High Functioning Kids and school services

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paris75007
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23 Feb 2013, 8:51 pm

Has anybody had trouble getting services for their high functioning kids? My son has PDD-NOS and is "Borderline Gifted" according to the school psych (however is IQ scores were not quite high enough to qualify for gifted services). It took them more than a year after he was diagnosed to even evaluate him (after I requested it three times)...they didn't think he needed an evaluation because in a fifteen minute observation they "couldn't distinguish him from a typically developing child"and he is performing well academically. He is not being given work on his level in math, because they are determining his math level by his ability to do timed addition and subtraction facts (documented slow processing speed and slightly delayed fine motor prevent him from doing this as fast as the other kids, even though he knows the facts front and back). In reading, he is able to read at least 2 grades levels ahead at home, yet he is not in the advanced reading group, again because of processing. He also gets in trouble on a regular basis because he doesn't react to commands fast enough. He has some social problems with the other kids, as he has been labeled among his classmates as a "bad kid" for getting into trouble when his autism DOES show. No surprise, the result of the evaluation was that he does not require services of any kind. No IEP, not even a 504 plan.

I have AS myself, and I have struggled so much in my life because of it. I graduated 13th in my class of almost 500, and have 3 college degrees, yet I struggle with employment issues because of the AS. The school doesn't seem to understand that academics isn't the only indicator of success, and that it's possible to turn out an A student who can't function in life. AS wasn't even a possible diagnosis until I was in high school, so I can't fault anyone for not catching it and getting interventions for me. But knowing that there are interventions out there for my son while he is young enough to benefit from them, and being completely unable to access them is breaking my heart.



momsparky
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24 Feb 2013, 6:22 pm

Hells, yes! Even to the point of them saying "Well, he isn't failing anything and we can't offer services unless he does." (BTW - totally illegal)

Your new "magic word" of the day is FUNCTIONAL SKILLS. Schools are required to include functional skills on ALL IEPs, and a functional skills deficit earns you services, academics notwithstanding. Some states even spell that out explicitly. Here are some links that may help you, from the most general to the most specific. (PS. Your school already broke the law - there is a time requirement to evaluating a child. You might benefit from bringing an advocate - someone from the place that diagnosed him - to the school during your next meeting.)

http://nichcy.org/top-10-most-ridiculous-comments

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/speci ... abilities/

http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=6721



paris75007
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24 Feb 2013, 8:44 pm

I 'm a teacher. I know they broke the law, they've done it numerous times...even committing FERPA violations by providing information about my son to my ex's girlfriend. I could just sue the school and go to a different district, if not for my ex who thinks everything is hunky-dory, and would never allow me to move him to a different school without a court order. So I'm stuck dealing with them. They are arguing there is no problem with his functional skills (those deficits are hard to spot if you don't know him very well), and that the advocate doesn't know what they are talking about because they don't really know my son the way someone who is in a classroom with him does. In every other district I've ever worked in, any ASD would get at least a 504 plan (I could force one if I want, but they already weren't happy that I insisted on the eval), but they want to just leave him on a SIT indefinitely, because they are doing okay with him that way. But I don't get why they don't want him to excel rather that just be "okay". At least the school psych wants to retest him for gifted in a couple of years, since the WISC is not terribly accurate on younger children. He can probably get an IEP then and in the meantime, I will continue to teach him at home on his level.



momsparky
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24 Feb 2013, 9:12 pm

How far over your team's head have you gone with the information that they broke the law? If you brought an advocate and are a teacher and have told them that you know the law, you've gone beyond where we were - when we finally caught the school red-handed they politely gave in.

You are documenting everything, right? Communicating via email and saving the emails and responses? Recording all the times he's gotten into trouble for not reacting quickly enough (if it is hearsay - just send an email to the teacher every time he reports it to you. You can add a reminder that he has a processing delay and refer to your private evaluation. Save a copy. Same for the issues with other kids.) At some point, you will have a packet of email of specific occurrences that back up your evaluation, and documentation that you told them about it repeatedly.

I'd get in touch with whoever is the next level up of special services, then work your way up the ladder to the superintendent, then the district and then your state. Usually the State Board of Education has some power of oversight on SPED and disability rights issues. Make a long paper trail, and every time there is a meeting, have all your emails printed out and stacked. A big pile of documentation hitting the table with a "thwack" makes a big impression.

Sometimes, sadly, this SPED stuff is all about who wins at being a bigger pain in the ass - you demanding services, or them stalling. I wish I'd learned that sooner than I did, because let me tell you, NOBODY can be a bigger pain in the ass than an undiagnosed adult who's spent her whole life learning to play the game. Ask my school district who won that contest.

Many states now have specific laws in place expressly to deal with high-functioning kids on the autism spectrum for precisely this reason, here's one in IL http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/pdf ... d_08-1.pdf