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Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Cure" and Denial of Services

WTXF in Philadelphia reports on Jennifer Pollard, whose son Xavier was started autism services from the Norristown (PA) school district back in 2008:

So imagine her surprise, when three years later on Monday of this week, the school psychologist at Stewart Middle School in Norristown, Pa., reported the results of new testing aimed at updating Xavier's individual education plan.

The school's conclusion: Xavier does not exhibit characteristics found within the autism spectrum."

"I was floored. I've never heard of anything like that," Jennifer says.

As a practical matter, the ruling means Xavier will still qualify for special services at school, but not autism support.

"He needs teachers and people surrounding him that understand autism," she says.

Stewart Middle School did not respond to our request for comment, but the Autism Society Of America did.

In a statement, the ASA says, "there is no cure for autism."

And an attorney with the local chapter notes that "federal special education laws define autism as a severe, chronic disability that is likely to continue indefinitely."

Jennifer could hardly suppress her sarcasm.

"They have 'cured' my son of autism, and I feel that's something that needs light. If that's a possibility, every child should have- every mother," she said. "No, I don't buy it! Not for a single second!"

Jennifer has the right to appeal the school's ruling. We put her in touch with that ASA lawyer, Ira Fingles.

He told Fox 29 it sounds like the school is looking to take away the very services that may have led to the student's appearing to be "cured."

School Claims Boy Cured Of Autsim: