rights.

By understanding what special education personnel can and cannot do under IDEA, helps you in your advocacy efforts for your child. Do not give up fighting for an appropriate education for your child, or their life may be forever ruined!