Posted by: Unworthy Bum | March 29, 2012

Parent Story

It Only Gets Better AFTER Your Child Leaves Public School

I am the mother of a 32 year old adult with Asperger Syndrome.  Without a doubt, the hardest part of his life and the life of his family was while he was in public school.  We both literally dreaded most school days.

First of all, it was nearly impossible to get a correct diagnosis.  It appears it was then and is still now almost impossible for Texas public schools to find an “educational need” to provide children with Asperger Syndrome a free and appropriate education.  When will Texas public schools ever figure out that kids with AS need to know more than academics.  Autism Spectrum Disorders create a triad of differences:  communication differences, socialization differences, and atypical behaviors. Most kids with AS can do the academic requirements.  It’s the socialization, communication and behavioral differences that keep the teacher calling the parents day after day.  I’ve always asked myself, why do they call the parent?  What can the parent do about it?  They are not at the school.

My son started out at a gifted and talented magnet school and was eventually transferred back to his neighborhood school as NOT so gifted and talented.   From the first day in school, it was evident that he was not going to fit into their system.  He was hyper, asked way too many questions, and had his own unique way of looking at the world.  His way of perceiving the world was clearly not the school’s approved way of perceiving the world.

His entire public school existence was ruled by two horrible factors: failure to find a place to fit into the school system of delivery of education, and constant bullying from his peers and some administrative and teaching staff. Years and years of dread was only punctuated by the skill and love of a competent teacher who could figure out how to teach my child while being careful not to let her bosses know that she was doing just that!

We never did find a correct diagnosis.  First he received services as “Other Health Impaired” because of ADHD.  Then there was lots of discussion about whether he met the criteria as “Emotionally Disturbed.”  Needless to say, the school never won that battle.  Then it was finally decided, after three different elementary schools and one private school placement in three different school districts, that he met the criteria of “Learning Disabled.”  Wow!  I’ll say!

We literally moved three times to find a school district who would teach my son in a way that he could learn.  Many Texas families do this every year.  We are not unique in that respect.

Today my son performs tasks in an engineering position at a major US company.  And guess what?  He’s still unique and marches to his own drummer.  The intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was to provide an  I-N-D-I-V-I-D-U-A-L-I-Z-E-D  education program to students with disabilities. This would mean that NO student should have to fit into any existing educational program.

Children with AS deserve an individualized program based on the “educational needs” of academics, socialization training, understanding how to communicate with others and how others communicate with them, and that addresses their atypical behaviors as a part of their Asperger Syndrome.

So, parents—if you survive public school, life only gets better afterwards.

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U.S. Autism rate climbs to 1 in 88.

Across the U.S. the rate in boys is 1 in 54.

In New Jersey, the rate is 1 in 49.

In New Jersey boys, the rate is 1 in 23.

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | March 29, 2012

Wut Up, Keller ISD?

This ISD continues to appear in the news.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/26/3837149/grand-jury-declines-to-indict.html – This one’s about the teacher who didn’t understand the rules about screwing teenagers. “Oh, I can’t screw ANY teenagers?” Oh well, at least he isn’t teaching there anymore. Hopefully the next school district will run a background check if they’re able to do so: https://unworthybum.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/hb-2730-allen-vaught-and-vaughts-commitment-to-district-107-neighborhood-schools/

If he can’t find work as a teacher, maybe he could get a job driving a bus for Keller ISD: http://www.kellerisd.net/studentsandfamilies/know/transportation/Pages/default.aspx. Then he’ll still be able to scope out young girls… if their families can afford to access bus service to the public school.

Things aren’t all bad in Keller. Remember Raise Your Hand Texas? Raise Your Hand Texas is in so deep with Keller ISD that they’re not just on the main website, they’re on many of the sites of individual schools as well: http://campus.kellerisd.net/schools/pes-103/Lists/Campus%20Announcements/DispForm.aspx?ID=139. As you can see, RYHT is training Keller ISD principals. If you feel that your child’s principal is advocating on behalf of the district instead of your child, that’s probably why.

And didja know Keller ISD buys smart phones for 5th graders? Well, for those 5th graders who can afford to get to school.

Representative Vicki Truitt (Keller ISD is part of her district) was recently appointed to study public school finance. Fiscal conservatives don’t like the spendy Rep. Truitt, and Empower Texans gives her a failing grade for fiscal responsibility.

And then the judge fell asleep. Read through the comments if you’d like to hear directly from Keller ISD stakeholders on how their ISD is doing with special education.

If charter schools were fully funded, if vouchers were available with 100% of the money following the child, if Texas schools would just admit when they cannot provide a free and appropriate public education to a child with disabilities and, as the IDEA states, fund that appropriate education in another setting be it public or private, well then Keller ISD may not have had to flip that bus money to scumbag private attorneys who make a living off the backs of children with disabilities. This family could say “Well that’s enough of that – we’ll be over here paying them to educate our child.” Instead Keller played Dare ya to sue us! and let a sleepy old fart decide this child’s fate. If the family leaves, the schools keep those tax dollars. There is no financial gain in finding solutions to educate this child, so why not just run him off and keep the money? Thank You for Leaving.

Edited to add that Keller ISD is in Senator Wendy Davis country. She takes a lot of money from groups that are meddling with this school district. She is now famous for her abortion filibuster. It’s a good time to ask her about all the money she is taking from Charles Butt and Bill Ratliff and to make her watch the video of that sleeping judge. Ask her what she would do if that was her child. Ask her is she really thinks it’s a good idea for the same men who control her every move to train public school principals.

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | March 25, 2012

Paying the Piper

I can’t help but think of the sad story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin each time I see a Ratliff meddling with public education.

Bennett is on the Coppell ISD school board. He also own a construction company, and he wants to be a state representative. He’s also the son of Bill Ratliff, the former Lt. Governor turned lobbyist turned Raise Your Hand Texas schemer. He’s also the brother of Thomas, Austin lobbyist who now sits on the state board of education. I really wish Muckety would make a map of this family similar to the one they made of Charlie Butt, who also mixes it up with RYHT. I almost laughed aloud when I saw Republican on this campaign sign.

“Hey guys! I know what we’ll do to keep people from saying our family is a bunch of liberals! Some of us can be Republicans and some of us can be Democrats, and then we’ll fool everybody!”

Let’s run a voucher bill past this fella and see what happens. We’ve already established based on SB1000 and HB130 that the only difference between voucher and not-a-voucher in this state is administration kickback or no administration kickback, so my bet is that the Republican guy who owns a construction company is going to find a way to not support any voucher bills.

I’m not sure who is running against Bennett or if that person is any better, but he or she would have my vote. I’m a little tired of seeing the same bunch using our kids to bait people on election day or to get kind-hearted people to allow more money to flow to public education. That money is not making it to the classroom. Let these awesome folks work, instead, to increase the ratio of money in their school districts that makes it to the classroom.

Meanwhile, I wonder how many sweet contracts Bennett’s construction company will land from all of his public education connections.

Be smart, folks. The pied piper and the rats are sometimes working in cahoots at the expense of all of our children, and it’s all about the money. The Ratliffs are a classic cautionary tale, and it’s one with many lessons, one of which is the perils and pitfalls of straight-ticket votes.

Edited to add: Here’s Thomas Ratliff of the SBOE blaming the state’s education funding woes on a parent seeking transparency in public education.

Such a good brother!

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | March 25, 2012

Just a Link

Texas public school bans walker

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | February 12, 2012

Professor John Walker-Smith

If you are interested in following this ordeal, I have placed a link to the Facebook page on the right. Similar to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Walker-Smith is another person researching the role of GI disease in children with autism. Read More…

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | February 11, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Special Education Due Process

Here’s an interesting new book from Dorene Philpot:

When a parent is faced with dissatisfaction with the special education services his or her child is offered or receiving, sometimes filing a special education due process hearing request with the state and school district is the only means to break through the logjam. And sometimes school districts force the issue by filing against parents.

Going to a hearing is a difficult decision to make, but once it is made, if you must represent yourself in a hearing, you will need to learn some tips on how to do the best job you can for your child. That ís where Do-It-Yourself Special Education Due Process, An Educational Guide comes in.

Sometimes parents represent their children in hearings because there are no available attorneys who are experienced in special education matters or due to financial constraints.

Only you can decide if you have the emotional fortitude or the need to go to a due process hearing. If you decide to travel that road, then Do-It-Yourself Special Education Due Process, An Educational Guide is intended to help educate you as to that process.

Order at Learning Enabled Publications.

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | February 4, 2012

The Judge Is Sleeping

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | October 17, 2011

Michelle Garcia Winner is coming to Houston

Michelle Garcia Winner is holding workshops in Houston February 9 and 10. Does anyone know if the ESCs have parent stipends? There is a state law mandating that schools have to spend a certain amount of money on parent training. If you don’t get anywhere asking nicely, send the request in writing to the SPED director and be sure to request an answer in writing. Good luck! They send teachers to NELI conferences, so I’m not sure how anyone can object to paying for this. Transportation, lodging, meals, registration and funding for appropriate childcare would be an appropriate request.

If you’d like to read more, check out #5 here: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/special.ed/funding/nonedfaq.pdf

For details on the conference, see http://socialthinking.com.

I cannot tell you how many times I said Aha! the first time I heard MGW speak. The information I learned on social thinking helped me understand why my son does the things he does which was a big step in making things better (and explaining him to teachers).

 

* Thanks to Alli Kat at AutismTweetsTX for research help

Posted by: Unworthy Bum | July 1, 2011

Michael Nicholson death: The verdict

Donneil Smith was acquitted of all charges tonight in Lubbock, Texas.

Day 3 of Donneil Smith’s Manslaughter Trial – EverythingLubbock.com.

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