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Jennifer: Help! My son has an ASD diagnosis, Selective Mutism, communication and severe childhood Anxiety. Despite the letters from his previous Drs And therapist as all absences should be considered medical and mental health related issues. I just received a truancy letter. I live in CA. Isn’t there some exception for children from being marked tardy and truant with a history of school refusal?

  1. I am going through the same issue with my daughter now have to go to truancy court iep team already is aware of the issue my daughter will literally run from me down the street to get away from the car so she doesn’t have to go to school along with screaming crying

  2. I have somewhat of the same issue. I have all the right documentation for my son who has been diagnosed with asd, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, school phobia. He was diagnosed 2 years ago in 6th grade. The school reported that my son was truant and now we have to deal with the court. I don’t understand that even with the proper documentation his disability is still not recognized as school refusal vs truancy?
    I think the school should be trying to help him vs make more stress. The court denied a motion to dismiss the case and now we have to deal with probation.

    • Unfortunately, unless a parent can get the attention of the district attorney, or judge they can only try to work with the IEP team to stop future referrals to the court. Your state Disability Rights agency may be able to assist you.

  3. Hi Jennifer – Can you tell me how you went about getting your child’s ASD diagnosis? My son has Selective Mutism, separation anxiety, school anxiety too. We suspect he may have ASD/Aspergers as well based on some new challenges we are experiencing. I want to have him evaluated but not sure how to go about it. Some say you can’t have both SM and ASD, though I disagree!

    In regards to your truancy question, I’ve been battling this for 3 years now. I have yet to be hauled away or fined for it. It’s noted in his IEP he has difficulties with being on time due to his disabilities. This is also how we were awarded transportation services for our son (we live less than 1 mile so ordinarily he would not qualify). Now he’s mostly on time.

    • Yes they can have both, not all do, but when your kid is stuck on needing things a certain way and has meltdowns about it and also has selective mutism, obviously its both.

  4. I am going through this, my daughter has caused her siblings and herself to be deemed habitual truants. The school doesn’t get it and blames me. They refuse to hear what I am saying. I am also in CA.

  5. Jennifer, the answer to your question will differ from state to state, and is often from one school district to another within a state. Do a google search with these terms “truancy from school in YOURSTATE.”

    I did this search for my state, found info. Look for policies and procedures about how to educate kids who cannot attend school every day because their disabilities make school difficult or impossible. This is NOT an unusual situation so there are policies – your goal is to find them.

    I encourage your to contact your Parent Information and Training Center. Each state has at least one of these centers. Large states like CA have several. They exist to help.

    • I’m going through this with both my kids. My daughter has PTSD and Anxiety and has a 504. Mornings her anxiety hits hardest and is often late to school and there is one period where she’s so freaked out by going alone that she is often in the office. We are truant.

      My son has ASD and ADHD. He is high functioning but still transitions are very difficult for him. He becomes so overwhelmed with the stress and the work being so hard that to get him going to school is difficult. His IEP team knows this and we agreed to modify his day he attends 4 periods and does the rest in Ind. Studies. Well, he’s not independent…so this is not working out for him. Homework is difficult because he’s not retaining information so when I try to help him, it’s a struggle. Not only is he failing all his classes, but we are on our last truancy notice and will soon have to go to court. Which is going to stress him out even more. We’re in Cali and I am struggling with knowing what to do.

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