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Smart kids with disabilities

Kids w/ disabilities who are make good grades may be eligible for special services & accommodations. That's the good news. The bad news is that many schools are ignorant of this fact.

Jody brings up a question (in my previous blog post) which is worth taking up in a new blog post.  Her son has high functioning autism, which means that while he can make good grades, he still has issues with language, socialization, and autistic behavior.  She reports that his school refuses to provide goals or services for his language, socialization and behavior.  The school refuses to create present levels of performance for non-academic issues.  Furthermore the school is saying what goals they have do not need to be measureable.  The school thinks that the "autistic label" is sufficient to alert the teachers to the child's needs.

Jody, unfortunately your issues are far too common.  Many schools are sincerely under the mistaken belief that child who can make good grades are not "educationally" disabled and thus do not require accommodations or services.  They are wrong, since the law interprets education as including a child's need of  services in the domains of academics, language, therapies, independent functioning, socialization, emotional, and behavior.  This is just to name a few areas where a child might be eligible for services.

To answer some of Jody's other concerns:  All Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals must be measureable.  A present level of performance must cover all areas of the child's deficits - not just academics.  The autism label is not sufficient to advise teachers of the child's needs.  As someone once said, "If you have met A child with autism you have met A child with autism."  These wonderful children are unique and special and none are alike.

Finally, Jody says that she has filed a complaint against the district.  That could be an internal complaint, a state complaint, or what we call a due process complaint, I cannot be sure from Jody's comment.  She further says that mediation is scheduled.  Jody - It seems that you need some support and assistance.  There are educational advocates or special educational attorneys who could help you.  Your problems are complex enough you may need guidance in working them out with the district.

For more information go to www.flspedlaw.com and look up Special Education Law and Advocacy on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jody February 26, 2013 at 07:03 PM
We have filed district and state complaints and are working with an advocate. We are finding a special education attorney who can help us navigate through this. This is not the route we wished to go, but it seems we have no choice. Thank you for your advice and insight!
Mark S. Kamleiter, Esq. February 26, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Jody, if you need assistance in finding an attorney, email me (let me know where you are) and I will try to recommend someone who can help you. You should not have to fight for what are some very simple matters. You will find that a good special education attorney can actually make the process less adversarial rather than being more adversarial. mkamleiter@flspedlaw.com
Laura Darrow February 28, 2013 at 09:45 PM
The proclivity that some individuals have to want to protect the rights of the formalist but to deny rights to the non-conformist is virulent to equality. Once the security of the droits of the individual is broken, the chain is weakened and over time succumbs to rust, making it useless. ~ Laura Darrow
Katy March 02, 2013 at 05:05 PM
My kid is spooky smart, but has autism so he needs support to be in school. I've heard some doozies at IEP meetings ... Sped teacher: "I have kids with REAL problems." me: "Oh. Are you saying that Autism is not REAL ?" Sped Teacher: "He has to learn to be bored." me: " Yeah? Is that an IEP goal you're suggesting? Student must learn to be bored in 4 out of 5 given opportunities?"
Laura Darrow March 02, 2013 at 09:55 PM
A nice problem in neoteric culture: how to maintain enough “sameness” in behavior to permit good order and discipline, while cherishing enough “differentness” in behavior to promote both individuality and creativity. Clearly, social demands place an extraordinary burden on schools. It will take high courage and high will on our part as parents to see that individuality is not sacrificed. "The difference in winning and losing is most often... not quitting." ~ Laura

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