New member and sick of public education

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New member and sick of public education

Postby gregos » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:15 pm

My family's story with our children and public schools has just been a complete and total nightmare. We started our children in a pre-school program and up until now, it has been worthwhile. They both(4 and 3 years old respectively) are language delayed and receive services from a speech pathologist. We had a meeting last week at 5:30 p.m., whereby the teacher, speech pathologist, and elementary principal then proceeded to waste our time for 45 minutes talking about the kids and how they were doing, material we've covered two months before. We knew something was up and our suspicions were quickly confirmed.

It turns out that the school wants the boys, both of them mind you, tested for autism. We went home in shock and didn't even know what to think. We both cried and felt terrible. My wife then looked up the diagnostic criteria for autism in the DSM-IV. We then realized that they weren't using the criteria sheet at the meeting, but rather, a sheet about where a 4 year old and a 3 year old were "supposed to be" developmentally. :roll: The speech pathologist doesn't like working with early elementary students, and thus, something else just has to be the problem. They contradicted themselves continuously in the meeting. They talked about how the boys intereacted with others and were empathic, yet, those are traits that are largely devoid in autism. However, when you widen the disease to a "spectrum," then it becomes a catch-all phrase.

Then, get this-a day or two before the meeting, the teacher observed our children at the babysitter's house without our permission! No one informed us of this, not even the babysitter. Their audacity and lack of regard for the rules knows no bounds.

We are debating whether or not to send our kids to a private school or to home school. The latter option is what I'm in favor of and it's what my wife would like to do. It would make things tight at home for money, but we could pull it off. The school has completely and totally lost our trust. We have been very supportive of the school and have even purchased items for the teacher to use in the classroom. I even taught at the school for six years, before opting to teach elsewhere. My wife intends to give her thirty day notice, whereupon, we will pull our kids and do what is best for them. Our only regret is that we were dumb enough to trust them at all.

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Postby HomeschoolBlessings » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:42 pm

My nephew is Autistic. I think this diagnosis is used all to often when people don't want to take the time. :| I have been Homeschooling for 8 years, I run my own group and run a HS library. These problems are heard all to often. I am sorry this happened to you but the only way to stop the problems is to take control of your children's life. I had 2 children in public school. After abuse, neglect and a principal that had no clue where my son was ever I started homeschooling. Make sure you research homeschooling, read books, ask questions and be prepared. Homeschooling is rewarding beyond everything I have ever done. But it is time consuming, sometimes lonely and sometimes frustrating.

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Postby elliemaejune » Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:13 pm

Well, on a homeschooling forum you're most likely going to get replies encouraging you to homeschool :-)

I know many hsers who have dc with all sorts of learning and health issues, so I know it can be done.

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Postby Lily » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:10 am

Why does a possible diagnosis make you feel terrible? Out of all the statements you made, this one sends off warning signals.

An autism diagnosis, or any other diagnosis, simply means that the adults are more prepared to teach to the specific child. If it helps your boys get the resources they need, then what is the problem? I would suggest an independent doctor not associated with the school to do the testing so that you have even more options - such as not being saddled with a school label too soon.

As far as the teacher going to the sitter's house - that is strange and I would certainly make a fuss.

It seems so ironic, though. I pulled my child out of school because kids get lost in the system, the teachers never seem to care, the dividing line between home and school is too deeply drawn. You're conteplating hs'ing because the school cares too much! :lol:
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
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Postby gregos » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:11 am

The reason why we are in such a tizzy is that we did our homework and found out that they are coming from a faulty premise in more than a few ways. First, they utilized a sheet of where a four year old and a three year old "should be" developmentally. :shock: Not being able to do a few things on that sheet doesn't equate to autism. :lol: Second, our children are very affectionate, do engage in imaginative play, and have a wide variety of facial expressions. Lastly, my boys do have language delay issues, which is commonly mistaken for autism. Thomas Sowell has some excellently written material about this which show that accurate diagnosis of autism in language delayed learners is very problematic. It's like having your mechanic try and help you with your garden. :roll: My wife is a working professional who utilizes the DSM-IV every day, the teachers don't. If they had the slightest clue as to what they're doing, and they don't, they would see the key factors are missing for the diagnosis.

Yes, we are getting an independent assessment done. Educational psychologists are a contradiction in terms if there ever was one(ed psych. is convenient fall back if you can't hack medical/clinical work) and is nothing more than a way to guarantee a label. Even if BOTH of my boys were autistic (the statistical probablity of that is another reason why we doubt their crack-pot thinking on this) they would be better served at home. The only "services" they would receive would be for the teacher to be trained to teach differently when it comes to them, in other words-reducing answes and other lame options which are only done to say something has been done. :roll:

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Postby Lily » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:21 am

gregos wrote: Not being able to do a few things on that sheet doesn't equate to autism. :lol:

No, it doesn't, but a pattern of them is reason enough to get tested and find out for sure.

Even if BOTH of my boys were autistic (the statistical probablity of that is another reason why we doubt their crack-pot thinking on this) they would be better served at home. The only "services" they would receive would be for the teacher to be trained to teach differently when it comes to them, in other words-reducing answes and other lame options which are only done to say something has been done. :roll:

The probability is 20% of siblings being on the spectrum, so I wouldn't exactly call it 'crack pot' thinking on the teacher's part.

You are right that they would be better served at home and with the aid of a therapist specializing in autism if it were the case. It sounds like you have a lot more issues with the school without this issue being in the mix.

Good luck on your homeschooling journey.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

- M. Montessori

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Postby Mark » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:40 pm

both my kids are spectrum kids.

I'll be glad to help in whatever way I can.
meanwhile, welcome to the forum. :)

*wanders off again*

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Postby Ophelia » Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:00 pm

It seems to me that if there was any sign of your children being autistic your family Pediatrician would have mentioned it at your yearly well-child visit. I would think that a trained professional would be more qualified for making an assessment like that than a school employee. I know our Pediatrician looks for those kind of signs and asks questions about the children that if the condition existed in my children he would be the first person after myself, to spot them.

Since you say that the boys are affectionate, engage in imaginative play and have a variety of facial expressions I am led to believe that you are correct in your assumption that the speech pathologist just isn't interested in working with the children and is trying to pawn them off in any way he/she can.

And frankly, in regard to the teacher observing your children at the babysitters, without your permission, I would be raising Hell about that.

I certainly do understand why the whole situation has you so annoyed. I cannot offer any advice on whether you should home-school or not because I am rather biased on that subject. But I do wish you luck with your situation and hope you are able to resolve it in a manner that gives you peace of mind.

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Postby MrBill » Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:49 am

Wow, awful.

I suggest homeschooling. You will find your childrens delayed vocal
development will disappear when you spend much time with them and speak to them all day.
They are not getting this at pre-k or the babysitter.

Instead they are exposed to younger children who don't speak at all, and it becomes acceptable, seems natural.

At your children's age, they experience regression when exposed to babies, they instinctively want to return to that blissful baby state, seeing as how the babies get picked up, cuddled, and all that.

Start reading books to your children everyday, and they will be reading themselves in a year.

Don't let these people make you cry, worry, and get angered.
You can help your children now more than anyone can.

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Postby momo3boys » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:37 pm

Being a homeschool mom I am biased, but I also have a lot of experience with autism, not mine though. A others have said with the spectrum widening many more people are diagnosed autistic, this is good and bad. Some children are getting the help they need and others are getting false labels and it sets them back. your best beet is to find an early intervention group and have them look at. They will probably tell you that thy have speech issues which you already know. THey can also keep an eye on motor skills too.

As for them seeing your children without permission, not only raise ruckus but let whoever is in charge of them know, this is a big, huge no-no they aren't even allowed to test you child with a "routine" evaluation without your permission. Do not back down from this, if they have done it to you, they have done it to others and this is not ok, this is illegal.

I guess I am off my soap box now, thank you or being patient with my rant. :wink:
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Postby Shari Nielsen » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:30 pm

There are a great deal of forums out there that you can go to for ideas and support before you jump in w/ both feet. It's definitely a rewarding experience to see your children make strides on a daily basis.

Good luck!
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Postby Jazzy » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:11 pm

I'm sorry for what you experienced. It sickens me the way the some schools treat children nowadays. Homeschooling is cheaper than private school, and if your children have delays that need to be addressed, they would benefit from that one on one attention.

Kudos to you for sticking up for your boys!

God bless!


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Postby Emerging Dad » Fri May 09, 2008 7:01 pm

Autism isn't the worst diagnosis in the world. I work with an autistic man who is so well-adjusted that I didn't even know he was autistic until someone told me. (Some of his personal tics made a lot of sense in the light of that revelation, but I really had no clue.) With focus on the part of the parents, an autistic child can grow up to have a perfectly normal, mostly independent life.

That said, your kids don't meet the criteria for autism. You would have known by the time they were two-years-old.
I'm a nice enough guy, and if I say something hurtful I probably didn't mean it that way.

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Postby barefoot » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:41 am

I have a nephew that is autistic. He goes to a special school for now and will be homeschooled next year. The local public school really really want him to attend their school. They want to put him in a classroom for special needs, dispite he being gifted. He would not have access to the gifted classes he could obviously handle. They would get off cheap not supplying an aid and mainstreaming him. He would pretty much be in a class with other disabled children bored to tears.
When it comes down to it they want him for the government funding. They would get somewhere around 18,000 a year for him. Over triple what they get for the average student.
I wonder how often children are encouraged to be tested and put in the spectrum for this reason.
Not saying this is what your public school wanted. I just wonder how often this is the case.

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Postby thinks » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:10 pm

Firstly, I'm AMAZED that the school would do a visit and observation without asking your permission first. Ditto with the babysitter. So I would really follow this up to the top, and get an assurance that this will never happen again.

Secondly, I can understand that this would make you totally lose trust in that particular system. And rightfully so. So definitely, either a change of school, or homeschooling, are options for you to esplore.

The next issue is your concern about the 'autistic' label. This has obviously really shocked you both. My advice is, forget the labels. Every child is unique, whether they have learning problems, developmental problems, physical problems, etc etc. labels don't help. And especially the label 'autistic' - it is SO-O-O broad. Maybe Asperger's Syndrome might be something for you to research... it is on part of the Autistic Spectrum but people with Asperger's are actually often intellectually gifted too.

And lastly - you two sound as though you would make wonderful homeschoolers! It is THE most rewarding thing you can do, but also THE most time-consuming and hard-working. It's worth it though! If you don't go to bat for your own children - who will???
Jean Edwards in New Zealand

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