Most of you know that in the past I have been a teacher and a special educator for students who have autism. I know I have written of some of these adventures in the past, but today's adventure is to a new level of absolute stupidicy.
There are two young men (8 and 12) that I have been working with since they were very young. I know both boys well and have done extensive research into their behaviors both with previous schools, family members, and other specialists. Their mother went to their current school today to find out if the boys have been receiving their regular sensory input. One is a sensory seeker and needs calming sensory; while the other is a sensory avoider and needs wake up kind of sensory needs. Last week the school called CPS on this mother because one of her other boys rode his bike to school too early in the morning. So there is an outstanding CPS report and case that will remain open.
Taking these things into account... the mother politely approached the school today to find out what type of sensory the boys were getting and why her oldest son had not been provided with a computer for writing as stated in his IEP. She was immediately shut down and turned away as the school stated "they were uncomfortable discussing the children." After recovering from the shock and regaining my thinking mind which first went into fight or flight and I was more then willing to drive down there and give them a piece of mind... I did a bit of research. What I found out is that after a case has been called into CPS - for whatever reason and regardless of how the investigation is going - the school's involvement stops there. It was and is against the law for them to refuse to discuss the education of students with their parents.
What we know is that the school is not doing what the school agreed to do in the IEP. What we know is that the school is looking for ways to get to this family because of the fact that there are four high needs students in the family and the school doesn't have the will or the time to do the research and learning necessary to work with these types of students.
Well, you know times have changed. When I grew up these types of students went to "special schools"; the law now gives them the right to be in regular classrooms and have their needs met. For many years I disagreed with this philosophy, but since I began working with high needs kids 7 years ago and have seen the difference it makes in their lives as well as in the lives of their "neuro-typical" peers - the administration of most schools needs to get their act together and figure out how to service children with autism. The birth rate of children with autism is currently 1 in 99. More and more students are being identified with this disorder and I feel it is the school's responsibility to educate their adminstration and teaching staff on ways to help these and all students down the road toward independence... regardless of the challenges that the child faces.