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How To Compromise With Your School District Without Compromising Your Child

Join us on August 17th at 7 pm EST as Gary Mayerson discusses parent advocacy and answers your questions about what you can do.

Navigating the IEP process can be an overwhelming experience. Join nationally renowned attorney Gary Mayerson as he answers live questions from parents and explains what parents can do to secure effective and appropriate programming.

Gary Mayerson is the founder of Mayerson & Associates, a law firm in Manhattan that was formed more than a decade ago as the very first law firm dedicated exclusively to serving people with autism. To date, Mr. Mayerson and other lawyers at his firm have helped more than 1,000 families in more than 30 states, as well as military families stationed abroad. He also is the author of How To Compromise With Your School District Without Compromising Your Child (DRL Books 2005). In addition, Mr. Mayerson is a long-time board member of Autism Speaks and serves as the Director of the Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeals Project, a pro bono initiative at the federal level.

  1. mandy
    August 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

    i have a son with autism he has an IEP that states he’s suposed to have a one-on-one aid will he has had to have an aid sence first grade he is now going into 6th in that time period he has had 5 aids all quiting at the end of each school year will this year i am haveing trouble with the school hiring a new aid school starts thursday and there is no aid for him they have now sence march that the last aid was going to be leaveing is there anything i can do to help my son he needs the aid to function properly in school.

    • Donna
      August 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      For any parent who has not seen it, this is a very comprehensive and powerful resource for your family:

      http://www.poac-nova.org/base.cgim?template=new_parent_resource_suggestions

      I live in Virginia, and was lucky enough to have Mr. Campbell’s guidance recently in an ESY question with my son’s school. He is golden.
      There is a LOT of information there. Hope it helps! :)

    • Agent P
      August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

      If you find a way to get this to work, let me know. I just had an IEP meeting on Monday with my son’s school, and they REFUSE to consider adding a one-on-one aide to his IEP. And due to ‘no child left behind,’ he is going to be left behind because he is forced into a mainstream classroom. This means that if he becomes a distraction, he gets taken out of the classroom, down to the sensory room. He will not thrive academically this way. ‘No child left behind,’ my Aunt Fannie. How do I get them to agree to a one-on-one aide? I would love to see him go to a classroom that can better attend to his needs, rather than one that will just put up with him because they have to. I live in a small town, so this means that there just isn’t another option for a different school. There is NO special ed classroom that gears toward a diploma track. There is only ONE special ed class, and this room caters to K-5th. My son is just now in Kindergarten.

      • Karengf
        August 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

        I had his previous write the recommendation for a one-on- one. She wrote a comprehensive document that explained my son’s need for someone to help him recognize and manage his frustration and anxiety. She is the teacher that encouraged me to seek another opinion for him concerning diagnosis in 4th grade. He had been diagnosed with a speech and language disorder at 3 years old.

      • Brenda
        August 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Agent P, I am a parent of a child with autism, He is going to be in 5th grade this school year. He was in a a special day class in a regular school since Pre K. For years we have been wanting a 1 on 1 aide for him and for years we have been given several excuses why the school cant give him one. His last teacher for the last two years even agrees that he does need an aide to work with him. The last two years has been really grueling for us going through several Behavioral evals, and IEPs because of his increasing behavioral problems which only happens in school. I have been called several times to school to pick him up because they cant handle him. The last school year, it took six months from requesting an emergency IEP to finally agreeing with a plan that will suit him. Of course we still did not get our 1on1, instead we were offered NPS (non publis school) placement for him. This is all with an advocate who helps us through all our IEPs. I hope this time , things will work out for the better. An environment that is welcoming of him and yet knows how to handle a behavior and address it right away. I wish you and your family well, just persevere and be your childs very own advocate.. We all have a long ways to go…

  2. Madeline ruiz
    August 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

    How do I join??

  3. August 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Data trumps all- in the IEP process. I have a fantastic chapter from a friend- titled: What constitutes data in the IEP process. anyone interested send me an email or friend me on FB.

  4. Tresa Bouren
    August 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

    by law they have to do what the iep states. that is why you absolutely need to get everything in writing. the schools hate volunteering to put it in writing because it binds them to it.

  5. Marie Barrow
    August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I have a 5 year old who has aged out of his current pre-school. I have had the IEP review meeting with the DOE but I have yet to receive an updated IEP. I received a Nickerson letter from DOE and a listing of approved private schools. Have taken several tours of schools but have yet to find a school which meets his needs. I am very stressed because the start of the school year September my child does not have a school to attend. What do I do?

    • Deborah C.
      August 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Marie – I am going through the exact same situation.Our son ‘graduated’ from his Pre-K, our home district failed to place him, we got our Nickerson letter, and have been contacting schools for 2 months, with no luck. Either there are no vacancies at the schools that have an appropriate program for him, or the schools that DO have a spot open do not meet his needs. I, too, am very stressed. I am told there is an offer pending from the district, but it is NOT a good (‘safe’) area, and we all know that reasoning do not hold up with the DOE – also tried looking up the school online, any site at all, & do not find it. An advocate had told me in the midst of all this that what the district will do is to “come up ” with a ‘school’ just to get the kids placed somewhere- anywhere- so they are in compliance with the law. (cover their butts). I, like you, want to know : what do I do ?

  6. donna hamm
    August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

    The Board of Trusties, The KCCD, The president of Bakersfield college all vice presidents and all department heads and their supervisors and subordinates, , and all other concerned parties.

    Since I have been told that If I hire a lawyer I lose my voice in the formal complaint process and will not be granted the opportunity to personally address tho’s responsible for directly denying my civil rights, using a scale to decided that I would not be tested for my learning disabilities and not providing reasonable accommodations , for harassment and for the lack of protection to me and my fellow students, and the policies that were enacted that grossly ignore the state and federal laws including but not limited to deciding whom is worth investing state and federal funds that are provided to help all students with disabilities like mine, allowing harassment, and bullying and for impeding the complaint process. I do hereby request that the matter be held off until the next semester. Thus giving me time for investigation and discovery of what my rights are and how to apply that knowledge to best serve justice and time to report to the proper officials. I do this for me and for the students before and after me.

    In the matter of my complaints against Denise Mitchell, Pam Boyles, Rebecca Flores, and Joyce Colman , and the institution responsible for allowing this to happen, I would like to share with you the impact on my life based on their failure to listen to my legitimate complaints against Denise Mitchell. And the supervisors who purposefully passed the responsibility of the colleges complaint procedure down to the disabilities counselor who has no authority to resolve the issue against a teacher who was bulling me. I feel like they did this because they thought I was too disabled to stand for my rights,(I fell off their scale because I scored a 97 in writing and a 95 in reading) and that I would give up, they were wrong.

  7. Jodi
    August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

    We are a military family. We have moved 4 times the last 4 years. Each school district has increased the services my son was given. We were stationed in OH, my son was in a mainstreamed classroom with an 1-to-3 aid (there were 3 children on the spectrum that she assisted with). My son thrived. We moved again to FL. The school wants to rewrite the IEP 30 days after school starts, and they want to take out the aid, because they can’t afford to hire an aid. I don’t want to be hard line this, and want to compromise, but how do I compromise, when they want to downgrade his services that significantly?

    • August 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      I am facing the same problem, I moved from Missouri to Arizona and My son’s IEP stated that he needs a para for the classroom. Missouri they were more than willing to do what was needed to make sure that my son did well in school. They even gave me all official transcripts when we moved so he could start summer school. When we moved they told me that they would have to rewritte his IEP to fit this states giudelines and when they did they took away his para. They say that they could not afford to have a one on one para just for him, because they just closed two schools. They wanted me to send him to a special school where they are better prepared to help him. I told them no they had to fiqure out a way to accomidate him. I was very angry, my son is in 6th grade and he has always be mainstream. Last year we saw a decrease in his grades (he use to be on the honor roll every quarter) and behavor all because they did not want to find a para. This year (6th grade) they found a para and now we have to wait and see what happends. All I can say is keep fighting for your child. I told them all no, I was not doing that to him and I keep standing up for him, It is fustrating but it is the things we do for our kids.

    • Shelly
      August 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      You HAVE to fight in Florida. They do not like to spend money on their children with special needs. You will find a battle every time your child needs assistance that costs them money. We are military and lived there eleven years and had the same garbage pulled on us. Even to the point where they would say they were going to provide services in the IEP meeting and then after we left they wouldn’t add the services to his matrix. We had to pull our son out of public school and put him in a private school via the Mckay Scholarship. Be prepared to go head to head with them. Find an education advocate quickly to work with you or they will make testing take years and years. Depending on which base you are currently stationed at I could send you the name of the advocate and special ed attorney we had to use.

  8. August 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

    My son was just diagnosed with Aspergers (amongst other things) this month. I have been trying to get him help through the school since Kindergarten when he was diagnosed with ADHD and they keep telling me there is no academic need. I talked to them after the Aspergers diagnosis and they still tell me there is no need for any assistance/services for my child. The principal told me “unfortunately you have a bright child.” Since he is not failing and not preventing others from learning they claim there is nothing they are required to do for him. This will be my 3rd year battling with them. (My son is going into 2nd grade.) I am at the point where I am now going to file a complaint with the TEA. I can’t wait to hear what Mr. Mayerson has to say.

    • jen Therian
      August 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      How do we get to “hear” what he has to say? is it going to be on the autism speaks website? or on TV? I’m a little behind with technology! :)

  9. August 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    My biggest issue with IEPs and the schools is when we move. My daughter is 5 and just started the 1st grade. Her first IEP was written in 2010 just after her 4th birthday and called for OT and Speech Therapy with additional OT on Friday afternoons in the OT clinic provided by the school district. It was great. Well, we are a military family and moving is par for the course in this life, so at Christmas 2010, we moved from CA to VA. In VA, they did all the screenings again, to make sure she still required services and that they could meet her needs. Well they cut her OT all together. They claimed “her need didn’t meet criteria for OT services in school because her disability did not interfere with her ability to perform the necessary tasks in the classroom”. That’s crap! Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction, Tactile Defensiveness, and stimming don’t interfere with her ability to perform in a classroom? Since when? We know they cut it because the OT provider at her school also handled every school in the area and she was only at my daughter’s school for a few hours one day every two weeks, she just didn’t have time for my daughter’s needs. Now we are starting another school year, at a third school since we had to move again. We’re now in TN, and I’m scared. My daughter’s speech is still behind where other kids are in terms of free association and thought. Most of what she says is still echolialic and she has a lot of social issues because emotionally she is behind for her age. The new school has already started evaluating her need for Speech and Language therapy, and I’m scared. The last school cut so much therapy from her IEP, that if the new school removes anything, she’ll be receiving NO help from the school at all. We are looking into private therapy, but are new to the area and haven’t been riding the “spectrum” long so we really don’t know where to go for resources. She has ADHD and Autism, along with the Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction, Tactile Defensiveness, Sensory Integration Disorder and the stimming is getting worse since she started learning to tie her shoes. I know that her behavior at school is drastically different from at home because of the rigid structure they provide her, which is why they don’t see a lot of the issues that we have with her at home and in public. If the new school says she doesn’t need Speech therapy anymore, what do I do? How do I convince them that her disability is more pronounced than the see during the 30 minutes they spend evaluating her? Her original IEP was written after 4 weeks of assessments, how can the schools then assess her and have the meeting with us about it in a week or two? I feel lost and like she’s falling through the cracks. I know her teacher is doing the best she can, but how can my daughter truly thrive when the schools keep cutting her therapy like this? If they remove her speech, she wont have an IEP at all!

  10. LeTwanea
    August 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    mandy :
    i have a son with autism he has an IEP that states he’s suposed to have a one-on-one aid will he has had to have an aid sence first grade he is now going into 6th in that time period he has had 5 aids all quiting at the end of each school year will this year i am haveing trouble with the school hiring a new aid school starts thursday and there is no aid for him they have now sence march that the last aid was going to be leaveing is there anything i can do to help my son he needs the aid to function properly in school.

    I am going thru exact same thing with my son. He is now in the six grade. I am fed up with the School system and the deal with IEP and staffs.

  11. Steph
    August 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    If you can’t get an IEP – ask about a 504 plan….

  12. Jennifer B
    August 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Brenda :
    Agent P, I am a parent of a child with autism, He is going to be in 5th grade this school year. He was in a a special day class in a regular school since Pre K. For years we have been wanting a 1 on 1 aide for him and for years we have been given several excuses why the school cant give him one. His last teacher for the last two years even agrees that he does need an aide to work with him. The last two years has been really grueling for us going through several Behavioral evals, and IEPs because of his increasing behavioral problems which only happens in school. I have been called several times to school to pick him up because they cant handle him. The last school year, it took six months from requesting an emergency IEP to finally agreeing with a plan that will suit him. Of course we still did not get our 1on1, instead we were offered NPS (non publis school) placement for him. This is all with an advocate who helps us through all our IEPs. I hope this time , things will work out for the better. An environment that is welcoming of him and yet knows how to handle a behavior and address it right away. I wish you and your family well, just persevere and be your childs very own advocate.. We all have a long ways to go…

  13. Jennifer B
    August 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Brenda: OMG…your discription of your child sounds EXACTLY like ours! My son has been on an IEP since preschool, now in 4th grade…by the bare minimum! Our current IEP is a joke, like the public school just pulled out a Austism 101 for Dummies book and pulled out the good parts and threw into his accomodations page. They want to keep him main-stream in a 25 student classroom, which he clearly cannot handle that large of a group! He just came off of one of the most successful summers at a school for autism, which we fought for..(ESY) and want him to go to that school instead of the local district….still fighting…still advocating…it’s so difficult. I truely dont think public schools want to acknowledge Autism…they want to go on believing all students are neuro-typical…and should all be taught and handled the same way…to them…it’s cheaper! You are exactly right when you say we all have a long way to go….but in the meantime..what is going to happen to these kids?

    • Brenda
      August 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Jennifer B: I have been asking our supervisor from the Regional Center the exact same question, What is going to happen to these kids. With the rate this diagnosis is going, it will have a great impact on society in the future. My point is, they need to help these kids NOW so they will be functional and independent individuals in the future. Its hard as it is living at the moment, dealing with this day to day, let alone think of what may happen in the future. I am sacred but i have to be strong. Our kids cant speak up for themselves, so we have to, and even if we have to hire someone to get our voices heard then so be it. I hope you get what you need for your child, stay strong and Good Luck!

  14. August 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Here in Florida…………..Not only do you Not need an Autism Certification to Teach in an Autism Support classroom………….you also don’t need a Special Education Certification……….Not only don’t you need a Special Ed. certification………..you don’t need a Teaching Degree. To be more exact,………..People can get certifications with no recent current specialty in the Field or no Teaching Degree. This !……..with such a complicated Disorder which requires a team of the most highly specialized teaching abilities. What We see here are Autism classrooms led by unqualified Staff who don’t have even a basic understanding of the Disability they are dealing with. How are our Autistic Children supposed to have any true reasonable chance at successful Learning & advancement in this environment ?…& it only seems to grow worse! Quite honesty, I was shocked when we moved here 9 years ago from Philadelphia. In addition to this,……..the School Football stadium is being upgraded & other Programs expanded; while at the same time the Special Education classrooms are consistently the Lowest priority & constantly begging Parents for glue sticks,paperclips,paper towels,Etc. & money & don’t even have basic supplies. I won’t even mention the complete absence of School-wide Autism Education & Awareness & the absence of meaningful integration amongst the general student population…..at least not right now!

  15. August 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Here in Florida………….. You Not need an Autism Certification to Teach in an Autism Support classroom….or even a Special Education Certification, nor even have a Teaching Degree. People can get certifications with no recent current specialty in the Field or no Teaching Degree. Such a complicated Disorder requires a team of the most highly specialized teaching abilities. What We see here are Autism classrooms led by unqualified Staff who don’t have even a basic understanding of the Disorder. How are our Autistic Children supposed to have any reasonable chance at successful Learning & advancement in this environment ?…& it only seems to grow worse! Quite honesty, I was shocked when we moved here 9 years ago from Philadelphia. In addition to this,……..the School Football stadium is being upgraded & other Programs expanded; while at the same time the Special Education classrooms are consistently the Lowest priority & constantly begging Parents for glue sticks,paperclips,paper towels,Etc. & money & don’t even have basic supplies.

  16. Don Smith
    August 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I am so happy to find this website. I am the grandfather of an eight year old grandson. My daughter is a single parent who works so I am the advocate. I look forward to visiting your
    website frequently.

  17. August 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Just curious, how long should I expect to wait for my son’s 1st IEP meeting of the school year? My son has been on an IEP for the last 2.5 years, but it always takes about 6 weeks for the 1st meeting. In the meantime, the new teacher does not follow the IEP from the previous year by giving my son accomadations in class as his previous teacher from the prior year would do. So my son will start out the 1st 9 weeks of the school year with barely passing grades in some subjects. I need to know if there is a timeline that I should make sure they stick to, and why would they not honor the previous years IEP accomadations until the 1st school meeting. My son is high functioning, and he’s very smart, but without the accomadations (extra time on test for one), he does poorly. He’s in a mainstream class with his peers and wants to be like them. When he makes bad grades he gets frustrated because he works so hard to learn his work. We work every afternoon reteaching everything he learned that day so it sticks. Then his teacher writes to tell me he has no initiative! We work too hard to let him fall behind because they won’t stick to the IEP at the beginning of the year.

  18. Joshua atencio
    November 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Hello we recently just moved n r out of my sons school district n they want us to enroll him n send him to the school who district we live in but it is nit a great school is their a way I can keep him in the school he is in

  19. Heather
    December 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I have a four year old daughter with ASD in an exceptional early education program in Florida public school system. We are having major issues getting the school to actually comply with her IEP which states that she is to be in a very small group setting. Her class size is now up to fourteen children between the ages of three and five with one teacher. The teacher has informed me they are expecting two more children before the end of the school year. This is a class that began the year with eight children! I called an IEP meeting weeks ago, but have been put off until January ( because apparently no one can be bothered until after the holidays).

    The problem is that the current size of the class makes it very difficult for my daughter to focus (which is why her IEP states that she’s to be in a very small group). She’s overwhelmed and in sensory overload for the entire day. She’s actually regressed. We put her in this program to help her, but it’s definitely not doing that. If anything, it’s working against her. She is not the only child having issues either.

    I am prepared to fight. I know the school system by law has to comply with her IEP and I’m willing to have her change schools to get her in an appropriate class. But getting them to actually meet with me to discuss this has been a battle. I’m not sure how to proceed from here. I put in a call to the district and believe it or not, haven’t received a return phone call. I’ll call every day if that’s what it takes.

    I am unbelievably frustrated. I’m almost ready to pull my daughter out of school and keep her home until this issue is resolved. I just cannot believe we live in a place that cares so little for children with disabilities.

  20. Arlene Bernard
    March 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    If you have a listing of private schools that have kids with aspergers and take the Nickerson letter I will really appreciate it. I have a son age 8 and I am having a hard time looking for a school. Thx

  1. August 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

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