My 12 year old nonverbal son Matthew starts sixth grade at a Middle School in September. The homeschool for these grades was not acceptable to me so we had to go to Due Process. This took place at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. My main concern was to get into a school that follows the traditional school calendar of September through June. Los Angeles has year round schools with the offer starting a few days after school let out.
By that time I was already in summer camp mode so I did not get all the pertinent details on the class and school options. Once the six weeks of camp was over we took a week off before I delved into the school information. The school was getting new pavement so for two weeks it was closed and then trying to get anyone to answer in Special Education was not possible.
After several attempts I was able to talk someone in the office into mailing me the enrollment papers instead of having to fill these out with my son and his aide there. This preparation process is very necessary when taking a child on the autism spectrum to their new school for the open enrollment first come first serve four day bonanza. It is one of those times I wished there was special treatment for the special education students. I believe hearing my son screaming in the background with my pleading to make life easier for everyone at the office upon our arrival clinched obtaining these forms in the mail.
The forms were overwhelming, asking the years he attended other schools, what age when he first spoke, sat, crawled, fed himself. They wanted to know the dates of hospitalization and last visit to the Dentist. Other pertinent data like a court order about either parent, which I am bringing since I have sole physical and legal custody with the noncustodial parent on
supervised vistation per a custody evaluation years ago.
I put together a folder for the aide that will be taking the bus with my son. I have copies of both IEPs, a print out of the school calendar, a document I typed up with school name, address, phone number, bus route info, meal times and school hours. I also included the original copy of the document I had provided the Elementary School in using for a communication notebook.
I also taped the school picture of my son on the top of the folder and placed an English and a Spanish autism behavior card inside, as well as one of my business cards. I purchased two books about school buses and want one to be kept at school to help my son learn about the bus and as a reminder. I still need to look through my pecs resources to find a few bus picture cards for the schedule at school and his communication device.
I am hoping to have better communication with the school than with the two previous Elementary Schools. There is still the issue of toilet training at school and finding out if that takes place in the Nurse's office or regular restroom.
I was pleased with the information received from the Bus Supervisor when we talked last week. Hopefully it will be a Safe Bus, as well as a safe campus.
I do not want to overload the aide at the start of the school year, but I really feel two books he needs to peruse and share with the teacher/therapist is the one on the oral-motor program and the strategies at hand laminated bookcards that is portable and has tips on assemblies and fire drills.
I am also planning on going over the Basic Skills Checklist book with the aide to see which ones would be useful to new teacher and therapists.
I have typed out a list of questions for the enrollment tomorrow and what does not get answered will hopefully be addressed at the orientation the following night. I tried several times to schedule a tour and was told to just do it after we enroll. I hope they realize this will not be a quick walk through.