Wrightslaw  l  Wrightslaw Way Blog  l  IDEA 2004  l  Store  l  Yellow Pages for Kids

 Home > Press Room > Autism and IEPs: When Knowledge is Power, February 20, 2011


The Special Ed Advocate newsletter
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2018 Training Programs

Feb 8 - Oakland, CA

Apr 24 - Kansas City, MO

Apr 26 - St. Louis, MO

May 4 - Bowie, MD

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma, etc

ESSA
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

Autism Key.Com

Austim and IEPs: When Knowledge is Power

February 20, 2011
by C.A. Curie

It’s that time of year again when parents will meet with their school districts and write their Individualized Education Programs or IEPs. These are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and outline the individual educational needs for each child with special needs. My close friend, who has her Masters in Education once told me, “if every parent knew their IDEA laws, the school systems would go broke.”

Parents and caregivers of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need to be educated as an advocate in many areas of their child’s life. Picking up, reading and understanding the IDEA fundamentals from a recent copy of “Wrightslaw: Special Education Law,” will give invaluable insight for parents. There’s no excuse for being unprepared for these meetings, which will ultimately play a large role in determining a child’s functionality and success.

I recently read about a mother whose argument with her school district was related to her son’s handwriting. Her struggles to have her child use assistive technology had merit.

A recent Japanese study involving middle and high school aged children showed that children with autism, along with Tourette’s Syndrome, ADD and other co-morbid diagnoses, had substantially lower grades when forced to handwrite their assignments. The implementation of computer keyboards and typing devices raised their grades from C and D averages to A’s and B’s.

Furthermore, studies showed that by allowing these students to complete homework assignments at school and not at home, grades also increased as a result.

Parents and caregivers who come prepared to IEP meetings are a far stronger force than most realize. By law, they can never be excluded from these important decision-making meetings. Parents have the right to be heard and research before meetings take place will prove to be invaluable.

Knowing when a transfer to another school or district is allowed is extremely important. Each state has its own interpretations of how and when they are willing to transfer or contract out for appropriate services. Knowing these rules will keep parents from spinning their wheels and show school administrative teams that they are well-informed and know their child’s educational rights.

My oldest son has a 504 plan, which is not as powerful as an IEP, but certainly provides for appropriate accommodations. His 504 plan includes having no homework, the use of a keyboard instead of handwriting, allowing for quiet time and allowing for frequent healthy snacks. These stipulations can all be a mandatory part of a child’s program, but will rarely be offered. I even learned to bring in a supportive advocate at times when I knew it would be a struggle.

If the system does not provide, they must accommodate. Test scores and a specific diagnosis are the baselines for constructing a plan that will be therapeutic, stimulating and educational for a child’s special needs. The IEPs and 504 plans also offer greater protection than those of typical students.

Leverage lies within the laws and a child with special needs is entitled to as much as double and triple the tax monies as the funding for a typical child. This should put parents in a position of empowerment, not groveling. 

I moved all the way across the country to New York where my son’s IEP would finally be written to accommodate his special needs. He was then able to take advantage of New York’s five-day-a-week speech program with a speech therapist who was fully acquainted with current autism research and therapies, along with every other imaginable accommodating resource. My son went from mumbling and speechless to fully conversational in two-months. 

He also began playing board games, making eye contact, singing, dancing and most of all, was happy — all within only two months. I was completely in awe of the provisions given to my son by the state of New York. I was also in disgust of the state where I came from. 

If I had to pay out of pocket in my former state for the services he was receiving in the curricular year, it would have cost me in excess of a half-a-million dollars. Very few families have this type of money, which is why so many get deprived of services in non-friendly states. By the time my son has finished his two years of Early Intervention before starting Kindergarten in NYS, he will have received well over a million dollars worth of therapy. I did not have to beg or borrow, these services were given to my son on a silver platter.

Had we not moved, my son would not have received appropriate therapy and would have cost taxpayers anywhere between 3.7 and 77 million dollars in his lifetime, depending on the eventual long-term services he would have required such as assisted living, medical, educational, personal and other therapeutic needs.

If I wasn’t educated about the laws, I wouldn’t have known what he could and should be getting. It’s despicable and injurious that so many states allow for this. A fellow parent of a child with ASD in the state where I lived has successfully sued the school systems at least four times. Despite this fact, the schools have not changed and are still non-accommodating.

Clearly, knowledge and leaving the door open to move are essential. Keep in mind, because of the imbalance of services across the country, the state a child lives in will determine the rest of his or her life. In many cases, even just a move to another county will make the difference. In other cases, like mine, moving over 3,000 miles away did the trick. If you don’t know what your child needs and what you can and cannot ask for, in most cases they won’t tell you either. Therefore, you need to be prepared and educated.

Many head-start programs are beginning to accommodate the early intervention needs of a child with ASD. Each program is unique, and each teaches a child with ASD in different ways.

Be prepared. A child’s autism diagnosis changes lives forever and getting accommodating therapies from school systems will typically ensure that a child realizes his or her high functioning potential, which will prevent them from falling between the cracks.

Knowledge of the IEP process and IDEA laws will enable parents and caregivers to be an excellent advocate and resource for their child’s growth, future, functionality and ultimate success.

"Autism and IEPs: When Knowledge is Power " Autism Key.com

Print this page


 

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2016, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright © 1998-2017, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

Free Shipping on Orders over $35

Christmas Sale!


The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Wrightslaw on FacebookWrightslaw on TwitterWrightslaw YouTube Channel 

Wrightslaw Books
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright

About the Book

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


The Advocate's Store

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Wrightslaw Mutimedia Training Download


Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $49.95