Getting Your Child's School To Take You Seriously

"My son with autism (high functioning) has really been floundering during his first year of school. He's in the 1st grade and having all kinds of run-ins with his teacher and is making mostly D's and F's so far. The teacher asserts that the problem is 'his behavior'. What can I do to control this damage before it's beyond control?"

Parents should start by speaking with their high-functioning autistic (HFA) or Aspergers youngster's teachers, school counselors, or the school's student support team to begin an evaluation. Each U.S. state has a Parent Training and Information Center and a Protection and Advocacy Agency that can help parents get an evaluation.

A team of professionals conducts the evaluation using a variety of tools and measures. The evaluation will look at all areas related to the youngster's abilities and needs.

Once the youngster has been evaluated, she has several options depending on the specific needs. If the youngster needs special education services and is eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the school district (or the government agency administering the program) must develop an individualized education plan (IEP) specifically for the youngster within 30 days. IDEA provides free screenings and early intervention services to kids from birth to age 3. IDEA also provides special education and related services from ages 3 to 21.

If the youngster is not eligible for special education services (and not all kids with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism are eligible), he can still get free public education suited to his needs, which is available to all public-school kids with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, regardless of the type or severity of the disability. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal education funds.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Here is a list of techniques that moms and dads can use to create a successful partnership with their child’s school:

1. Bring in a portfolio of your youngster’s work from home to meetings with the school to demonstrate your youngster’s overall strengths and weakness.

2. Set up the best method to communicate with the educator to share brief updates and information about your youngster’s progress.

3. Lend a helping hand in the classroom!  Be prepared to support other kids too, as this frees up more time for the educator to work directly with your youngster.

4. When registering your youngster for school, indicate in writing that he has special needs.

5. Meet with the principal to ask questions related to school safety, routines, resources and steps that will be taken to address your youngster’s special needs.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

6. Meet with the educator as soon as possible – and definitely before the first IEP meeting. Use this time to introduce yourself and share information about your youngster.

7. If needed, provide constructive feedback. Indicate what has worked best for your youngster and what hasn’t. Educators reflect daily on their practice and make changes according to their students’ success.

8. Be prepared for the IEP meeting by making sure you arrive on time and knowing what the goals of the meeting. Write down questions and concerns you have, regardless of how certain you are that you will remember them.

9. Notify the school of any outside evaluations, medical information or support services that can help school personnel continue to provide a strong educational program.

10. Create a folder of handouts, articles, written strategies, or website addresses that you believe will be useful to the education of your youngster.

Parents’ active participation in the education of their youngster is invaluable. By sharing knowledge, resources and time, you can help ensure that your "little professor" is in the best possible learning environment. Together, parents and educators of HFA and Aspergers students can create pathways to school success.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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