Question on autism,disability, and schooling

This question pertains to Ohio, but I’d be interested on info on other states, if anyone knows.

A sib of mine was dignosed as autistic when he was about 6, then was recently rediagnosed as having ‘autistic like behavior’ about a year ago. Due to funding problems in the county where my parents live, he’s been taken out of a school for children who are MR/DD and put into the local high school, with a teacher’s aide to supervise him.

About a week ago, the high school principal started doing a hard sell to my parents, saying that he thought John was autistic, that they should take him to be rediagnosed, and that they (my parents) could get more money for him through the government that way.

However, my nasty suspicious mind started wondering if they would cease having to provide schooling for him if he were dx’d as autistic. I haven’t found anything, really, on the topic, but the relationship between the school and my parents has always been adversarial for a number of reasons.

Also, does anyone know much about SSI (I think) for these disorders? Or can point me to sites? Or legal sites on the rights of children to schooling?

Thanks to any in advance.

I have a 15 year old autistic daughter, and as far as I know, the school district has to provide an appropriate education to the disabled child (this has been true for every state my daughter has lived in, althought we haven’t lived in Ohio) Checking with the state’s health and human services can let the parents know what rights they have in education and also point out programs for helping the disabiled child. As far as SSI goes, autism is a covered disability, based on the parents or guardians income.

The organization you should really contact is the National Information Center on Children & Youth w/Disabilities (not sure I got the name entirely right) at . They should have an answer for you.

In Ohio, the local school district is required to pay for the educational services (and transportation) for an MR/DD child to receive separate schooling. The local district is not required to pay for therapy or special education above some (unknown to me) level for certain special classes. (For example, when my son was placed in a special school, the local district covered his class fees during the school year. We and the special school decided to keep him in the summer school classroom program so that he would not lose the skills he had built up over the summer. Since the IEP identified the summer session as therapy, not remedial education, the local district ducked out paying for those classes and chose not to pay for the transportation. (We were told that we could have fought that decision, but other things were going on, then, and we let them get away with it.))

That said, I am only a luke-warm supporter of inclusion programs (or “mainstreaming” as it is known outside Ohio). I do think there should be mainstream/inclusion programs so that the kids are not totally alienated or segregated from society, but there is little point to putting a kid who cannot follow the coursework (and who may be subject to outbursts when frustrated) into a class filled with kids who are having their own problems learning the material, under the direction of a teacher who has never been trained to deal with that sort of student with only an aide to keep everyone calm. (As with any career, some aides are outstanding, some are cyphers.)

If your brother has gotten mixed diagnoses of autism, they are probably categorizing him as suffering Asperger’s Syndrome. There is information about that on the net. Getting him re-tested is probably a good idea, in any event. (Just make sure that the psychologist or psychiatrist is one who specializes in autistism and related issues.)