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Kassie:  My son with ASD will be starting kindergarden next fall, he is currently in his second year of a great early intervention program but will age out after this year. The public school that we are in district for has an undesirable sped department and has nothing to offer my son at this point. He is on the more severe side of the spectrum and I really am wanting him to attend a local private school that is just for kids on the spectrum and related disabilities. The school has a costly tuition though and 80% of the kids that attend have their tuition paid for by their district, but in order to do so I’ve been told I need to know my rights and the “right words” to say in order for my district to agree to pay for him to go there. I have searched through this page for quite sometime looking for tips but have yet to find the “right words”. Please help!

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12/07/2016 6:15 pm

In my experience, there are no “right words” to use that will force your school district to consider a more restrictive placement for your son. Placement in an alternative educational setting is considered more restrictive than placement in, for example, a child’s neighborhood school. It is against the law for districts to place students in a more restrictive environment than what is necessary. Your district has no choice but to offer special education in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for your son’s needs. So, there are no “right words” from you that can change the district’s obligation to offer LRE.

12/07/2016 1:51 pm

Kassie, there aren’t any “right words” but there are wrong words. You should never ask for the “best” education nor an education to “maximize” your child’s potential. Your child is entitled to an “appropriate” education, not the best.

In our experience, getting a school district to pay tuition for a private special ed school is difficult. It’s more difficult if the child has not attended the public school program. You say you want a private placement because your district has an “undesirable sped dept.” That argument won’t help.

You need to consult with an attorney who has expertise in special ed litigation. I’m not suggesting that you retain an atty but consult with one or two. This will help to clarify the issues in your mind.