Aspergers Students: IEP and ARD Documents

Although these documents were prepared specifically for use during an IEP process, they will be useful to moms and dads and professionals who seek a better understanding of kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism).

Sample Letter to IEP Committee from Parents—


IEP Committee
[name of school]

Re: IEP of [name of Aspergers student]

Dear Members of the IEP Committee:

I am writing this letter to set forth the concerns/issues that we, as [name of Aspergers student] parents, would like addressed in [name of Aspergers student] annual "individualized education program" or IEP.

[Continue with some background information: the following paragraph is a sample]

[name of Aspergers student] has been in a self-contained classroom for the majority of his course work since he entered middle school ([name of Aspergers student] was also in a self-contained classroom for four years of elementary school; for further information, please see the document, attached hereto, I submitted as an Addendum to the two page document entitled "Information from Moms and dads"). His teacher in that self-contained classroom is [name of teacher] and the instructional aide in the classroom is [name of aide]. Both [name of teacher] and [name of aide] have been very willing to educate themselves on autism and its ramifications in the school setting and have made many adaptations to allow [name of Aspergers student] to succeed in school. However, [name of teacher] will be leaving [name of school] to accept a teaching position at another middle school in the [name of school district]. The fact that she will be unavailable as [name of Aspergers student] teacher in a self-contained classroom next year, coupled with the fact that [he/she] has a difficult time adjusting to change, and the fact that we are planning for his last year in middle school, we, as his moms and dads believe [name of Aspergers student] should be mainstreamed in the 96-97 school year as provided under statutory law.

The Individuals with Disabilities Act ("IDEA") provides that states receiving funding under the act must ensure that kids with disabilities are educated in the regular classroom with nondisabled kids "to the maximum extent appropriate." 20 U.S.C. Section 1412(5)(B); see also, Oberti v. Bd. of Education, 995 F.2d 1204, 1206 (1993). Federal courts have construed IDEA's mainstreaming requirements to prohibit schools from placing kids with disabilities outside of the regular classroom if educating the youngster in the regular classroom, with supplementary aids and support services, can be achieved satisfactorily. See e.g., Oberti, 995 F.2d at 1207; Greer v. Rome City School Dist., 950 F.2d 688 (11th Cir. 1991), opinion withdrawn on other points of law, 956 F.2d 1025, reinstated in part 967 F.2d 470; Daniel RR v. State Bd. of Educ., 874 F.2d 1036, 1048 (5th Cir. 1989). "The Act [IDEA] requires states to provide supplementary aids and services and to modify the regular education program when they mainstream handicapped kids." Daniel RR at 1048. The Fifth Circuit goes on to state that if the school makes no effort to take such accommodating steps, the inquiry ends, because the school is in violation of the Act's express mandate to supplement and modify regular education. Id. "If the state is providing supplementary aids and services and is modifying its regular education program, we must examine whether its efforts are sufficient. The Act does not permit states to make mere tokens gestures to accommodate handicapped Aspergers students; its requirements for modifying and supplementing regular education is broad." Id. Indeed, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit states that "the school district must consider the whole range of supplemental aids and services, including resource rooms and itinerant instruction, for which it is obligated under the Act and the regulations promulgated hereunder to make provision." Greer, 950 F.2d at 696. "We emphasize here that the school district's consideration of whether education in the regular classroom may be achieved satisfactorily with supplemental aids and services must occur prior to and during the development of the IEP." Id.

After reviewing federal law construing IDEA, I also believe the school district is required to notify moms and dads (1) that mainstreaming of Aspergers students with disabilities is required under IDEA, if such mainstreaming can be accomplished by modifying the regular education program and by providing supplementary aids and services, and (2) what supplementary aids and services and modifications it is required to provide under law. See, Greer, 950 F.2d at 698. [continue with your situation, outline any problems you have had with the school's failure to meet the law; what follows is an example] I have never received such notification from the school. However, this letter is not about placing blame on the school for its failures in the past. This letter is meant to address the future and insure that all mainstreaming issues are adequately addressed. I am attaching several documents I would like the ARD Committee to complete and to include as part of [name of Aspergers student] IEP. The first document, which is 10 pages long, is intended to:
  1. identify [name of Aspergers student] strengths and interests 
  2. identify environmental challenges faced by a student with autism spectrum disorder that may lower an autistic' student's ability to function competently 
  3. identify possible sensory challenges and risk factors faced by an autistic student 
  4. identify potential social skills that may present a problem in an educational setting 
  5. identify those behaviors that may be a personal challenge for a student with autism spectrum disorder

These forms were taken from the "Technical Assistance Manual on Autism for Kentucky Schools."

The second document I would like the committee to consider is entitled, "Specially Designed Instructions for Educators: IEP Modifications/Adaptations/Support Checklist." Again, I obtained the basic format for this document from the "Technical Assistance Manual on Autism for Kentucky Schools". However, this form has been revised to more accurately describe the modifications and adaptations necessary for a youngster who is on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. The changes are based on professional writings, most particularly the recent article by Karen Williams and a paper entitled "Tips for Teaching High Functioning People with Autism" by Susan Moreno and Carol O'Neal, both of which are attached hereto. The third is proposed goals for [name of Aspergers student] for the next IEP period.

In addition to the above, we request the following for the 1996-97 school year:

[nos. 1 through 6 are examples]
  1. That [name of Aspergers student] be mainstreamed into regular classes for every eighth grade class except math 
  2. That a circle of friends be established in [name of Aspergers student] [name of class] in conjunction and cooperation with the instructor of that course 
  3. That all of [name of Aspergers student] instructors be given a copy of the goals, modifications, special considerations, etc. prepared as part of this IEP 
  4. That both the instructional aide and [name of Aspergers student] educators in the regular classroom be allowed to consult as necessary with the special education teacher and the District's autism specialist 
  5. That education on autism be provided by the school district to the instructional aide as well as all regular instructors who teach [name of Aspergers student] 
  6. That the school provide [name of Aspergers student] with a one-on-one aide to assist him as necessary in the integrated classes

Thank you for considering our concerns and comments. We look forward to working with the school district to integrate [name of Aspergers student] into regular classes and make the transition to high school easier and more understandable for [name of Aspergers student]


[your name and address]



This is a checklist form designed for moms and dads to provide to teachers and other educators to help them understand the strengths and challenges faced by a youngster with an autism spectrum disorder. It includes sections on environmental challenges, sensory challenges, behaviors, and social skills.

Behaviors That May Be Personal Challenges for a Student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder—

Qualitative Impairments in Social Interaction:

• ____engaging in stereotypical question asking as interaction pattern
• ____impaired imitation - not engaging in simple games of childhood
• ____inability to respond to social cues
• ____inability to understand how someone else might feel
• ____inappropriate giggling or laughing
• ____inappropriate use of eye contact, avoidance or extended staring
• ____inappropriately intrusive in social situations
• ____lack of socially directed smiles when young
• ____little sense of other people's boundaries
• ____mimicking actions from TV, but not in reciprocal manner
• ____not accepting cuddling, hugging, touching unless self initiated
• ____poor use of non-verbal gestures
• ____trouble with back and forth social interactions
• ____trouble with competition, i.e., winning, losing, being first
• ____wanting and needing to be left alone at times

Restricted Repetitive & Stereotyped Patterns of Behavior, Interests & Activities:

• ____defensive to touch that isn't self initiated
• ____difficulty waiting
• ____difficulty with unstructured time
• ____excessive fearfulness of some harmless objects or situations
• ____exploring environment through licking, smelling, touching
• ____fascination with movement (spinning wheels, fans, door & drawers)
• ____history of eating problems
• ____history of sleeping problems
• ____impaired response to temperature or pain
• ____insistence on routines, resisting change
• ____lack of fear of real danger
• ____lining up and/or ordering objects
• ____negative reaction to change in environment
• ____pacing or running back and forth, round and round
• ____perfectionist, problems with correction or "mistake"
• ____repeatedly watching videos or video segments
• ____staring at patterns, lights, or shiny surfaces
• ____strong attachment to inanimate objects (strings, bottles)
• ____very sensitive to sounds (may have acted as if deaf as baby)

Qualitative Impairments in Communication:

• ____difficulty understanding abstract concepts
• ____difficulty when verbalizations are too fast
• ____difficulty with concepts that are time bound or lack concreteness
• ____difficulty with long sentences
• ____echoing what is said directly, later, or in a slightly changed way
• ____low spontaneously initiated communication
• ____problems answering questions
• ____problems getting the order of words in sentences correct
• ____problems responding to directions
• ____problems understanding jokes
• ____problems understanding multiple meaning of words
• ____problems understanding sarcasm, idioms, and figurative speech
• ____problems using speed, tone, volume appropriately
• ____problems with pronouns
• ____problems with reciprocal conversations

Learning Characteristics:

• ____ability to manipulate items better than paper-pencil abilities
• ____delayed response time
• ____good visual skills
• ____hyperactivity
• ____impulsivity
• ____needs help to problem solve
• ____over and under generalization of learning
• ____problems organizing
• ____sequential learner
• ____short attention span to some activities and not to others
• ____uneven profile of skills
• ____well developed long term memory

Observable Problem Behaviors:

• ____aggression - biting, hitting, kicking, pinching
• ____eating problems
• ____low motivation
• ____non-compliance and refusal to move, to do things
• ____screaming, yelling
• ____self-injurious behaviors - biting, hitting, pinching, banging parts of body
• ____sleeping problems
• ____temper tantrums
• ____toileting problems

Possible Motor Problems:

• ____balance
• ____clumsiness
• ____initiation - can't seem to be started in motor acts
• ____motor fatigue - tired easily
• ____motor planning - can't seem to make body do what it needs to do
• ____perceptual motor, spacing, sequencing, printing, writing
• ____stiffness
• ____strength

Some Environmental Challenges that Lower a Student's Ability to Function Competently


• ____being hungry
• ____being sick
• ____being tired
• ____being touched
• ____making a mistake
• ____not being understood
• ____not having adequate skills for job
• ____not having choices
• ____not having enough information
• ____not understanding

Major Changes-

• ____activity location changes
• ____alterations at school, work, home, community
• ____anticipating an event or activity
• ____cancellation of an event or activity
• ____family member or friend is late or not coming
• ____friend or buddy absent
• ____having to wait too long
• ____small schedule changes
• ____staff or teacher absent
• ____time changes

Environmental Confusion-

• ____being off the pace of others
• ____crowds
• ____losing things of value
• ____noise
• ____not having enough space
• ____surrounded by competing visual stimuli
• ____surrounded by too much movement


• ____being corrected
• ____being denied
• ____being ignored
• ____being interrupted
• ____being late
• ____being left out
• ____being scolded
• ____being teased
• ____fear of losing people who are valuable

Possible Sensory Challenges: Risk Factors


• ____confused about direction of sounds
• ____distracted by certain sounds
• ____fears some noises
• ____has been diagnosed with hearing problem at some time
• ____likes sounds that are constant and mask outside sounds
• ____making self-induced noises
• ____reacts to unexpected sounds


• ____arranges environment in certain ways and can tell if out of order
• ____avoids eye contact
• ____becomes excited when confronted with a variety of visual stimuli
• ____closely examines objects or hands
• ____enjoys patterns
• ____enjoys watching moving things/bright objects
• ____has been diagnosed with a visual problem
• ____has difficulty tracking
• ____has trouble with stairs, heights
• ____is distracted by some or too much visual stimuli
• ____is sensitive to light
• ____likes TV, VCR
• ____makes decisions about food, clothing, objects by sight
• ____upset by things looking different


• ____sensitive to smells
• ____explores environment by smelling
• ____ignores strong odors
• ____reacts strongly to some smells
• ____smells objects, food, people


• ____appears to have depth perception problems
• ____becomes irritated if bumped or touched by peers
• ____dislikes having hair, face, or mouth touched
• ____dislikes the feel of certain clothing
• ____doesn't like showers
• ____explores environment by touching
• ____has to know someone is going to touch ahead of time
• ____initiates hugs, cuddling
• ____is defensive about being touched
• ____is sensitive to certain clothing
• ____likes to play in water
• ____mouths objects or clothing
• ____over or under dresses for temperature
• ____prefers deep touching rather than soft
• ____refuses to touch certain things
• ____refuses to walk on certain surfaces
• ____upset by sticky, gooey hands


• ____dislikes certain foods/textures
• ____explores environment by tasting
• ____has an eating problem
• ____tastes non-edibles
• ____will only eat a small variety of foods


• ____appears clumsy, bumping into things
• ____arches back when held or moved
• ____avoids balancing activities
• ____climbs a lot and doesn't fall
• ____likes rocking, swinging, spinning
• ____moves parts of body a great deal
• ____seems fearful in space
• ____spins or whirls self around
• ____walks on toes

Perceptual/Perceptual Motor-

• ____difficulty with body in space
• ____distracted by door, cupboards being open, holes, or motion
• ____has difficulty with time perception
• ____has trouble with paper/pencil activities
• ____problems organizing materials and moving them appropriately
• ____problems with use of some tools
• ____relies on knowing location of furniture

Social Skills That May be Personal Challenges

Personal Management/Self Control-

• ____accepting correction
• ____accepting that mistakes can be fixed
• ____being prepared and organized for activities and lessons
• ____being quiet when required
• ____changing activities
• ____finishing work
• ____taking care of personal and school belongings
• ____talking when spoken to, especially if asked a question
• ____turning in assignments on time
• ____waiting
• ____working independently without bothering others

Reciprocal Interactions-

• ____asking for a favor
• ____asking for feedback, recruit praise
• ____asking for help, seek comfort
• ____asking someone to play or do an activity
• ____caring when someone is hurt or sick, not laughing
• ____complimenting
• ____gaining joint attention (point, look, talk)
• ____getting attention in specific way, raising hand, waiting
• ____greeting
• ____imitating
• ____initiating social interactions
• ____inviting others to join
• ____letting someone know that you are hurt or sick
• ____negotiating
• ____offering help, comfort
• ____playing
• ____sharing
• ____sitting and participating in group
• ____social chat
• ____taking turns

Reciprocating Social Interactions Appropriately-

• ____accepting help
• ____accepting that some things aren't possible
• ____answering questions
• ____commenting on a topic
• ____giving a reliable yes/no
• ____giving eye contact appropriately
• ____listening
• ____making a choice
• ____responding to teasing
• ____sharing other's enjoyment

Manner of Interaction-

• ____being considerate
• ____being honest
• ____being kind
• ____being polite
• ____keep a specified distance from a person
• ____looking at person talking appropriately
• ____not being a tattler
• ____not hitting, kicking, saying bad words
• ____not walking away while someone is talking

Learning Situation Specific Behaviors-

• ____at a sports event
• ____in a store
• ____in church, school, home
• ____what and where are private
• ____with authority figures
• ____with peers, no adults
• ____with strangers

Abstract Social Concepts-

• ____being good
• ____caring
• ____doing one's best
• ____fairness
• ____friendship
• ____humor
• ____kindness
• ____lying
• ____politeness
• ____timing

Group Behaviors-

• ____come when called to group
• ____stay in certain places
• ____participate with group
• ____follow group rules:

1. get out
2. pick up, clean up, straighten up
3. put away
4. talk one at a time
5. voting - majority rules
6. walk, stand still, stay to right
7. winning and losing


When these questions are answered, remember to address and analyze the Aspergers student's entire day and week across all environments to assure these motivational strategies are addressed systematically.

• Are attempts towards goals and objectives reinforced?

• Are environmental and instructional cues utilized instead of relying on constant adult verbal and physical cues?

• Are experiences shared rather than constantly instructed?

• Are familiar, acquired activities kept in the program as new ones are added?

• Are likes, interests, and strengths; questions minimized?

• Are naturally occurring reinforcers used?

• Are reciprocal social interactions reinforced and shared rather than corrected?

• Are student preferences used and attempts made to update these and use reinforcers that the Aspergers student REALLY likes?

• Are the activities useful and meaningful for the Aspergers student?

• Are the options for choice expanded through meaningful experiences and successes?

• Are the reinforcing stimuli varied, are there choices of reinforcers, and is the schedule of reinforcement varied?

• Are there cooperative experiences?

• Are typical social reinforcers (smile, pat, praise)really motivating?

• Is choice making encouraged, invited, accepted and taught?

• Is feedback provided immediately so the connection between the reinforcer and event is clear?

• Is information given so person understands; questioning developed & utilized?

• Is intrinsic motivation utilized?

• Is natural initiation encouraged and invited?

• Is reciprocal communications encouraged and is there ample opportunity?


This is a checklist form designed for moms and dads to provide to teachers and other educators. It incorporates "teaching tips" and modifications/adaptations often necessary to enable a youngster with an autism spectrum disorder to thrive and succeed in the school setting.

Specially Designed Instructions for Educators: IEP Modification/Adaptations/Support Checklist—



Communicating to the Aspergers student-

• Avoid idioms, double meanings, and sarcasm____
• Avoid using vague terms like later, maybe, "why did you do that?"____
• Be concrete and specific____
• If necessary for understanding, break tasks down into smaller steps____
• Provide accurate, prior information about change____
• Provide accurate, prior information about expectations____
• Slow down the pace____
• Specifically engage attention visually, verbally, or physically____
• Use gestures, modeling, and demonstrations with verbalization____

Encouraging Communication with the Aspergers student-

• Encourage input and choice when possible____
• Model correct format without correction____
• Pause, listen, and wait____
• Respond positively to attempts____
• Watch and listen to attempts to respond____

Social Supports-

• Build in time to watch, encourage watching and physical proximity____
• Create cooperative learning situations where _______can share his/her proficiencies____
• Establish a "buddy system" in each class____
• Focus on social process rather than end product____
• Practice on specific skills through natural activities with a few peers____
• Practice on specific skills through natural activities with one peer____
• Praise classmates when they treat _________with compassion____
• Protect the youngster from bullying and teasing____
• Structured activities with set interaction patterns and roles____
• Specific teaching, rehearsal, practicing, and modeling in natural settings of the following skills:

1. accepting answers of others____
2. accepting success of others____
3. complimenting____
4. Concentrate on changing unacceptable behaviors and ignore those that are simply "odd"____
5. following ideas of others____
6. greeting____
7. Individualize social stories giving specific situations emphasizing descriptions and perspectives____
8. inviting____
9. joining others____
10. joking and teasing____
11. negotiating____
12. responding____
13. repairing breakdowns____
14. Shared interests using interests and strengths____
15. taking the lead____
16. Teacher or school personnel advocate who will problem-solve and facilitate____
17. turn-taking____
18. waiting____

Environment and Routine-

• Allow modifications as needed to deal with sensitivity to touch issues, such as immersing hand in gooey liquid____
• Avoid surprises, prepare__________________thoroughly and in advance for special activities, altered schedules, or other changes, regardless of how minimal____
• Minimize transitions____
• Offer consistent daily routine____
• Provide a predictable and safe environment____
• Provide personal space in resource or other room for relaxation____
• Reduce distractions and sensory overloads____ noise____vision____smell____
• Talk________________through stressful situations or remove him/her from the stressful situation____

Presentation of Material-

• Presented visually____

1. calendars/maps/charts/diagrams____
2. computers____
3. demonstration____
4. objects____
5. pictured and written____
6. pictured____
7. video____
8. written____

• Consistent use of expectations____
• Divide instruction into small, sequential steps____
• Peer tutoring____
• Provide needed prompts and cues____
• Provide repeated opportunities to practice____
• Use established routines____

Assessment and Assignments-

• Allow extra time____
• Alter activity____
• Apply learning to real situations____
• Highlight text____
• Learn format ahead of time through rehearsal____
• Modify difficulty____
• Modify questions format____
• Provide choice of activity____
• Provide visual cues as a way of teaching how to summarize/write____
• Shorten____

Self Management/Behavior-

• Analyze the purpose of behavior from student perspective____
• Avoid pressure to "be good" or other abstract expectations____
• Avoid punitive measures that lower self esteem, increase anxiety, and are not understood (e.g., taking away set routines, free time, exercise, sending home, lecturing or yelling at)___
• Encourage choices and decision making where appropriate____
• Incorporate strengths and interests into daily plan____
• Individualized contract____
• Provide reinforcement that is individualized, immediate and concrete
• Teach use of timer or other visual cues____
• Translate purpose into skills to be taught____
• Avoid disciplinary actions for behaviors that are part of the disorder, i.e.:____

1. anxious____
2. avoidance of eye contact____
3. lack of "respect" for others____
4. perseverating on topic of interest____
5. repeating words or phrases____
6. slow response time____
7. talking to self____
8. upset by change____
9. upset in crowds or with noise____


• Individualized____
• More help____
• More time____
• No more than one hour per evening____
• Shortened____

Staying on Task-

• Break assignments down into small units____
• Provide frequent teacher feedback and redirection____
• Provide time in resource or special education room for completion of homework and class work____
• Sit_________next to buddy so buddy can remind_________to return to task or listen to lesson____
• If necessary, lessen homework expectations____


This document is an example of some IEP Goals.

Proposed IEP Goals—

The following sample document is a list of goals for an IEP period.



A: To Improve Communication and Socialization

1. Accept the success of peers without making negative comments.
2. Ask for help from teachers or aides when needed.
3. Attempt to learn the interests of peers.
4. Be positive in communicating with teachers and peers.
5. Be respectful of peer's opinions.
6. Compliment peers when appropriate.
7. Establish and maintain eye contact when speaking to teachers and peers.
8. Initiate discussions with peers.
9. Respond appropriately to peers in social situations.
10. Share expertise and special interests with peers.

B: To Succeed in the Regular Classroom

1. Be positive as you approach your work and new tasks.
2. Establish method by which ________________can organize and keep organized.
3. Establish method by which ______________can help himself/herself control anxiety.
4. Notify the teacher/aide if you are distracted by sensory input.
5. Notify the teacher/aide if you do not understand the material.
6. Notify the teacher/aide if you find yourself becoming overly agitated or anxious and your own efforts to control the anxiety have not been successful.
7. Participate appropriately in class.
8. Stay focused on the instruction in the classroom.
9. Understand that, though teachers and aides will attempt to let you know of potential changes in schedule, etc., there will be times when such notice cannot be given. Work on accepting change without becoming emotionally unraveled.


•    Anonymous said… 504s are legal Documents overseen by the office of civil rights and easier to get than IEPs. My son needs both but the school Refuses because they ignore anything but test scores and grades that would lose them money.
•    Anonymous said… Anyone encountering resistance like this should hire an advocate to work as their voice in these meetings. I wish I had done it far sooner than I did. An advocate speaks the language, knows the laws and will keep your child's needs always at the top of everything else. It's money you won't regret spending because of the aggravation it will save you from.
•    Anonymous said… Do NOT back down to the school! You are his voice.
•    Anonymous said… Find an advocate who knows the laws regarding IDEA ... individual with disabilities education Act .... or a lawyer .... but keep up with this fight ..dont let them step on your kids rights ... the schools seem to do this a lot ..its sad
•    Anonymous said… From what I understand, in my state anyway, is that the school will do psychological testing & decide if & what the IEP should be. If they decide he doesn't need one, & you disagree w/their decision, you can take your child to have the testing done wherever you want & the school is responsible for payment of that evaluation. They don't get to deny the diagnosis you already have, tho. Remember...you are the boss. They work for you & your son. Not the other way around! Good luck!
•    Anonymous said… I found out that some of the educators evaluating the IEP is clueless about Asperger's. I found out the counselor has zero experience in psychology. She was formerly a teacher and principle. She could not relate. She only read about the disorder and attended a conference. No experience working with these children at all. Based on test scores, they don't take it seriously. My son state test scores are in the top 10%, yet he can not stand loud noises, crowds of people, has repetitive behaviors, lack social skill, limited emotions, and more. These child have to be monitored. Yet, they will expect normal behaviors and organizational skills. Been doing this for 14 years. You may have to schedule a meeting with the Board of Education in your city.
•    Anonymous said… I have been through the same experience!!! The teachers are not the doctor and do NOT have the education OR degrees to diagnose or undiagnose
•    Anonymous said… idea 2004 says that academic and functional skills must be considered. The purpose is a) To ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living; So children with Aspergers Or High functioning Austim need sensory help, OT and social skills all of which fall under IDEA. To deny a 504 to a child with a qualifying disability is discrimination and be reported to the office of civil rights which oversees educational discrimination. If your school system can not site the reason for the denial of the IEP/504 and show it to you, then keep Pushing.
•    Anonymous said… It's a fight and shouldn't have to be. I don't understand why they can't adhere to or implement what is in the IEP. I went to the school the week before the start of my sons first day of second grade, to make sure everyone was on the same page. I ended up chewing the principal out on the first day. My son's behavioral specialist was there that day and called to tell me they had nothing in place for him and he melted down. The principal had no idea I knew this when I called and she tried to play it off as nothing happened. I immediately called for another IEP meeting. They don't like you to have more than 1 a year, but it's your right to request them. my next step is a lawyer. This school even violated HIPPA , put another child's info in my child's IEP. I could go on.... Good luck to you on this journey.
•    Anonymous said… I've never heard of not accepting a diagnosis after the childs been officially assessed, how ridiculous of them. Best thing I ever did was use a company called Advanced Behavioral Services. It was covered under my insurance and the woman that helped my son was able to come to the school and speak on his behalf and I never felt alone in this and I was always supported. I'm sure if you google you can find similar help in your area, find an advocate you don't have to do this alone.
•    Anonymous said… My son has Aspergers and I started by taking his official diagnosis documentation and scheduled and MDT meeting. When you walk in with official paperwork with a diagnosis from a psychologist who specializes in this area, they start to listen. Then you can move towards the IEP and hold the school accountable. Find out who is the special education coordinator in the school and speak directly with them if possible. There should be someone besides a counselor.
•    Anonymous said… Simple statement to school, "Your job is not to give the diagnosis. Your job is to accommodate it."
•    Anonymous said… stay strong and know that this will be a constant battle.
•    Anonymous said… The middle school rejected my son's diagnosis too. They did their own evaluation of him when I requested an IEP and claim he "showed no signs." I had him diagnosed by a private psychiatrist and they still won't accept it. They claim that because my son has no intellectual problems there is no problem,but his social skills are abysmal. UGH,the school drives me insane!
•    Anonymous said… You are 100% right about test scores. They look at test scores not the details or characteristics of Asperger's.

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Anonymous said...

I think all children are different and respond differently in each situation but me and my husband have not ever considered putting our son on meds (but he's 8... I can't tell what the future will bring us, nor am I anyone to judge) and he has high function autism, sensory process disorder (he vomits when he is scared, upset or is in an enviornment that he is not familiar with or too overwhelming) and math disorder and alot of his day is spent laughing by himself and shouts out things that do not make sense. He has also showed signs of OCD. Now that is our own personal option and its not for every child/parent and situation.

Our son has to be redirected constantly, he receives OT through the school 2tx a months and S/L 2tx a Week. He also attends outpatient therapy 2txs a week for OT and S/L and 2txs week of behavioral therapy. When in his reg. 2nd grade class (18 kids total including himself) not in his ESE (exceptional students class, 6 kids total), gets lost in himself and does not pay attention and mostly puts his head on the desk and sucks his thumb. Now, I am fortunate that I work from home and sometimes go into his class and volunteer (additions volunteer), go to lunch with him in the cafeteria, etc. as all and any parent is able to do so, special needs or not and it is always encouraged. They have special tables for parents/grandparents, etc. and children to have their lunch. I have observed other children without special needs... They cannot sit either for long periods at a time, constantly moving in their seats and some act as if they also have issues.

What we have done is keep revising his IEP as needed or every 9 weeks. He is to take breaks as he needs them, given assignments that require movements, homework is to be given by the Exceptional Students Teacher only not the reg ed teacher. You should know what your child can handle in a school setting and if it needs to be modified the school must do so. That's why the child has an IEP and it must be updated constantly but its up to you to insist and I think also having the OT, ST reports and suggestions given to the school and have it included into the IEP. Also, we have our behavior therapist go into the classroom (private pay, not through the school) and observe and give the teachers suggestions on what may help our child succeed in the class and they should work with the child in the classroom and maybe include some of the other children (for socialization). Also if your child receives OT in the school, the OT should be in the classroom and try different things to help him/her pay some attention in the class (maybe sitting on a T stool, writing on a slate board, even sitting on the floor if your child prefers). Remember its the schools responsibility also to help your child succeed in school.

Another great source is CARD. They can go into the school and see what your child needs and give you suggestions.

I know there is so much more that can be done and I myself learn as I go and try and think of new things and ask him what he likes and doesn't like, then I email the teachers, coordinator, therapist, etc and get there input and try to work together. I think that's the key..... Working all together......!!!!!


Anonymous said...


My son has a speech IEP and was diagnosed with ADHD last year but I think he is very autistic/asperger-like. His focus/inattention have worsened and I am very concerned about how he will do in middle school without resource support. His speech teacher said he no longer qualifies under speech even for social pragmatics and has been trying to dump him for a long time. The IEP team says he doesn't qualify under Other Health Impaired because his academics are strong. He also has a lot of autistic-like social deficits but not strong enough to get the diagnosis -- probably related to being a very late talker? Or maybe PDD.

My son does well academically and on tests but is a social failure at school. He misses social cues, doesn't have friends, etc. and can be in his own world.

Anyway, due to the ADHD sometimes he misses instructions in class. I check his homework daily if he misses something, I teach it to him (tutor him). Again, he is bright, he just wasn't listening. He also loses assignments in-class and teacher reported that he doesn't pay attention to where he puts things, etc. I used to go to his class every day to help get him organized. The advocate said that all my efforts constitute special education and that if he didn't have my support, he would be doing worse. He has had some struggles with reading comprehension too and was put on a learning plan in 1st grade.

His school is trying to paint the picture that he is smart (test scores and grades).

Bottom line is that he is has strong social pragmatic impairments similar to aspergers and lacks executive function/very inattentive. Going into middle school I fear the worst for him socially and in terms of paying attention, losing assignments, etc. but school is only offering a "504 Plan".

If anyone has fought this battle with the school or convinced an IEP of need for an IEP for social, emotional, executive function deficits, please share with me your strategy.

Also, I'd appreciate any thoughts on an educational setting (home, private, therapeutic, charter)

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

We are in GA, but I think everyone has to agree to discontinue the IEP. If you don't, then don't. We found an independent educational advocate very helpful as well. She attended our IEP meetings via conference call and told the county what our child needed and quoted state laws that we had no way of learning quick enough to get the IEP started. There is always a formal complaint to the state board of ed for violating your child's rights to free and public education. wrightslaw.com

Anonymous said...

Do IEP's vary from state to state? I was told my daughter is not eligible by her school counselor b/c the state won't pay so just settle for a 504. A 504 did nothing for my child so I pulled her out of school and virtual school her now. Less headaches, better grades!!

Anonymous said...

This topic is so heavy on my mind right now. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, Anxiety disorder and OCD recently. We have been fighting with his school for some minor modifications- extra time on tests and assignments (writing) as needed, occasional one on one to keep him on track, and the school system has informed me it does not matter what his disgnosis, or what the doctor's education recommendations are, we have to allow him to FAIL in his grades before they will allow him any help. We are trying the route of an IEP or even a 504 and everyone seems to get it and is on board except for the people that can do somehting about it. Has anyone else run into this much resistance for a very small modification request?

Anonymous said...

IEP's can be (and should be) very individualized. Thus, they would vary within one State.

Anonymous said...

I just attended a Montessori school sponsored seminar on Executive Function. For research supporting teaching styles that increase executive function try googling Montessori and Executive Function. Since Montessori supports "works" for students that are independent and team based from an early age - executive function tends to be higher in children with those styles of teaching.

They presented research at the seminar that covered a DIRECT link between Executive Function and math acheivement, classroom learning behaviors and engagements with other children. These studies are on children that have NOT been dx with ASD. So can you imagine how difficult it would be for an ASD child with a low executive function if non-ASD children are having difficulty?

Whether or not a child is "organized" will carry little weight in an executive function discussion. It's really more about higher order thought process that is FUNDAMENTAL for problem solving.
For example, if an ASD child needs to get a license. Do they recognize the steps/processes of getting one. Do they think they can go to the DMV and receive one without ever driving a car?

So, if I was fighting about this on an IEP, I would gather as much research as I could and then ask them how a low executive function can NOT be considered a learning disability! It will affect, not only small problem solving tasks (math), but also MAJOR life challenges like Susan discusses below (ex/ paying bills).

Good Luck at your IEP!

Anonymous said...

@Misty Smith Felde: We were told IEP's are hard to get b/c the state has to have the money to do it. ??? Its something that we have to fight for. We were told that and also the same thing you said "your child has to fail in order to get help".
On my daughters 504 it is documented and has been implemented that she receives help with note taking and longer length of time if needed. I was told also by the counselor & teacher that teacher are lazy and don't want kids w/ IEP's and give hard times getting them!!!!! There's too much paper work and behavior charts to fill out. I was so shocked when they told me this!!!! So I decided to virtual school my daughter. Besides the kids being bullies so was the teacher and I volunteered there 4 hours a day!!! :-/
2 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Yeah don't trust the school. There are other avenues. If a school is not supportive of helping with an iep you may need to get your child into a psychologist for an evaluation. I know...money.. Watch out for schools, if you don't know rights they will walk all over you. One school tried to get their hands on my son's private diagnosis records, thank god the psychiatrist informed me 'Oh no, that's illegal'. And 'don't ever give them full disclosure'. All you really should need is a diagnosis. Some places will help you. Look into autism support in your area. Sometimes an advocate will be willing to help. I had joined a center in my state that would be willing to come in.

Anonymous said...

We have talked long and hard about taking him out for virtual school after 5th grade. How is it going with her? My son had asked me to allow him to do it this year when he researched it online. After much resistance and even less support from others around us, they are finally seeing what he has to deal with on a daily basis. I'd love to hear how it's going with you and your family. We have his evaluations, full psych, test results and psychologist recommendations and dx for Aspergers, ADHD, Anxiety Dis and OCD. I did get them to agree to have a meeting this Thursday, so we'll see how things go.

Anonymous said...

I came from (Mexico City) 24 years ago. I live now in New Hampshire. I was an exchanged student
living with a family in Boston for six months. Within three months I was introduced to my husband in a blind-date and three months later we were married. It has not being easy, but I assumed that it was because we did not allow us to get to know each other longer. I also thought it could have been our different cultures he is american. He taught me how
to speak and interact with people. Something that he is not good at it. We had twin girls (now 23) and another girl (now 21) and my fourth girl (now 15). My fifteen year old girl was delayed on her speech I figured she needed speech therapy.
Which she had for two years. We stopped and move on. She went to different schools for one reason or another. Last year she was showing symptoms that led me to believe
that she was unhappy due to the fact that she had no friends and even now. A year ago I found a pouch with razor blades in her back pack, that came from pencil sharpeners and eventually she managed to scratch her left arm. Something we found out at the Doctor's office while she was getting a physical. She has this obsession for blood and knives.
I have asked my mother in law if she might have thought that my husband could be bipolar, add or autistic. She said "NO, at all". Cecelia got stung my a bee on October 1 and developed a rash I brought her back to the doctor's office. The Pediatrician asked me to leave the room. Cecelia did not have scratches, but still withdrawal and quite unable to speak. Doctor send me for counseling to a psychiatrist. I spoke to her for an hour. The Phsyc.. talk to Cecelia for about 3 minutes. She told me Cecelia had PDD-NOS and needed to take 10 mg of prozac a day. Plus I have to watch her for suicidal thoughts. I confronted my husband and asked him if he had Aspergers, he got very upset. Obviously I look in the internet for answers.

I do want to help my husband and built our relationship but my daughter is my bigger concern right now. She has an IEP quote "speech therapy" She can and she does speak to me I think she need communication and life skills, for Aspergers. Which I believe my husband and Cecelia have.

Anonymous said...

I would love any advice on this subject: My son's school agreed to a meeting that I requested after they refused him a 504 or IEP after diagnosis- (to refresh: Aspergers, OCD, Anxiety disorder and ADHD) We are asking for minimal mods - extended time assignments, tests mainly. Occassional quiet area to go for testing if he cannot finish otherwise. Of course we got the "He has to be failing no matter the diagnosis". Not struggling...failing. I've read up on everything I can on IEP vs 504 and OHI. We have a meeting tomorrow and would love any suggestions anyone may have that worked for them after meeting such resistance. His evals clearly indicate a very high IQ, yet much lower academic frequency on timed testing.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat. Has to have failing grades in order to receive assistance. I find that just plain insulting. Self esteem and wanting to belong are our biggest issues. Why would I want to allow him to struggle if it can be helped!

Anonymous said...

My name is Kimberly Dunaway, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children and have been married for 12 years to my husband Thom, who is a Memphis police officer. A few weeks ago after trying to find the doctors we needed to talk with for a couple of years, we finally had our oldest son diagnosed with Aspergers with ADHD. He is having all his offical tests done this next week so we can have it all on paper.

Last week we had to pull him from school due to excessive bullying and teasing from the kids as well as the teachers. This has gone on since elementary school and we finally had enough of seeing him upset and his grades fall because of it. I have home schooled him before in the 3rd grade and his grades were where they needed to be, but now I am looking for some more ideas to help him with his social skills and focus.

There has just been so much damage done to his self esteem by the school system and I have a lot to make up for what they have done, and it is going to be tough with my daughter who is 7 in school (NT), my youngest who is 1 being at home all day with me, my husband working all afternoon and into the evening with shifting days off at a stress filled job, and me working at home as an artist, but I am determined to do it, until we all feel that he is ready to go back into a typical classroom setting in a school where I know he will be helped and can work with him correctly and not abuse him.

We are about to take on the school system we just took him out of as well, since we are physically able to prove that several teachers were out to just see him medicated or out of their hair. They wrote false information on his evaluation sheets sent to them from the doctor to help evaluate where he was. We had several teachers fill it out truthfully showing him working at a 6th grade level, but yet not meshing with his peers, seeming sad, and having some focal problems. The other two had him as an augmentative, non verbal, very limited listening with very limited writing skills and math skills who was working on a 4th grade level. They contradicted themselves on questions, picked and chose which questions they wanted to answer, even went as far as to strike out parts of questions and changed them to fit their agendas. One even asked us in a meeting if we have had him tested to see if he needed medication. They are not allowed to do that, we now know. The principal let us know that he was very disturbed by this and would be addressing the issue even though we were pulling our son from school he said it would be done as it was not ethical or right.

So here we are at a new stage in all of this starting over and any help would be fabulous! I am looking forward to speaking with others who have had the same issues and those that have solutions or ideas to help in anyway possible.

Anonymous said...

Our son had been through so much!! I feel so bad we have had him to counseling and testing since he was 4. No one would say he was autistic, I have felt he had aspergers since then. He has had an IEP as other impairment since 1 st grade . People at school have been seen dragging him down the hall, made him soil him self by yelling at him so much. And this past year I took him out of school , they were doing CPI and I didn't even know until one day he wanted to draw me a picture before we started his homework, I said no we have to do your home work. He couldn't wait he started to draw. It was two guys carring him by his wrists and ankles. I looked at his wrists and he had terrible busies and also on his ankles.
I was so mad !!!! He is now 11 and has signs of PTSD at school and at some times depending where we go. He does strange things when we get ready to go places and says he is afraid of some people. How can I help him. We just started at CMH, because I lost my job the school was calling my work and it was the only job for our family. Now we have no insurance and I have no job. I hope it is a blessing in disquise.

Mark Hutten, M.A. said...

RE: How have you seen aids interact in the classroom and outside the classroom (lunch and recess)?

Here are just a few ways: Good assistants will be spending a lot of time teaching social skills to the Aspergers student during non-class time. Also, they try to (a) keep social interactions with peers short with specific goals in mind and (b) be there to mediate and repair the interactions. They also interrupt and redirect the child when he gets self absorbed. If the child gets beyond a threshold of excitement or emotion, they remove the child to a quiet place and give him 10 to15 minutes to recompose. They try to create lots of situations where the child needs to look at them or observe another person for instruction. They reinforce the idea that others have a mind and that the child can understand that mind by observation. And they reward and praise actual accomplishment.


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