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#AutismAwareness Individuals with Disabilities Act

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IDEA

Every child receiving special education services are covered under the Federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).  This federal law names the ways in which children who receive public education are protected and what they are entitled to for special education.  It is important to know that every state has to abide by what IDEA lays out.  However, every State is different.  The only variation allowed is if the State chooses to make principles of IDEA more stringent (ex: timelines shorter) for their individual state.
What you need to know if your child has an IEP:

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If your family moves to a new state, IDEA is clear that the services your child received in the State where they originally received Special Education services transfer across State lines.  So for example, if your family lives in Minnesota and your child receives 5 hours of resource support and 1 hour of speech therapy, when you pick up and move to New York, IDEA protects your child’s educational rights to continue to receive 5 hours of resource and 1 hour of speech therapy in their new school. This goes the same if you move within the same state too! IDEA maps out what EVERY IEP MUST HAVE ACROSS THE NATION, however, each states IEP may physically look different.

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Q: Can the receiving school change Your child’s IEP because they don’t have the same exact programs as your previous school?
A: Yes and No.  The school can absolutely NEVER make changes to your child’s IEP without a Planning and Placement team meeting (IEP meeting…every state uses different terminology too!) or without your consent.  As the Parent, you are the foremost member of a team.  If the receiving school does not offer specific programs or certain support services that existed in your former state, it becomes the responsibility of the new team (yes including you the parent) to determine what services can be provided that resemble the child’s previous IEP or if there is a different placement available within the new school district to give the child what he/she needs.  If your child had something specific like a 1:1 aide or behavioral therapist, it is absolutely imperative that the new school complies with similar recommendations.  They are legally bound under the IEP, which is a legal document, to honor the services that have already been determined are necessary for that child’s educational success.  If the school system states that they “don’t do that” or “don’t have that resource” they are out of compliance and you need to contact the school systems Director of Special Education or even the State immediately.  Always put your concerns in writing to make a paper trail documenting your concern (this includes email).
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If it is a question of hours or service delivery, use your judgement.  Go with your gut.  If you feel the school is proposing something completely irrational (i.e. cutting 5 hours down to 1) disagree with the proposed change.  Legally if there is a disagreement, the old IEP must remain until a new one is agreed upon.
If you feel the school is proposing something appropriate, again go with your gut.  For example, if the school wants to change 5 hours of pull out resource support to 2 hours pull out and 3 hours in the classroom because the resource teacher co-teaches reading this may be an acceptable service delivery alteration.  It’s not changing the service being delivered just the setting.  Just always remember: YOU CAN CALL A PPT WHENEVER YOU WANT!
Again, your parental right under IDEA is to hold a meeting whenever you want to discuss or make changes to your child’s IEP.  Team meetings may suffice too, but if it ever comes down to changes in IEP services, hours, etc. hold a PPT/IEP meeting.

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If you are ever in the situation where a new school system does not honor an IEP or attempts to remove services, you should immediately hold a PPT meeting and document your concerns or disagreement.  You always have the right to contact your State department of special education and file a formal complaint against the school district.  Should it become a legal issue, you may want to exercise your right to due process and search for educational advocates or attorneys that specialize in educational law.

Jodi L. Everone, M.S., CCC-SLP

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#Autism Awareness Month Essential Resources for Parents

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There are many free resources available to parents who may require in home assistance, advocacy support, finiancial support for their children with autism.  You need to look into your own state as this can vary from state to state.  Many state departments of education have specific websites for their special education services offered in the state.  This can be tricky because often times, services vary by town/city.  Again, you are your child’s best advocate.  Do some digging!  We all have our smart phones for a reason and if you don’t, go to your local library and get on the internet for free!  Some key words that may provide you with the help you want can include (but are not limited to):
Autism groups + state name
Department of Special Edcuation (include your state name)
Individualized Education Plan Manual (IEP) – your child’s school IEP is a legal document, KNOW what the school is really providing your child!
Parent Advocacy groups
Behavioral support
Behavioral health support for children
Department of Mental Health
Department of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities (this title may vary by state)
Funding support for autism
–again, these are just some ways to phrase searches.
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If you want assistance, you are going to have to do some digging.  Get involved with parent groups, ask your school system if they have a Special Education PTA (SEPTA), ask Birth to Three providers if they offer parent support groups, go to parent training seminars.  Get connected with other parents who have gone through or are going through the same battles as you.  Many state departments offer funding for families with children with disabilities.  Contact your school social worker as they often have the experience or contact information you may seek.
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For families in CT, it is State law that insurance companies provide medical coverage for children with autism.  Look into your medical insurance and see what is covered as far as speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy services, etc.  CT families here are some agencies or services that are available to you:

#Autism Awareness Month

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APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH

Greetings Fam!

Some of you may already know that I come from a stacked background in social services, especially as it pertains to disabilities.  (Read more in the “About QueenTheProphet top of Blog).

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Since April is Autism awareness month, for the entire month of April, I will do weekly posts surrounding educational information on Autism and other Pervasive Development Disorders (PDD) that are classified as Autism & other spectrum disorders.

WHAT IS AUTISM?

Autism is a life-long disability that prevents individuals from properly understanding what they see, hear, or otherwise sense (think 5 senses).

WANT TO UNDERSTAND AUTISM BETTER? TRY THIS EXERCISE:

For the next 5 minuets…. write down everything you hear. EVERYTHING. (Lights buzzing, heat blowing, cars, alarms, talking traffic, etc.)

Look at this list. This is how many individuals with Autism hear. They hear EVERYTHING at once. Pretend you’re a parent trying to get a child with Autism to clean their room with the TV on. They’re not ignoring you…. often they’re hearing EVERYTHING at once. Now apply this same exsample to the other senses.

PEOPLE 1st LANGUAGE:

When speaking about a person with any disability, make sure you are using People 1st Language.  ALWAYS put the person BEFORE the disability. They are a person first, not a disability. Using People 1st Language takes practice, but it’s very easy to get the hang of.

Jimmy (person)  has Autism (disability) .

Individuals (person) with disabilities (disability).

My son (person) has Autism (disability).

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If you have a story, poem, or anything related to AUTISM that you would like to see blogged on queentheprophet.com , email queentheprophet@hotmail.com put “Autism” in the subject line.

Be Blessed-

QTP