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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Post Autistic Child Being Discharged from Special Ed

    I have an 8yr old autistic son. We are currently going through a Due Process Hearing brought by the school district to remove my child from Special Education. We live in California.

    He is very bright (IQ=119 by the School Evaluator). Behaves appropriately *AT* school and does not cause disruptions/fights.

    Socially he does not act appropriately outside of school though. We had him (my son) testify at the hearing. He was on the stand about 3hrs total. The whole time he acted completely different then he did at school. AND he testified he acted differently at school then at the hearing. He exhibited many autistic traits on the stand (ie not reading 'social cues'/reactions from others (no one prompted him to 'act normal'/behave), he didn't speak clearly, had extremely poor posture, etc. This is 100% opposite of what the School Evaluator described him as.

    At school he has testified, his older brother (3yrs older), and I've testified he does not act socially 'normal' like his non-autistic peers, and he needs training/social skills therapy in this area.

    This is why I want to keep him in the Special Education Program, so he gets this additional Occupational Therapy.

    The school's claim, and it's seems like 90% of their case, since he is so intelligent, classified as a 'gifted student', and does not cause problems, he doesn't need to be a "special education student" and require services. Whereas problems still exist socially for him. If he does something inappropriate, he doesn't care if he hurts another child's feelings, and he doesn't realize that he's hurt their feelings (a perfect example of an autistic trait).

    The school's problem in the case, is that they never provided any Social Skills training by anyone trained to treat autism (they had normal 1st-2nd grade teachers) so he's never really comprehended these things. [we have a seperate case for not providing services]

    Obviously to us (and the School Psychologist testified to) that a student with high IQ can still be autistic and need services.

    So my questions:
    1) Of course this all falls under FAPE. But where do/should I point the Admin. Law Judge, that preparing my son for life outside of school is part of their job? My son could never get a job going to an interview the way he acted in court for example.

    To me, it's obvious that an 'education' is more than academic learning, that appropriate social learning is included in 'education', but that might not be what the law is written as, if it is the 'spirit' of the law when it was written. My son isn't getting that at all. He understands the 'rules' of the school campus, but outside of the school he is different, he understands his place in the "Structure" of school, but in places not structured or unfamiliar (ie the mall, or court) he's not socially competant.

    2) Can I include public knowledge/information in my closing statement for the case that hasn't been identified by exhibits/evidence at the pre-hearing conferance? For example; notes on the public record of my school district that the judge might not know about since he lives in a different county?

    Thanks for any assistance

    P.S. Obviously, my wife and I are defending ourselves as we could not afford an attorney in this case.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Autistic Child Being Discharged from Special Ed

    You state that he is not in need of any special education services in relation to his academic performance, or in relation to his interactions with other students at school. Is there a law or regulation which you believe requires the school to provide special education services to a student who has no need for such services in relation to education?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Autistic Child Being Discharged from Special Ed

    This is going from the FAPE, the Federal ED Section 504 regulation, any person who:

    1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities
    2) has a record of such impairment
    3) is regarded as having such an impairment

    It all comes down to the definition of "what is substantitally limits" my son.

    At the moment he doesn't act, socially, appropriately outside of school in unfamiliar environments, or even with his peers at school.

    He doesn't cause disruption/fights. But he does act in such a way that he won't make friends or how to act appropriately as other non-autistic peers. He is not being educated 'appropriately' to deal with peers/people outside of school.

    For example; he has no problems showing how he 'roars like a dinosaur' to the other kids at school. But he'll do it at the drop of a hat in another kid's face in their personal space. He has no concept of the appropriateness of it. He doesn't get that part, no matter how my wife and I try to get through to him.

    Another example; back to the hearing, he slouched and was at times barely talking understandably. If he doesn't have anyone (outside of us his parents) give him any social skills training, how is he supposed to get a job once he's out of school? (That limits him to me in a "major life activity") My other 2 boys would of been able to be well-mannered and speak clearly.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Autistic Child Being Discharged from Special Ed

    You're skipping the key element - what qualification entitles the student to receive: "free appropriate public education."
    Quote Quoting Appropriate Education
    An appropriate education will include:

    1. educational services designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met;

    2. the education of each student with a disability with nondisabled students, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student with a disability;

    3. nondiscriminatory evaluation and placement procedures established to guard against misclassification or inappropriate placement of students, and a periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education or related services; and

    4. establishment of due process procedures that enable parents and guardians to receive required notices, review their child's records and challenge identification, evaluation and placement decisions and that provide for an impartial hearing with opportunity for participation by parents and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.
    From what you say, he's getting it.

    While I sympathize with your desire to get more help, such that his appropriate behavior extends to other spheres, I don't see that as being part of FAPE.

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