There are special considerations when it comes to school for autistic children. Many autistic children attend public schools and do well with some special accomadations. There are laws that deal with providing educational services to children with disabilities. Here are some of the things you will need to know about school for autistic children.
The Individuals With Disabilities Act
The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities act is to ensure that all children receive a free and appropriate public education that meets their individual needs. The act requires that special education service be provided to children with special needs who meet certain requirements. Children with autism meet those requirements.
Free and Appropriate Education
According to the law, education programs for students with disabilities such as autism and aspergers syndrome are appropriate if they are designed to meet the disabled students’ individual needs to the same extent that the needs of nondisabled students are met. An education program that is considered appropriate may include regular or special education and related aids and services to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with disabilities.
When federal funds are provided, education programs and related services must be provided free of charge to students with disabilities and their parents or guardians.
When thinking about school for autistic children it is good to know that there are laws to help ensure their needs are met.
Least Restrictive Learning Environment
Children are to be placed educational settings that are appropriate for their special needs and that allows them to socialize with children who do not have disabilities. The school will attempt to keep your autistic child in a regular classroom and do all that is necessary to meet their special needs.
The school will conduct an evaluation of your child in order to learn what special needs he or she has. Either the school or the parents can request this evaluation. If you feel that there is a problem, write a letter to ask the school to evaluate your child. The school will have for a paper for you to sign to give your permission for them to do the evaluation. As part of the evaluation, your child will be tested to determine if there are learning disabilities or mental or behavioral problems. When the evaluation has been completed, you will meet with the school to discuss what has been learned and what can be done to help your child.
An IEP (Individual Education Plan) is developed when a child needs special education services. The team that creates the IEP will include the group that evaluated the child. Parents also have input into what the IEP includes. The IEP will identify the what is needed for the child to receive an appropriate education. It will also list what services will be provided to the child. At any time when it appears that the services are not meeting the child’s needs, the IEP can be re-evaluated. Some typical services that might be provided in an IEP are giving the child extra time for completing class work, having someone read tests aloud to the child, or providing an aide for the child. Each IEP will be unique because each child is unique. The IEP will be evaluated annually unless the parents request an earlier evaluation. The parents have the right to attend every IEP meeting.
Parents are the best advocates for their autistic children when dealing with the school system. Sometimes, a school will try to give the parents a run around. It may seem that thet are trying to do everything they can to keep from giving any special services to your child. You may have to stand up for your child and insist that their needs be met. You will be their voice. And remember, there are attorneys who can help if you are uncomfortable dealing with the school alone.