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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

More on Special Education in Texas

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss special education.  Some states do a reasonably good job, but Texas is not one of them.

At The San Antonio Current, Alex Zielinski writes of US Department of Education listening sessions on problems with special education in Texas.
Autistic children locked in padded, sound-proof cells. Dyslexic kids given a computer program instead of a reading tutor. Children with severe speech impediments called "cute" by school officials, and then denied therapy. Suicide attempts in a 4th grade classroom called "disruptive."

These are just a handful of the hundreds of stories parents and youth advocates shared .with U.S. Department of Education staffers ...
"I want... school districts to fight over the child with special needs," said Kevin O'Bryan, a father of a child with down's syndrome, who spoke at the Austin session. He's struggled to get his daughter the education she needs through TEA. "Let's put money out there to follow the child, instead of the child following the money."

Some speakers travelled over 300 miles to testify, sharing what seemed to be normalized stories of kids with well-documented developmental issues being turned away from special education programs again and again. Those who couldn't attend shared more than 250 lengthy stories on a website created by the Department of Education.
One mother wrote that after being told repeatedly that her daughter would "mature out" of her developmental learning issues and turned away from the special education programs, she eventually pulled her daughter out in 3rd grade to be homeschooled. Shortly after, she got a doctor's confirmation that her daughter was autistic. But it was too late, she wrote in a post.
"Because of her late diagnosis, she has missed out on crucial therapy and interventions that could have significantly positively impacted her life and her future."
From one of many blog comments:
Both of my adult children with autism have above average IQ’s and were placed in self-contained classrooms throughout their time in Texas. They came from inclusion settings in Maryland in elementary school and were immediately placed in self-contained when we moved to Texas, and I had to fight for three years to get them to TRY inclusion for one or more subjects. Self contained was the way they wanted to do things. Later on, moving on to Middle School, I had to bring a sample of what work they were doing when my kids were in middle school to an ARD. I was also working in kindergarten at the same time. Kindergarten and the middle school self contained class were using the SAME worksheets for science. My kids with the normal IQs were doing kindergarten work. It was ‘appropriate.’ I think not.