The Definition of Autism – How Will Possible Changes Affect Special Education Services?

There has been much talk about the potential changes to the Autism Diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) when the updated, fifth version is published (the projected date of publication is May of 2013). One of the expected changes is to combine several disorders including, Autism,Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) into one category called Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although this change concerns some people, most people in the fields of medicine, community services and education already lump these diagnoses together.

The major concern is over the potential changes to the specific criteria that people will have to meet to receive the official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the current manual, a person can qualify for the diagnosis by exhibiting six or more of 12 specified behaviors. The proposed changes to the criteria narrow the field; a person would have to exhibit three or more deficits in social interaction and communication and exhibit at least two repetitive behaviors. The fear is that this will leave out a large group of people who are considered high functioning (including a huge portion of children with the current diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS). Currently, scientific, trial testing of the new criteria is under way and this data will be used to make final recommendations.

Although changes to the diagnosis will likely affect service delivery in the medical field and the community services field they are not projected to make significant changes in the education field because qualification for special education is not based on a particular diagnosis but on educational needs. Currently the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines the educational category of Autism as “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.” Each state has their own interpretation of this law so it is worthwhile to search for your state’s educational definition of Autism.

Some people fear that a change to the official DSM diagnosis will give school districts a way to stop or decrease services for certain students who currently qualify for services. If schools attempt to do this, many experts believe that children who are on the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum may still qualify for special education under the category of Other Health Impaired. It is also important to note that a school district cannot discontinue providing a service such as Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy unless the child exhibits significant improvement and there is no longer a need for remediation in that area.

8 Parental Causes for Denial of Special Education FAPE for Children With Disabilities!

Are you the parent of a child with a disability receiving special education services? Have you been fighting for your child to receive an appropriate education but are afraid that you are losing the battle. This article will be addressing the definition of FAPE as well as 8 parental reasons that may be contributing to your child not receiving a free appropriate public education.

Definition of FAPE

In a US Court of Appeals Case in the Third Circuit N.R. vs. Kingwood Township FAPE is defined as: a satisfactory IEP must provide significant learning and confer meaningful benefit. The definition of FAPE in IDEA 2004 states that FAPE means related and special education services that are free to the parent, and meet the standards of the State Educational Agency. Recently, many states have passed National Core Educational Standards to make the standards more uniform from state to state.

Possible Parental Causes

1. Some parents may not educate themselves about all of the federal and state laws that they can use to advocate for their child. These laws are: IDEA 2004, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, ADAAA, etc. It is critical that parents read books, and attend conferences to educate themselves.

2. Parents may be unwilling to confront or stand up to special education personnel who are refusing to provide FAPE to their child. This may be due to parents upbringing of not confronting authorities or educators

3. Schools have low expectations of what a child can learn in academic and functional areas. Parents must stand up to low expectations by some special education personnel, to the benefit of their child.

4. Not making sure that their child is held to the same educational standards as children without disabilities. If children do not learn academics and functional areas they could be hindered in their adult life.

5. Some parents may not learn appropriate remediation that their child needs to help them in their education.

6. Some parents may be unwilling to file a state complaint, 504 complaint, or file for a due process. As an advocate for over 20 years I have seen many school personnel draw a line in the sand, and absolutely refuse to listen to any parental input on services that their child needs. This situation requires going outside of the school district in the filing of complaints or due process, in a timely manner.

7. Some parents may accept lack of FAPE year after year without doing anything about it, even trying to find private services (and asking for school reimbursement). I recently read about a family in San Francisco that fought their school by filing for a due process hearing when the school district refused to provide their 3 year old child with Autism Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services, even though independent evaluators stated that the child needed this service. The parents did not wait year after year to let their child fail, they filed immediately. The family won after a 7 month fight, and was reimbursed for the private ABA services, that was given to their child.

8. Parents often approach school districts asking for the best services for their child. IDEA 2004 does not require that schools offer the best, but just related and special education services that are appropriate to meet the child’s educational needs.

How can parents turn this around? By educating themselves about special education law and research based remediation for their child. They also must be assertively persistent in their advocacy, for as long as it takes for their child to receive an appropriate education. Going outside the school district the first time they deny your child FAPE sends a message that you will not tolerate the civil rights violations to your child. Parents have a tough job, but if they work hard and advocate hard their child can receive an appropriate education.

Education Loans: Elucidate Your Life With The Education You Dream Of

The growth and development of a nation depends significantly on the quality of the human resource of that nation. Education definitely plays a vital role in improving the quality of human capital. Education is can be one powerful tool that can help a person carve a niche for himself in today’s world of cutthroat competition.

There are many people in UK who are intellectually gifted and can secure a bright future by pursuing higher education from the top-notch universities. However, they are compelled to forego their dream of availing higher education due to lack of sufficient funds. The cost of higher education is skyrocketing day by day. It is nearly impossible for the common man to afford the expenses associated with higher education solely with his monthly income.

There is no need to sacrifice your academic aspirations just because you cannot manage to save enough money from living expenditures. The UK loan market offers education loans that serve as an aid for meeting your educational expenses. Education loans are structured based on the specific requirements of a prospective student. The student needs to start repaying the loan only after completing a particular course successfully.

Education loans are available in various sizes and at different interest rates and terms. So, it is essential to compare the different education loan schemes available in the market and then select the scheme that is most viable, depending on your personal and financial requirements. Busy schedule and hectic lifestyle make it difficult to visit the different lenders personally. Online search for an education loan will save you time and energy, and will help you find a good loan deal with just a few clicks on the mouse. Compare the pros and cons of each education loan scheme before taking the final decision. Pay special attention to read the fine print before signing the contract agreement.

So, enlighten yourself with the education you dream to pursue and pave way for a bright and successful life ahead.