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Autism and the School System
Many children with Autism go to public school and do just fine with some special modifications, but there are other special need categories that need much more support. People have to understand that when they have met an autistic child that they all vary and are on a spectrum. One does not define another. There are laws pertaining to kids with disabilities and here are some of the things you will need to know about Autism and school.
The Individuals With Disabilities Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Act was passed to make sure all children receive a free and appropriate public education that meets their needs. The act requires children with special needs to have special education service as long as they meet the requirements. Autism meets that requirement.
Free and Appropriate Education
This is an education that meets the special needs of your child. It is one that allows them to make progress learning.
Least Restrictive Learning Environment
This means that your child will be placed in an educational setting that is right for their special needs while allowing them to socialize with kids that do not have a disability. The school will do what it can to meet the needs of your Autistic child while keeping them in regular classrooms.
To figure out what special needs your child will need the school will evaluate your child. This evaluation can be requested by the school or the parent. If you think there is a problem write a letter to the school asking them to evaluate your child. They will send a paper home for you to sign that gives permission for the evaluation to take place. During the evaluation, your child will be tested for learning disabilities along with any mental, or behavioral problems. After the evaluation is complete the school will have a meeting with you to discuss their findings, and what can be done to help your child.
An IEP is used when a child has a need for special education services. The educational team(Psychologist, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, and Occupational Therapist as well as a local district director) and you, as the parent is part of this IEP Team as well. This makes up the team of individuals who will have a say into how the appropriate educational plan will meet your child’s educational and academic needs. An IEP will state the needs the child has for an appropriate education. They will also list the services the child is going to receive in the IEP. The IEP can be evaluated at any time if the services are not working for the child. An example of some services that might be included in an IEP are extra time when completing class work, have tests read aloud to the child, or an aide is provided for the child. Each IEP will be different for each child. The IEP will be evaluated on a yearly basis unless the parents request it sooner. The parents have the right to be at every IEP meeting held.
You are your child’s best advocate when dealing with the school system. Some schools will try to give you the runaround. They will do whatever they can to keep your child from having any special services in school. You have to be the one to stand up for your child. You are their voice. If you do not feel comfortable dealing with the school alone there are lawyers and advocates that are there to help.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Mandu Usoro, US Army Veteran, Experienced Homeschooler, Parent Advocate and is the founder of Homeschool Special Needs Tidbits, a website/weblog about homeschooling, public school education, special needs children, personal bookstore, and articles about educating special needs children and the tools needed for success.