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Every Year we have to usually get on our local school district to continue to accommodate for our son, especially when he is having a challenging time, whether it is about opening his locker to if the Gen Ed Math teacher is going to fast and he cannot keep up with the middle school pace. This is a constant theme in all the years that we have been advocating for our autistic son. We understand that school districts are short staffed and/or that he may have had a substitute today for class, but this still does not answer the underlying question of who decides when an autistic or special needs child does not need to be accommodated for anymore?
We have had a school district psychologist tell us “Well, we want to see what he can do on his own?”. So what you are really saying is, ‘well since he doesn’t ‘look’ autistic and seems to be of strong body and can walk on his own, then he’ll eventually fall in line.’ I can’t count how many times we have had to reiterate this point with school staff and our local school district, but it happens time and time again.
As your child’s advocate it is of utmost importance that you make sure your child gets the support he needs NO matter what. By law, it is in the school district’s best interest to support your child with all of the resources available to him. Some school districts are aware of what they provide, but may not even mention this to you, so in this particular case, ask them and they should be able to furnish for you all the types of accommodations that do indeed exist.
In my personal experience, while speaking to a former educator, who is now retired, we were able to acquire a list of special needs accommodations that our local school district had in their possession and unfortunately in this former educator’s 20+ year career she had never seen this list. So if you never ask about specifics, then you will never know. It also depends on the amount of staff they have available to support your child, if there are funds available, if the para-educator involved with your child’s academic needs has the training/experience and the list goes on.
The bottom line is that you, as your child’s advocate and parent decide when it is time for accommodations to stop, decrease and/or increase for that matter. Ask lots of questions at the annual IEP meetings or whenever, you have that right as your child’s parent to do so. If there is a teacher or therapist insisting upon doing away with any accommodation in particular ask him/her to provide you with a progress report showing how your child improved, when they improved and why they feel your child no longer needs a particular accommodation. If they are unable to provide valid progress or proof that your child is improving then ask for a progress report. This all depends also on the time of year the IEP meeting has taken place. If at the beginning of the year, the progress report can most certainly be attained; whereas if at the end of the year, it will most likely have to be addressed the following year.
Keep Advocating and do what is right for you child so that he or she can succeed and live life successfully, to the best of his/her ability and with the right resources.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Mandu Usoro, US Army Veteran, Experienced Homeschooler, Parent Advocate and founder of Homeschool Special Needs Tidbits, a website/weblog about homeschooling, public school education, special needs children, personal resources, and articles about educating special needs children and the tools needed for success.