My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

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My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

Postby dana19 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:46 am

My daughter will be 17 in March and hasn't done any school work her entire year because her aide isn't removed. She is in the 11th grade, has ASD, is in general education since 9th grade, and has an aide with her all day. She harassed me all summer to remove the aide. She asked me to write a letter to the school to remove the aide but they didn't. Ever since then my daughter has flat out refused to do her schoolwork for the entire year. She comes to school and just sits on her desk doing nothing. I progressively took away everything. She has nothing except a bed blanket and some simple clothes. No TV, internet, friends, anything. The school calls me EVERY DAY telling me my daughter refuses to do her work. I had to go to so many meetings with the school. It's driving me crazy. Some 2 months ago I told her not to talk to me about removing the aide. But recently while she was suspended for hitting the aide I told her to just listen to her teachers and do her work, and she started arguing with me. I can't go to the school every 2 weeks. I have more important things to worry about. My mother has severe Alzheimer's and can't be on her own. I also have a part time job from home. At one of the meetings I asked why they didn't listen to her and remove the aide. They said the aide is to protect her so kids won't bully her. In elementary school kids harassed her so many times (I talked to the school about it, they did nothing) so in 5th grade she harassed the kids back CONSTANTLY. Her middle school said they will make sure she won't be bullied again and gave her an aide. It was the schools decision, not mine. I go to a psychotherapist every week and suggest she come to resolve this situation but she won't until the aide is removed. When we dragged her there (this happened only once) she just refused to talk to the therapist.

She has been suspended for spitting at the aide, throwing things at her, and was once arrested for hitting the aide. I had to pick her up at the police station. Even this morning she said if she sees the aide she will punch her and doesn't care about consequences. She has been in general ed since 9th grade and was doing great. She did all her work. She stopped going to counseling and OT at 9th grade because "I'm not retarded" but still did well academically and never had significant behavior issues until now. Last year she asked me a few times to remove the aide but I didn't. She begged me all summer to remove the aide. Then when school started she asked me to write a letter to remove the aide. I did. That day the school called me and asked if my daughter made me write the letter. I told them my daughter asked me to write the letter and has been begging me all summer to remove the aide. I asked her a few times why she doesn't want to have an aide. The response is either she's not retarded or doesn't need a babysitter. I told her I go to psychotherapy every week and I'm not retarded. I already wrote a letter to the school asking them to remove the aide. I don't want to fight the school. I have to worry about my mother who can't be left alone. My husband works. I told her I can arrange psychotherapy for her "not until I remove the aide." Any advice is appreciated.

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Re: My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

Postby Santosg » Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:00 pm

It is obvious that your daughter finds having an aide humiliating. If she has otherwise normal faculties, I totally understand why. I'm not judging our blaming you, but when a child asks with such persistance to have something done I think it is worth listening.

I can only imagine how busy your life is taking care of your mother in additional to your responsibilities as a child and husband. I don't think that you have a very close relationship with school staff or administrators. You need to have more contact and you also need to be more assertive. When they ask 'did your daughter make you write that letter' it is very telling. Whether she did or not, the question is whether you support her desire to become more independent. The only discussion with the school should be about finding ways to make it happen.

The school might want to keep an aide in place because your daughter can become violent. If that is the reason, it is perfectly understandable why they don't seem to want to even consider removing the aide. However, this only creates a vicious cycle as the aide is what triggers her violence.

I would consider positive reinforcement and not just negative reinforcement. With the school, come with a series of agreements with your daughter to effectively allow her aide to be removed from the classroom. Maybe the aide only comes into the classroom for a day if the teacher feels that your daughters behavior is deteriorating. That way, she's got an incentive to listen and behave. Also, make sure that to keep from having an aide her homework must be done in a timely manner. Give her more responsibilities, have her things that she can work toward to gain her sense of independence. Place the consequences of her actions on her shoulders. Right now, if she asks for something the answer is always no. So, she does not care about the consequences because none of them actually positively resolve her problem.

I would also consider looking into getting her a part time job, allow her to keep part of the money to be used entirely at her discretion, help her find a way to build her self esteem and quiet the rage. Your daughter is 16, not 10. You'll be an adult--legally and biologically--sooner than you realize. It is time to help prepare her for an adulthood she feels is her own, that helps make her stronger. Step back and just ask what you want for your daughters life in the future and help her achieve it.

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Re: My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

Postby amndzon » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:26 am

I hear your frustration in your post. You are in a rough place with being between your daughter and her needs and wants and what is going on with the school. You might want to hire or contact an advocate to act as a go-between for you. Usually an advocate can cut through a lot of the nonsense and get to the root of the problem with the school and you can then take a step back.

The school, most likely, does not want to have to pay for the aide, so they must have a real reason why they are insisting on keeping one for your daughter. The school may be more willing to discuss this with an advocate. Your daughter can focus on the advocate as an ally. Are there a number of aides that help your daughter or just the same one? It could be an issue with the aide she has, maybe it just isn't a good fit.

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Re: My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

Postby cuteelf » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:24 pm

Is your daughter able to completely function throughout the day (including going to and from classes, doing her work, and meeting her schedule) without an aide?
Is she comfortable enough around other students her age to not need an aide?

If the answer to both of these questions are 'yes' and you feel she no longer needs an aide then I would request a meeting with the school's ESE coordinator (every school is required to have one). You can request changes be made to her IEP including removing the provision that she needs an aide with her at all times. Changes to her IEP should be able to be made at any time of the school year (depending on the state). You go into the meeting with the ESE coordinator, speech therapist (if she has one within the school), at least one teacher from a core subject (English, Math, science, or Social Studies), and sometimes a school administrator. If you wish your daughter may be present as well, but if you would rather she not attend that should be able to be arranged as well. If it is decided that your daughter maintain her aide you can request for the reasons why.

This is best if handled by you in person, you may need to see if you can get someone to watch your mother for an hour or two. If you do get an advocate, you should still show up yourself as the parent has much more say then the advocate (though they may offer support).

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Re: My 16 y/o autistic daughter refused to do school work for the entire year

Postby DC1346 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:28 am

if you're in the States, it sounds as though your child is in a 504 plan. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), children in special education programs are required by Federal law to have an annual IEP, (Individual Education Plan) with the supervising special education teacher, the classroom teachers, and the building administrator. This meeting is typically held towards the end of the school year (for children already in a program) and it's your opportunity as a parent to express your concerns regarding whether the current program is working for your child. If the program is not working, the IEP is your opportunity to speak up and to advocate for your child.

Sadly the 504 plan is different from an IEP. The biggest difference is that a 504 plan is supposed to provide "reasonable accommodation" in a regular classroom setting. This plan is supposed to be monitored by classroom teachers. While parental involvement is legally required by IDEA, it is not required for a 504 plan.

With this being said, your child does have rights under the law. Under 504, students qualify for a 504 plan if they have physical or mental impairments that affect or limit any of their abilities to:

walk, breathe, eat, or sleep
communicate, see, hear, or speak
read, concentrate, think, or learn
stand, bend, lift, or work

The school is legally required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to help meet your child's needs. Examples of reasonable accommodation include preferential seating, reduced assignments, modified textbooks, adjusted class schedules or grading, oral testing, excused tardiness, having access to a time out center etc.

The purpose of a 504 plan is to allow special education students who have been mainstreamed into a regular education environment to have their needs met through the aforementioned "reasonable accommodations." The key point here is that IF STUDENTS CANNOT SUCCEED with their existing plan, the school is required to adjust the plan or to consider alternative settings such as transferring your child into a self contained special education program or providing a private or even a residential program.

I'm sorry to say that the letter you sent was not sufficient. Letters go missing and in some cases, they're easy to either ignore or to forget. You may have to talk to your school administration in person. I understand that you don't want to fight the school but you may need to stand up for your daughter if the system is failing her.

I want you to know that you do have rights under the law.

Under 504, if you can't work things out with your school, these are your options.

1) You may request an ADR - alternative dispute resolution. This typically involves mediation with a neutral third party between yourself and the school. Be aware that not all states offer ADR for 504 disputes.

2) Section 504 says that if you and the school disagree over your child's program, the school must give you the option of an impartial hearing. This is your opportunity for you to express your concerns. Think of it as an appearance before a grand jury. You will need to bring evidence to support your claims that things haven't worked out for your daughter. Include report cards, letters or emails from teachers, a copy of the suspension form etc. Make your case that the 504 isn't working. To secure an impartial hearing, you will need to formally request a hearing through a letter to the school district, not the school. You may address it to the school district's superintendent.

If you attend an impartial hearing, be aware that it will be overseen by an objective and impartial hearing officer. You will be notified of a date, time, and location for you to meet. You have the right to hire an attorney and to have an attorney present at the hearing. You also have the right to appeal any decision.

3) Office for Civil Rights Complaints: Another option for a 504 dispute is to file a written complaint with the Office for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Education. The letter is really simple. You state in your letter that the school has violated Section 504 and you explain how your child has been failed by the system UNDER THE LAW. You must file the complaint within 180 days of the violation. If you need assistance in writing this letter, you should consult an attorney because the OCR is only concerned with violations of the law. They typically don't address instructional content.

4) The choice of last resort is a civil lawsuit against the school and the district. You should file a lawsuit if you believe that your school has discriminated against your child because of her disability. You don't need to attend an alternative dispute resolution or to have an impartial hearing prior to filing a law suit. You will need to have a strong case if you decide to go to court and you will definitely need an attorney.

The best thing for you to do at this point is to research your rights and your child's rights under the 504 plan. Once you understand your rights, you need to advocate for your child using the aforementioned options.

Best wishes,


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