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Stephanie:  My son is 6 and in kindergarten (autism only classroom). His developmental pediatrician is adamant that he attend a specialized therapeutic program that runs from 1-5 each day (these are therapies not offered at the school, and are 1:1 intensive therapies). I was told today that if my son was going to be doing that then he couldn’t attend public school because public school lets out at 2:30pm (and I would need to pick my son up at 12:30pm). It may be possible to start the intensive at 1:30 but I’d still need to pick him up at 1pm. Is it true that if I put him in the Dr-recommended intensive program that he won’t be allowed to attend public school? He needs both and the Dr. is adamant (and rightly so) that he needs both the social/academic school program and the 1:1 intensive if he’s going to make real progress over the next couple of years. Thank you for your help!

  1. When my son transitioned back to the school district from his private program, he attended kindergarten in the mornings and then was transported by the school district to his private program for afternoons. As the school year progressed, we increased his time at school and decreased his time at his private program. By February, he was attending kindergarten all day. All of this was decided by the ARD (IEP) Committee. I live in Texas.

  2. Stephanie –

    Does your son have an IEP or 504 plan? If so, his IEP or 504 Team can recommend that he receives a shorter day in order to access the therapeutic program.

    School day and school year lenght are routinely modified – either longer or shorter – for students with disabilities. We most commonly see this discussed under the guise of “extended school year (esy.” ), but it can certainly work in the other direction too.

    Many states offer guidance regarding shortening school days, including when it might be okay and how to document it in the IEP or 504 plan. I encourage you to research if your state has such guidance, and use what you find to craft a request to your child’s Team.

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