Has your child recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and you are struggling to get your school district to recognize the diagnosis? Would you like to learn some important information to help you in your special education advocacy efforts, for your child? This article will specifically address things that you need to know to help you fight for special education services for your child.
Things that you need to know.
1. Aspergers Syndrome has its own category in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM IV) that is used for diagnosis. It is under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD).
2. The American Psychiatric Association is proposing changing Aspergers Syndrome from its own category to within the autism category for the DSM V. The intent is to try and make the diagnosis of autism clearer. The decision will be made within several months (middle to end of 2010).
3. From an educational standpoint this is a wonderful decision, in my opinion, that will benefit thousands of children throughout the United States. Why? Many school districts have denied children with this disorder special education services because they state that the child does not have autism, and so therefore is not eligible. But in reality the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act state that a child must have one of 13 covered disabilities and have educational need. Aspergers is a part of the autism spectrum and should be a covered disability; though you may need to advocate for this.
4. Many children with this disorder will require help learning appropriate social interactions and social skills. This should be provided as a special education services for your child if they need it. It could be working directly with a school social worker or participating in a small group social skills class.
5. Small groups may help your child with their education and also to develop appropriate social skills.
6. Modifications and adaptations in the regular classroom may help your child keep up with their peers.
7. Sensory integration disorder is common in many children with this disorder, and shows itself in difficulty with lights, sounds, different foods and different fabrics. If your child shows this difficulty, ask your school district for testing by an Occupational Therapist who is SIPT qualified (has received specialized training in the area of sensory integration/processing disorder).
8. Many children with Aspergers may need Occupational Therapy also for motor clumsiness. Ask for specific testing in this area if your child shows need.
Keep these 8 items in mind when you attend Individual Educational Plan Meetings (IEP) for your child. They will assist you in trying to help your child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education!
JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com. For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com.