Can a Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Be Used by Special Education Personnel to Help My Child

Are you the parent of a young child who you believe has Autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder(PDD)? Are special education personnel in your district refusing to acknowledge this diagnosis, despite a lot of evidence? Many school districts refuse to admit that a child has autism, because they do not want to provide the special education and related services that a child needs! But this tool can be used by special education personnel to see if your child has autism.

Below are 9 things that you must know about the ADOS:

1. Purpose: Allows an accurate diagnosis of autism and pervasive developmental disorder

2. Can be used for children who are 2 years up to adulthood.

3. Takes 30-45 minutes for a qualified examiner to use this tool.

4. The person using the tool must have prior education, training, and experience in using this type of diagnostic took. They must also have extensive experience with autism and PDD!

5. The person using the tool must take a clinical training workshop, and at the end receive a certificate of completion. Be sure and check that any special education personnel using this tool, has a certificate of completion.

6. Person should have at least 8 practice sessions to make sure that they are familiar with this diagnostic tool.

7. Typically the people who are using this tool are Doctors, Clinical Psychologists, School Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Certified Occupational Therapists etc.

8. While this is not an objective test it is far from subjective. The ADOS is a schedule of observations which has been developed over several decades and has been found to be effective!

9. This tool should be used in conjunction with other rating scales, such as the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)! A full developmental history of the child, a medical history, developmental and academic evaluations, testing of adaptive functioning, and information on the child’s sensory integration function, should also be included. As well as Speech Language evaluation and Occupational Therapy evaluations if needed.

Parents can become very frustrated with school districts who refuse to acknowledge that their child has Autism! A private independent evaluator who is trained can also do the ADOS on your child, so you do not have to depend only on school district personnel. Bring any private evaluations to special education personnel and they must consider the results! Keep fighting your child is worth it!

Special Education – How to Help Your Child Excel This School Year!

Would you like to help your child that has a disability and is receiving special education services, have the best school year yet? Would you like to know about 5 things you can do, to help your child make this school year a success? This article will discuss 5 ways to help your child excel this school year.

1. Open lines of communication with special education personnel.

You can do this by:

A. Start a communication notebook; a steno pad and rubber band work well for this. When a page is finished rubber band it to the cover, that way when you open the steno book, you will come to a blank page, or a new message. Encourage disability educators to write in the book daily; what has happened, what child has learned, positive comments about behavior etc. You can also write messages about your child; sick, tired, learned something new, difficulty at home etc. By doing this you and disability educators will be able to communicate on an ongoing basis.
B. Visit your child’s classroom the first week of school; and talk to the special education staff, that are working with your child. Tell them what works for your child, what upsets them, and your willingness to work together for the benefit of your child.
C. Call your child’s teacher occasionally to check in, and see how things are going. Is your child learning, are they struggling in a certain subject?

2. Express the importance to all disability educators, of having high expectations for your child. With appropriate instruction, children with autism or other disabilities can learn academics at a similar rate to children without disabilities.

You can do this by:

A. Discussing this on your visit during the first week of school. Children will live up to our expectations; whether low or high.
B. Write a letter to your child’s teacher expressing how you believe that your child can learn academics, and are looking forward to working with the school for the benefit of your child. Include things that have worked for your child.

3. Make special education personnel accountable for your child’s learning. Some children with learning disabilities or autism, may need a multi sensory reading program, in order to be a successful reader. Stand up and ask for a change in curriculum, if your child requires it.

You can do this by:

A. Asking for pre testing at the beginning of the school year, and post testing at the end of the school year. This will tell you where your child is starting academically, and how much they have learned over the school year.
B. Discuss homework with your child’s teacher; and anything you can do at home to increase their learning.
C. Keep copies of schoolwork, positive ones and things that you think your child needs more help on. Write letters when you need to, especially if you believe that your child needs more special education services.

4. Learn about positive behavioral supports and how they are successful in increasing positive school behavior, while decreasing negative school behavior. Share the information that you learn with school personnel, and insist on the use of positive behavioral supports, rather than punishment.

You can do this by:

A. Reading a book or attending a training, that specifically promote the use of positive behavioral supports and plans.
B. Many disability organizations have information about positive behavioral supports on their Websites.

5. Tell disability educators when they are doing positive things with your child that are working. This is done for three reasons: The first reason is because teachers need to hear when things are going well, and your child is learning. The second reason is that you are documenting what is working for your child for future school years. The third reason is that if you tell school staff when you are happy, they are more likely to listen when something goes wrong, and you are not happy.

You can do this by:

A. Verbally telling school staff when you are pleased. Also write letters that will be kept as a part of your child’s school record.

By doing these 5 things you are increasing your child’s chances of having a wonderful productive school year.

Do I Have To Sign This Medical Release Form For Special Education Personnel?

Have you been asked by special education personnel to sign a consent form for release of your child’s medical records? Have you been told, that your child with autism or an emotional disorder cannot return to school, unless you sign a medical consent form? This article will discuss, whether parents must sign consent for release of medical records, to school personnel.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is silent, on parents being required to sign consent, for release of medical records. But just because IDEA is silent, does not mean that special education personnel have the right to require release of medical records. Medical records are considered private, and school personnel do not have any right to these records, unless you give them informed consent.

Many parents have trustingly released medical records, only to have school personnel, use these records against them or their child. Remember that some Doctors and nurses may not understand special education, and may say things that may be misinterpreted by school officials.

For Example: A 16 year old young man with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is in the Emergency room, because of behavioral difficulties (many children with TBI, due to there brain injuries have behavioral outbursts). He is interviewed in the Emergency room, by a doctor that is not well trained in people with TBI. The young man tells him, that he is in the hospital because he brought a gun to school. The doctor who has already spoke to the young man’s mother, knows that this is not true. Yet the Doctor still included this statement, in a medical record of the hospital visit.

The school district asked the mother to sign a blanket medical release form, which she did. (the mother did not understand that she had the right to refuse). Later when special education personnel kicked the young man out of school, and wanted to place him in an extremely restrictive residential placement, the mother found out about the hospital report. She was shocked and surprised that the statement was in the record. She was never asked by the Doctor if this statement was true or not. This record almost cost her son, his ability to live at home, though I was able to prove that it never happened.

At the end of the due process hearing, I asked the mother, what the one thing that I had taught her and she said: Do not give consent for release of medical records. Yah! She learned the right lesson!

If you are asked for copies of your child’s medical records, ask the special education personnel what authority they are basing their rights to medical records on (there is none). Also under HIPPA your child has the right to keep their medical records private.

If there is a specific record that school personnel want, and you are not opposed, this is how you should go about releasing the record. Tell the special education personnel that you will think about it, then get a copy of the record that they are interested in. When you get the record read it cover to cover. If you think, that the record contains important information, that would help your child and not hurt them, then you can consider giving them a copy of the record.

Under no circumstances should you give school personnel the right to blanket medical records. In my opinion, some special education personnel ask for these medical records, because they are looking for information to use against the child, or the parents.

By understanding the release of medical records, you will be able to protect your child’s privacy, and keep school personnel from using them against your child. Please remember your child is depending on you!