Discrimination.

“Just the facts, ma’am.”  That’s what Joe Friday used to say.  I’ve often thought of that when doing my daily job as a lawyer.  I get calls on cases and that’s what I want to hear.  So, in the spirit of Joe Friday, I’m going to give you “just the facts”  showing my son was discriminated against based on autism yesterday.

We live in an isolated country area.

We work in a nice suburb outside the capitol of the State of California.

The school in the town we live in goes from K-3rd grade.  Then, the children get bussed five miles further from home, suburb, city.  High school is 15 more miles yet.

Because I work closer to the City, my son attended kindergarten in the suburb where I work.  It is a private school.  He just graduated.

The school classes go no higher than kindergarten.  All children must go to a new school for first grade.

I’m looking for a school that is 1st-8th grades, integrated and close to my work.  Otherwise, I give up work and lose my ABA company, which does not have tutors for the remote location where we live.

In mid-March, we signed up for this fall’s first grade class at a nearby private Christian school.  We are on the waiting list.

As a back up plan, I called a school which is near our workplace and advertises a teacher to student ratio (12:1) for K-8 grades.  When I called, last week, it was about 3 p.m.  The director of admissions said she just returned from a field trip and would have to call me “right back”.  She got my name and number.  Before we hung up, I told her my son was autistic and going into first grade.

She did not call back.

Yesterday, I called again.

I was placed on hold for over three minutes.

Finally, the same woman picked up the phone.  In summary, this is what she said:

“I ran your circumstances past our Assistant Director, Andrea, as much as I know them, [all she knew was 1st grade and autism- that’s it] and we are unable to place your child at our school. I don’t know what school district you are in, but you should contact them, get an IEP, and you can get services for your child there but our school is not set up to accommodate children with special needs.”

(Remember, just the facts.  You all know my “reaction.” It’s the same as yours. And if you aren’t familiar with the blog and my knowledge with IEPs, I direct you to click here)

I said that I found that interesting because I was not asking the school to provide me with special services.  I already have a full-time tutor who attends class with my son to meet his needs. I was just looking for educational placement for him for first grade.

This is what she said:

“And that’s the thing. The way we teach our children, we have a lead teacher and an aide and we cannot accommodate any other adults in the classroom, as it would disrupt the other childrens’ ability to learn.”  [“emphasis added” by me].

My response was this:

“I’ll have to think things over, because you just discriminated against my child based on his disability.”

She said “OH NO, we’re not discriminating…” but that was the end of the conversation. I hung up. I’d had enough.

So, just there is.  Just the facts, my friends.  Now…

What if my son were of “other than Caucasian” descent (which he is)?  Would they say his skin color would “disrupt the other students’ ability to learn”?

What if he was visually, auditorily, or physically impaired? Would a service dog, an interpreter, or a wheelchair also disrupt the other students “ability to learn”?  Do you see how blatant discrimination is?

The students who attend this school, and schools like it all over the country, are being taught in a “sterile” environment. They interact with their fully-abled, 100 percent neurotypical “peers”.  They don’t learn about tolerance, accommodation, cooperation, acceptance, patience, and differences from the people who could teach it best.

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 77 million students (click here for that reference) in the United States schools as of October 2009.  Ten percent of those attend private schools according to this.  That’s between 5.5 and 7.7 million students that potentially could be isolated from special needs children at schools.

What kind of society does that foster?  What kind of future for our kids?  To me, that is wrong no matter what the law says.

My husband and I are lawyers.  But normally, we doemployment discrimination cases for a living not education or special needs law.  Our wonderful associate attorney, Kat, knew my heart yesterday when I was shaken.  Kat found the law supporting the concept that no one should be subjected to discrimination like this.  And once that was found, I released a letter to that school that ended like this:

You will hear from me again. It will not be in the form of a letter, however. You cannot unring the bell at this point. Discrimination has occurred. While I would not now put my son in your school, I cannot let the discrimination go. That would be a disservice to anyone else who walks in my footsteps, and stumbles upon your school as a potential viability for their child. I will not let others be treated this way.”

Someone might say they messed with the wrong autism parents.  I think they messed with the right ones.

In the scheme of things, this school will not break or make any aspect of our son’s life.  Does it matter?  Of course it does.  We could let it go.  But I won’t do that.  This one is not just for our son.  It’s for all of us.  It’s for what is right.  Every piece counts.  If I don’t fight now, when?  What do you think?

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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44 Responses to Discrimination.

  1. kcunning says:

    Before I post my super long response, I want to clarify something: do you have a current IEP for your son?

    • solodialogue says:

      Yes. And a program for ESY and a full time ABA tutor and a summer school program in place…

      • kcunning says:

        Okay.

        The truth is, not every school is set up to handle every child. My son was bussed to a school 40 minutes away. It sounds like a horrible thing, but it was honestly wonderful. They had the best staff for dealing with autistic children, and because of that, were able to mainstream him much faster.

        And when I say the best staff, the whole school was trained in how to deal with autistic kids, from the Principal to the lunch ladies. Even the office managers knew how to deal with a meltdown. As a result, they dealt with most day to day issues on their own. Had he gone to a different school (as a friend of mine insisted for his daughter), I would have gotten calls every day.

        Yes, I would have liked for him to go to a school that’s closer, so I could have gone to some of the fun after school things, and so he wouldn’t have had the long bus ride. I had to evaluate what was most important, though, and him going to the school that was best set up for him was more important.

  2. I wanted to cry reading this. I worry so much about our children and the hurt and ignorance they will face throughout their lives. I think it’s great that you (and your husband and associate) are in a position to do something about this. I say thank you.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks Deenie. I hope the court sees it that way. The law is very tricky when it comes to private schools and what they can and don’t have to do. Regardless though, for me, it’s the concept behind the refusal that is so troublesome. It fosters ignorance and by intentional omission leaves those isolated by its “choice” to exclude, empty and unknowing, which does not promote understanding and acceptance to say the least.

  3. Grace says:

    Back in March I was looking for a different summer camp placement for my son. The folks at the camp he has attended for the past three years are great, but the program itself is very crowded and ridiculously fast-paced, not to mention exorbitantly expensive. My son had a lot of difficulty last year, and I came to the conclusion that it’s just not a good fit for him.

    I found a smaller daycare right here in town that runs a less crowded, more laid back summer program. When I met with the director to tour the facility I told her up front about my son’s diagnoses. She immediately made a frowny face and started listing all the reasons she would have to kick him out because “if he has any type of behavioral issues, it’s just not fair to the other children.” I didn’t even blog about it because I was too upset. I know the hurt that you felt because I have felt it too.

    Please know that I am censoring myself here because I respect that your blog is G-rated.

    My lay-woman’s understanding of the law is that facilities such as private schools and private daycares can pull this crap because they are not subsidized with public funds. Is this incorrect? I’m not asking for legal advice, which I am well aware you cannot give, I am simply posing a general question here. I mean, it’s 2012 and there are still golf courses who discriminate against black players because they are private clubs and they can. Please clarify, oh Wise One.

    • solodialogue says:

      There is -speaking as a mom- something called public accommodation which the legal ones by whom I’m surrounded as a mom- are telling me about. And that is all I can say about that right now…

      But what I am really saying is that no matter what the law IS it ought not be to foster this kind of upbringing for the next generation no matter if it is public or private. Discrimination is ugly in my world. I don’t condone it whether the states or the federal government do or not- in any setting. Free association privately is great – yay for that right to choose but when it comes to education public or private, I feel the lines need to be redrawn.

      I’m so sorry for your experience- its quite a shock when it actually happens to you on a personal level. I found by self asking what century this was.

      Don’t censor yourself here!! I welcome contextually appropriate expressions of exclamation and trust me- they were rampant in my office yesterday.

    • kcunning says:

      To be fair, here’s the other side of the story:

      I worked in a special needs day care, and for every realistic parent we had, we had another who would try to downplay a child’s needs. They would leave out the violent episodes, the screaming fits, banging the head on the wall, the lack of communication. They would try to get them into normal day cares (because they were cheaper, and because they had longer hours), and they would get booted, over and over again, until they ended up with us. We’d get the full story out of them, but only because we were experts at it. Most people aren’t.

      Some parents are honest. Some are liars. You don’t know which is which until you’ve already agreed to take on the responsibility of their child.

      • solodialogue says:

        Yes I would agree that not every school can handle our children’s needs. Shall we just accept that and walk away to find one that does? Yes. For our child we should and I know that part.

        This school would not ever come up as one for us again. But is that okay? Let them raise their NT in their sterile environment because that is how they choose to?

        That is my point. I love my child. I will find an appropriate school for him. But when he grows up and goes for a job, I can’t find that for him. And when he enters that workforce so will those kids who were attending that school and never met an autistic person and don’t feel comfortable being around someone quirky to work with.

        Yes there are laws to protect us from workplace discrimination. That’s what our firm does. But the discrimination that happens is borne of ignorance. If I don’t work at a very early manifestation of ignorance- to change it to understanding – to open eyes- then I’m going to keep having just as many cases of discrimination as we see now. Reducing it requires effort. It may seem like so little to you, but it is something. And I can guarantee you that this school will think twice now before making snap judgments made on ignorant biases when hearing the word autism.

        PS – they’ve already changed their story. Yesterday they told my husband they would love to have our son in their classroom shadowed by his tutor but “unfortunately” their classes are full.

      • kcunning says:

        Replying to my own comment, since I can’t reply to yours, solo.

        My son’s school is 98% NTs. Whenever possible, the autistic kids were mainstreamed, even if it was only for music or assemblies (all were almost completely mainstreamed by their fourth year there). In my county, every school has a special needs class. They just vary so that the specialists can be gathered together.

        It’s not about the kids. It’s about the staff. Special needs kids require a lot of special training, and heaps of experience. If a school doesn’t have the experience to deal with a child, this can only harm the child. The goal is to get the child to be completely independent and capable of living a fulfilling and self-sustaining life. To do that, you need someone that’s highly trained, not someone who read a book and took a seminar.

      • solodialogue says:

        I agree. I think you make important points about having appropriately and well trained staff to address our kids’ needs.

        Child is up and I’m off to summer school with him. Will respond further when I can.

      • solodialogue says:

        I think your focus and mine are different. If I am hearing you, you may be concerned that I am not focusing on meeting my son’s special needs because I told the woman that I was just looking for “educational placement”. You see, at that point, I’d already realized how inappropriate and ignorant her comments were. I was responding to see what she would say next.

        I’m not ever just looking for educational placement. In fact, I wanted to check out her school before ever choosing to send my son there. They advertise to call for an observation and meeting to determine whether the school is a fit for everyone.

        But she had no intent on doing that from the moment she heard the word autism.

        Now, on the one hand one could commend her for honestly stating they are ill equipped to handle special needs children. Is that okay? To me, no it is not.

        As I see your perspective, you accept that some schools just do not have the training to “take our kids on” as students. I know that even the ones that profess they do have that training often do not have more than a few courses. That is our experience with the school in our town.

        If there was truly a good autism expert in a school around here, I would drive him to it no matter where it was located. But there isn’t one that I’m aware of. an I do want him fully integrated. That worked this year with his tutor. He was the only non NT in his class but he flourished and learned from those peers.

        We are exploring other possibilities as well.

        But the broader issue I intended to address by this post is whether it is okay to hear the word autism and immediately opt out when it comes to private education. I guess you find that
        okay but I don’t. I know there are issues of funding but when you receive grants through federal funds to run your private school then you better make your choices of who you will educate based on something more than the word “autism”. That will always be wrong to me.

  4. Mom2MissK says:

    This *is* a tricky one. Private schools have the choice of children they admit — that is why they call them “private.” But blatant refusal based on so little information sounds like an unreasonable discrimination to me.

    If there is anyone out there who can get this school to see their particular folly, I know it is you. Good luck!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks Karla. I don’t want to fight a battle just for the sake of it. That is why we spent the whole day reviewing state and federal statutes and the case law that interprets them. If it was a loser, we wouldn’t bother. We’re bothering. This was wrong and the law (surprisingly) seems to support that. The question is what is the remedy? To force them not to do it? That’s not going to happen because that type of order would be impossible to police. A declaratory judgement? Maybe. Perhaps a mandatory training class for their employees… We will have to explore that more.

      I cried for my son. Until it happens, it really is just **out there** and then without hearing more than the word “autism” judgment was made. They neither considered meeting my son, asking his level of functioning, asking what the tutor does, or meeting us. Autistic? Door closed. No matter where you are public or private, that is just wrong.

  5. Mary says:

    First, Get’em!

    Second, What are the school’s plans if one of the already enrolled students is diagnosed with autism at some point? Do they kick the child out? Refund the tuition? Some kids aren’t diagnosed with autism until after they start school. My friend’s son was just diagnosed at 8yo. Please look into past cases and see what they have done. You may find that they have been discriminating against kids for years.

    Third, persons with autism have so many different levels of functioning. The school’s lack of basic knowledge about that shows that the place is a waste of money for any kid. How ignorant! That’s been my experience with the private schools around here. The public school system here provides a better learning environment and more opportunities for my kids.

    I recently found your blog through http://www.spdbloggernetwork.com/ when some posters were talking about the sleep seizures. My 9yo is diagnosed with SPD and anxiety. She has always had sleep issues. So thank you for sharing all this info online. We will be seeing a neurologist as soon as we can. Hopefully, nothing will be wrong there, but I would have never known to check if you didn’t have this blog. Our doctors are useless with sensory issues. If they don’t refer us to the neurologist (insurance crap), then we will be finding new doctors.

    • solodialogue says:

      Mary, you have excellent points. Yes, what if one of the students is diagnosed later? Or what if behaviors are subtle and the child is undiagnosed when starting school and there is no one who recognizes it? Is the child set to go through all of elementary and middle school without knowing why he/she is different and losing any potential help or intervention? There is a basic responsibility with going into the field of providing a place of education, public or private and that is to understand what affects 1 in 88 or 1 in 59 boys. Looking into past cases is important. That may come later.

      I love your point about the different levels of functioning also. Autism is a spectrum. Many of our kids have what is often referred to as an “invisible” disability. Recognition of signs by those who interact with children all day long should be mandatory.

      I cannot emphasize how important that EEG is. My son’s epilepsy was diagnosed only after the 24 hour EEG revealed the seizures in his sleep. The EEG is not an easy process to go through but relatively speaking it is one of the most important tools we’ve had. Thank you for your comments. I also highly recommend the book Autism and its Medical Management -by Michael Chez, MD. He is our neurologist and is an amazing pediatric neurologist who focuses on autism with a daughter on the spectrum as well.

  6. Teresa says:

    You are providing a gift to the school. They don’t even know what they don’t know. In my mind, that is the biggest problem.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you Teresa. That is a very interesting perspective. I like it! And I think they know now a little tiny bit of what they didn’t when they talked to me.

  7. kcunning says:

    It is okay for a school to refuse to service a child due to special needs. They’re very different from a company, who can be expected to make adjustments for a person that’s disabled. The school is taking on the responsibility of teaching that child, and must commit to doing the best job they can. I don’t speak out of ignorance on these topics: I’m an advocate for 508 compliance, and I trained for several years to be a special education teacher.

    Even in the public school system, I was not able to say ‘just send him to the school by his sitter.’ They had no autism program, and it would have been unreasonable for me to ask them to install one just for me. Instead, it was a compromise: they sent him to the best school in the county for autism.

    A special education teacher is hard to find. When I was training to be one, I had states falling over themselves to get me… when I was still an undergrad. Maryland was willing to pay my grad school tab, find me a place to live near the school, and give me a signing bonus. All they wanted was for me to stick around for five years. When I decided not to go into Special Education, I still got calls for up to two years after, to see if I had changed my mind.

    Teaching an autistic child is so much more than having an aide or a tutor nearby, especially as they get older. Jacob’s issues became more complex with every grade, and it really did take a village to get him to where he is today. Everyone that was involved with his education had to have experience with autism to be able to fully help him.

    Your best resource right now would be the public school system. Even if you don’t want him to attend public school, they often have the best knowledge of which schools are the most accommodating. If not them, the ARC might have a chapter near you: http://www.thearc.org/Page.aspx?&pid=294

    • I think this response misses the point. I understand that there are certain schools that have better resources to be able to cater to certain disabilities, but the expertise of the school at hand is not the issue here.

      The issue here is that the school took no steps to educate themselves with the particular circumstances of the case and plainly said no. The school did not know the education level of the child, that at the time the parents would provide their own tutors nor were they aware of the needs that this particular child had. The school administrator heard “autistic” and simply said “no.” There was no explanation of whether or not they had programs in place or how such a disability would be distracting to the the other children.

      Just because there are other options does not excuse this school of their behavior. This would be synonymous to not providing handicap access at a restaurant and telling someone in a wheelchair to “go to another restaurant that has wheelchair access, they probably have better food.” The fact is, it is illegal in the state of California to to discriminate against persons with disabilities if you provide a public accommodation. A school provides public accommodation (a.k.a. education for children) and thus cannot discriminate against people because of a disability.

      The fact that special education teachers are hard to come by or that their jobs are tasking is not at issues here. The issue is that schools (whether private or public) have a responsibility to the public (including those in the public that may have a disability) and if they are going to provide a service they must abide by the laws of California.

      • solodialogue says:

        Thanks Kathrine, you state it so eloquently. Your analogy is a good one. And your issue spotting with the precision of a surgeon.

        For Katie, I know you want what is best for my son. You are an amazing mom with plenty of priceless advice which I have been grateful for. I don’t disagree that our kids need what is best. My son does not just have a “tutor”. He has an ABA team of which that tutor is an integral part. There are two ABA trained tutors that alternate attending school with my son throughout the week. During school they take data, prompt him to stay on task, intervene to promote socialization and appropriate interaction with peers, facilitate response to the teachers, and report back to me daily. In weekly meetings with me, my son, all three tutors who work with my son 25 additional hours per week, a case manager who works with my son twice a week and oversees the tutors, an assistant behaviorist who oversees the case managers and sets programs and facilitates meeting IEP goals, programs are crafted and refined based upon school data on his response rates, comprehension, behaviors, socialization and language. In monthly meetings or on-call as needed, I meet with the behaviorist who is at the top of that ABA team and who is always responsive to me within 24 hours to any needs that arise.

        In addition to the tutor, I take my son to an hour of individualized speech therapy and occupational therapy per week, follow with a pediatric neurologist every 90 days, and keep in contact with the school district from which we originate as well as having 90 day progress report meetings with ARC and our case manager there. So, beyond that, the actual academic setting is what I am seeking for him. The “special ed” teachers that have been introduced to me for “autism specialization” in the public school system, have all provided their resumes to me, the latest of which took four courses at an online “university” to obtain her “autism credential”. I can understand why you were so heavily sought after when training for special education. The reality here is that the public school system here has yet to show me a program that can beat out the structure we have in place. I am open to finding a real autism specialist school. The ARC personnel I see regularly has no more knowledge of any stellar program than I do (sadly) and so this is where I’m at. I still say it is not okay to avoid our kids. As Mary said, what happens when there is an undiagnosed child at a school that has no training? Everyone who is in the field of education should be trained in autism. It’s time now for that to happen.

  8. Honestly, you are my hero! As always, an excellent, info-packed and insightful post. I think it’s horrible that they discriminated against T and couldn’t agree more with the points you raise. I love how you’re going for the principle, for the parents that may come next. Your letter to them was fantastic and if they didn’t believe they had done something wrong, they wouldn’t have been so quick to qualify, re-word and invent different excuses.

    **standing ovation**

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks my friend. Yes, you did see that they changed their story from “we can’t take your son” to “we’re full” upon hearing from my husband, who, by the way could not help but tell them that we were lawyers before the story was changed. Funny how that worked out… As you well know, battles are draining. But this one is not just personal. I feel it as a basic level for general prejudices against any type of difference, not just autism. It strike me wrong under any scenario. **bows** 😉

  9. Lisa says:

    As I read this, I felt my throat get tighter and tighter…I held it in until, well, I couldn’t. I let out such a sob/sigh of relief. First, I cannot believe that said school dismissed your inquiry. It’s ridiculous that they couldn’t even give you the courtesy of a call back when all you did was inquire about any openings for your son, a first grader, who happens to be autistic. Second, that you were treated in such a way, where your son was immediately dismissed because he has a disorder…and no other facts? Complete discrimination. he may function more appropriately than some of the other NT children in the school, for all they know. Third, I applaud you for doing your research and following through with action. I wish you success. Finally, as a mom, who knows the hurt, the ache of watching your son be discriminated against just because he processes the world slightly differently than others, I give you a hug…and a shoulder and an ear…so sorry this happened to you & T.

    • solodialogue says:

      Lisa, you so “get” me! You know, it’s funny you mention that about the functioning level because a little bee told me that another child stopped attending that school when he was diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder why… I don’t really know what “success” could be here but opening eyes to what they are doing is important. I don’t want other parents to be slapped like this. And yeah, I was shaking yesterday when I hung up. It’s not like it was the end of the world or anything but it’s still a shock when, in 2012, people react this way. I find most people will be fair and evaluate everyone based on who they are not what they “have”… Thanks for the hug, shoulder and ear – right back at you!!

  10. Broot says:

    See, a Playcentre (early childhood education centre run by parents) in New Zealand is usually not equipped to handle a child who happens to be on the spectrum, either. Playcentres tend to be loud, overstimulating, and chaotic. However, what is *supposed* to happen is that the family gets the same as everyone else – 3 free visits to see whether Playcentre is a fit for them. THEN we sit down with the family and sort out how their IEP/IDP can work with the centre they have chosen. Special needs and inclusion are a major part of our Course 4 and 5. (This is how I found you originally, Karen, because we had children at our centre on the spectrum that we wanted to make sure we were including!)
    Unfortunately, sometimes, some well-meaning parents at a centre (who usually don’t have anything more than Course 1 or 2 so haven’t done the inclusion learning) tell parents of children on the spectrum that they won’t want to come to Playcentre, for the loud, overstimulated and chaotic environment. It’s ignorance, plain and simple. They aren’t willing to accept that simple things can be done to reduce the level of chaos.
    Case in point – just recently I was facilitating a workshop, and one of the attendees mentioned that their child was special needs due to their severe allergies. The first session at which they turned up told them they could not accommodate their child. The second session (same centre!!) said “Oh yep, we can handle that – what do you need us to do?”

    It’s a question of open-mindedness and a willingness to “give it a go” as the kiwis say.

    You go, Karen!! (And I hope you find a school with that open mind and knowledge of inclusion!)

    • solodialogue says:

      Oh Broot! So wonderful to have you in on the discussion! Your logical and common sense perspective add tremendously. I can see how lesser trained individuals, while well meaning could convey potentially improper information while still being well meaning. Here, as you can see, we knocked on the door. The school cracked the door open and when they saw the word autism on the other side, they slammed it shut without looking. I like that everyone should have a chance to meet and see to determine whether it’s a “fit” not prejudge and dismiss. Your support means a lot to me. 🙂

  11. An inspirational and sad story at the same time. I guess, even though we believe we are broadminded and fair, our reaction in the moment reveals our deep down prejudices and beliefs. The “judge” inside somehow has the last word. I believe most of the world’s problems can be linked to this flaw in each one of us.

    I appreciate you for sharing this; it allows great learning.

    Shakti

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you Shakti. So true. The “judge” in some of us has the evidence presented before rendering its decision, whereas with prejudice, there is no weighing – just bias and reaction.

  12. You know that I’ve been experiencing similar issues over the course of the last year. I was told (off the record) that our biggest mistake was to acknowledge our child’s difficulties and offer the necessary supports and accommodations. Now, I know full well that without those supports, there would be absolutely no point in my child being in that classroom. She wouldn’t be able to learn effectively. I know others have made that choice though, to get into a particular school. We just couldn’t watch her struggle again.

    The best case scenario is finding a school (and teachers) where they want to know more about the challenges, and are willing to make accommodations. We’ve finally found that, but it was a struggle (we were initially refused) that we will likely face again and again.

    In addition to another point someone made about distance, when we lived in the states, Pudding was initially placed at a school 10 minutes from us. It was wrong for her, and the teacher was terrible. We switched her to a specific preschool autism class that was 45 minutes away by school bus. Not the best trip for a 3 year-old, but worth it to see her flourish there. She’ll be doing a similar commute here- it isn’t necessarily the worst thing as long as you know you’re sending your child to the right school at the end of the journey. 🙂

    • solodialogue says:

      It’s a shame that it is that way- everywhere.

      As for commute, I don’t mind it but I’m already commuting 60 miles a day round trip. I am now looking at a school mentioned privately to me on Friday that is another 10 miles further making a commute of 80 miles round trip per day. We will see what happens.

  13. Flannery says:

    This makes me so angry. Perhaps I’m an idealist, but I simply don’t see how we can live in a world where 1 in 88 kids is diagnosed on the spectrum, and there are still schools, even private ones, that do not have staff trained in working with children on the spectrum. You know, having come from Los Angeles, I am aware that every single school had staff that were bilingual in Spanish, to accommodate children from Spanish-speaking homes. Makes sense, right? But every single school or childcare provider can’t provide someone with some experience (it doesn’t have to be a certified behavior analyst, for goodness sake) in supporting kids with special needs?? This is the paradox we’re forced to live in…love our children for who they are, encourage acceptance and understanding from others, but sequester our kids away into “special” placements because, although they will smile an empathetic smile and murmur words of encouragement, they won’t actually make the effort to work with our kids.

    Please, get them. Make them an example of what’s wrong in society, and the way that kids on the spectrum are treated.

    • solodialogue says:

      The 1-88 thing gets me too. The part that makes this really discrimination as opposed to an inability to afford appropriate staff to assist is that they told me my son’s tutor would be a disruption to the other kids’ ability to learn (having never met him or knowing his level of functioning) and then when my husband called them out, (& told them we are attorneys) they told him they would let us have our tutor shadow our son in class except the class is full!!! So which lie were they settling on?!

      We don’t want this to happen to other families so we are trying to figure out an approach with an appropriate remedy. We have also been advised to contact the OCR which is the Office of Civil Rights which I had not previously heard of.

      • Flannery says:

        Well this promises to be time consuming, but it’s so important. It’s clear from the phone call that as soon as you said “autism”, the door was closed to you. Besides, there’s a real easy way to test the “classroom is full” story…all it takes is someone else to call and inquire about availability for their child. Could be someone you know. Could be someone in your office.

        I’m so tired of people being pushed aside because others don’t want to deal with them. Heaven forbid the NTs get held back from their over achievement by an autistic child, because I’m sure your son somehow hindering them from reading or learning quantum physics, right?

      • solodialogue says:

        Autism? Slam. Pretty much. And yes, test will be done…

        What’s funny is that on Saturday, my son attended a packed standing room only Weight Watchers meeting with me and was quiet as a mouse playing on his iPad the whole time! Yep. Really disruptive. Sheesh.

  14. Emotional rollercoaster for me reading this one! Sigh. Clapping for your smarts, guts, and heart. Sad for this to be happening. Brings back memories. And reminds me of what happened to me at university, and to my son at school. I still have a knot in my tum about the university. Question if I should do anything about it??? Sigh. Another great post. 🙂

    • solodialogue says:

      When this happened, I got that knot in my tum too – for my son. If it was me, personally? I don’t know – it depends on how severe it was. But this is my child, we’re talking about! So there was no question about it. Each person is different. Your situation was a very harsh one. I cannot speak for you – it would be improper to encourage or discourage you. You must go with your heart and your gut and do what is best for you. xoxo

    • solodialogue says:

      And thank you, Sam. 🙂

      • I realized after I posted the comment it sounded like I was asking your advice…I was just thinking aloud….know you aren’t in the position to say either way. 🙂 Thanks.

  15. eof737 says:

    You have grounds and should pursue it… I’m with you 100%. They better have an explanation that includes a full apology and agreement to get with the program. Good grief!!! Now I’m pissed.

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