Does a school have the right to refuse to mainstream my child?

Question:I have two autistic children; one nine the other six. Both have been mainstreamed but both need OT, speech, and at times need to be excused from the classroom for behavior issues. This is NOT a every day occurance BTW.
The school where they attended last year, doesn't provide services for children fourth grade and older, so our nine year old was recomended to be transferred to a different school.
We have been told that this new school will not mainstream our son, and if we insist that he be mainstreamed he will have to attend our home school's district, which is not set up to provide services for autistic children.
Do we have the right to demand the school who can provide services for our autistic child put him in a mian stream class, or is our only option to put him in a school not qualified to handle his disability?

Answers:
Does your school system know about a federal law (part of the Individual's with Disabilities Education Act "IDEA") called LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)? Have your read the book called "Negotiating the Special Ecuation Maze"
http://www.amazon.com/negotiating-specia...

It sounds as though you may live in a very small district and your school system does not have the services available to you that are available in a larger school district. In addition to speech and OT (both very minor issues when looking at autism as a whole), your children need to have access to social skills groups, and qualified professionals to assist their teachers with issues (behavior, sensory, or otherwise).

You may want to get a parent advocate (or last resort an education law attorney) to help you with your situation. Parent advocates are not cheap (much cheaper than an attorney), but are there to advocate for your children and what your children are entitled to under the law (they have extensive training and know the law like the back of their hand). In my area they are about $125 - $150 per hour (but I live in a large urban area with high income levels that allow them to demand that much). To get a good advocate, check with other parents in your area, support groups, and so on.

What concerns me is that your children are removed from the classroom for behaviors...do the teachers working with your kids know how to use and implement behavior plans? Have they ever worked with (have training on) children on the autism spectrum? I can't tell by your post, but I suspect they are trying to toss your children into a "special education classroom" for children with various issues...not the best choice at all.

As a teacher, I have had many children on the autism spectrum in my classroom (just last year I had 6 in my 3rd grade class). I have always advocated for them to be included with their typical peers for at least part of the day (2 were all day) and in subjects that they can handle. Where else are they going to observe good behavior models and interact with typical peers? I know this sounds very drastic, but if you do not get what you want for your children, I would highly consider moving into a school district that has the services and experience required to meet the needs of your children. Just my 2 cents...
It really depends; as nice as it is to mainstream kids, it's hard for the regular kids. Their class time gets disrupted and they might have to go through slower lessons. This doesn't allow them to get ahead, and they will become bored.

On the other hand, mainstreaming your kid might mean he has to go through faster lessons than he can understand. He might get lost, and left behind.

Either way, someone won't get the education they need.
I would imagine a court would side with the education professionals who do not feel your child should be in their mainstream classroom. If the school is set up to handle students with special needs in a certain way, I doubt you could force them to handle your child differently. Schools can only do so much. Your best bet would be to find a school specially designed to handle autistic children.
You're children have the right to a mainstream classrooom as long as they don't present a risk to other students. Fight for your sons, the district has a legal obligation to provide the services your children need. Check with your children's case workers on the child study team to get a copy of the special education right's book. IF they don't get you what you need, go to your states education website and the U.S. government website. They are both great resources. Good luck.
As much as you want your child to be mainstreamed it's probably better that the children go somewhere that can provide services for them. If they're in a classroom with teachers who have no been specially trained to handle their behavior that's not fair to your children, the teacher or the other children who also have a right to an education.
Yes they have the right to refuse if they are a private school.

The " Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)" only cover the public school system. If the school you are talking about is a public school then they CAN'T say no.
I totally disagree with Andrea's answer.When an autistic child is mainstreamed properly, both the autistic child and the typical children get the education they need and more! The autistic child's work is modified,the other kids aren't taught their lessons at a slower pace!
I would fight for what you know is best for your child.Children have the right to be taught in the least restrictive environment.
Contact your Special Ed. Director. Let him/her know what you want and that you are willing to get a lawyer,if needed.I don't know what state you are in but I mentioned contacting Robert Crabtree of Boston, MA. ,and my Director decided to mainstream my child. It may be a struggle but well worth it. Good Luck!
The thing I would make sure of, before insisting on mainstreaming, is that the teachers are trained to work with autistic kids. As you know, it can be a completely different world than learning disorders. The children can need to be taught using specialized methods and routines, and if something confuses or alarms them, they can be difficult or impossible to reason with - especially by someone who doesn't have the training.

(I know that there are many different functioning levels with autism, not sure which level your kids are at.)

In theory, public schools are required to provide an equal education for your children; in actuality, this can be easier said than done. Training in autism isn't required to hold a teaching certification (since not all teachers are going to come across it), so while schools are supposed to provide it, not all of them will be able to.

I would suggest contacting an autism advocacy group, as they will be able to provide you with specifics in your area. You do have rights, though how to enforce those rights may vary by state and school district (because of resources available to the schools). Mainstreaming them in a classroom whose teacher doesn't have the necessary training could be very detrimental, both for your children and for the other children in the classroom.

You may already be aware of autism advocacy groups (sorry if this is repeating info you already have) but if not, here is a link:
http://www.autism-society.org/site/pages...

There also seem to be advocacy groups in several states, that are more specific to the resources and political/educational atmosphere in those states. Just google the name of your state and "autism advocacy".
No child should be refused to be schooled or mainstreamed. here are some websites for you. Your school that he's at should of done an IEP It's an educational plan in place for the next school, they address issues such as monitoring progress, dealing with behavioral dilemmas, taking on the school system, provate schools
the school district does not have an appropriate program to meet your childs needs., the school is required to fine one or as a last resort, createone. by law every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education (fape) this means an apropriate education, no matter what the cost.
check out this website:
www.stride4autism.com (*there is a lot of information in there for the IEP and what you child and what he or she may need.
or another website http://www.autism-society.org/site/pages...
pull up on front page on left hand side JOIN/RENEW
next page will say Don't forget to find out what your local chapter is doing (Click here) to fine a chapter near you, click again if not listed below there is a search page for other autism resources. Good luck and don't give up.
What does the current in-force IEP list as the LRE? If this is a public school and the LRE says your son is to be placed in a regular class, then they have to do so to be in legal compliance. I would definately get an advocate, because I don't see how they can force you to change schools and I don't understand how a public school does not offer services to anyone over the age of 9 (fourth grade). Why does this school not have SPED for junior high and high school? What do they do with resource kids?
If the IEP team (of which you, the parent, are a part of) decided that he should be mainstreamed, and the IEP indicates that he requires the support of an assistant or para, then regardless of whether they have hired someone or not, he is to be mainstreamed. The district will be out of compliance if they do not do this.

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