Saturday, June 15, 2013

Autism, and Choices

"He's high functioning."

Many people talk to me about LRE (Least Restrictive Environment).  "You need to make sure your son is in the regular classroom" "You need to make him go there, he needs to develop those social skills."

But what do you do when your son hates the general ed classroom?

He begs to not go. When he does go, he does one thing, like standing on a chair, screaming, something... to get sent back to his class with his fellow autism buddies.

Yet, in the great state of North Carolina... if he's in the autism (AU) class, he's ineligible for a high school diploma. He gets a 'certificate of attendance'. Even if he is on standard curriculum (which he is).

I struggle with this.

He advocates for himself, which I have encouraged.

He doesn't want to be in the general ed class. He wants to be with his buddies who have autism. I get it. He has so much fun with them (even if he is a little toot and takes their stuff so they have to interact with them).

I am stuck.

I want him to be happy, and to be making progress. Which he is, undoubtedly.

But I am dead set on him getting that high school diploma.

He will do amazing things. I have zero doubt in that. But he needs that diploma.

We may be looking into private schools in the next few years, even though *I* work in public schools. A sad testament to the system.
It is what it is, though, and we do what we have to do for our children to succeed.

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Kate is a parent and advocate for her child with special needs. She blogs at Who Turned Out the Lights.