Emotionally Disturbed…

I had an IEP meeting last Wednesday to determine the classification (label) that the Roc will have attached to him so he can continue to get the services he needs because he didn’t qualify for an educational label of autism (so stupid).

There are only a few labels he could have.  Autism, which they already determined he doesn’t qualify for, read about that here.  Learning Disabled, which he doesn’t qualify for (yet) because he’s not showing any academic issues, Other Health Impaired, for those children with things that the school district cannot diagnose, like ADHD, OCD, FA, and/or physical disabilities, and Emotionally Disturbed…

That is the label they are going to give the Roc at school.  Emotionally disturbed.  It sounds terrible, it sounds like something that I, his mother, inflicted upon him.  Emotionally disturbed my ass.

He has AUTISM!

Their logic is that the problems he presents at school are for the most part behavioral and so he falls under that category.  I was so shocked, I thought they were going to label him learning disabled, that I LAUGHED in the meeting.  I asked the psychologist to stop and said “Are you telling me that you are going to label my son, who has Autism, as Emotionally Disturbed?!!  Are you kidding me?  You’ve got to be kidding me!!”  Then I put my face in my hands and laughed.  My stomach was in my toes and I felt like crying but I was sitting there laughing at the injustice of it all.  The laws in this state are so backwards.  He isn’t “Autistic enough” for the Delaware Autism Program so he cannot have the label of Autism, but he has Autism, and the modifications they make for him at school are because of his Autism.  The challenging behaviors he presents both at home and at school are because of his Autism.

I was afraid to tell GC when he got home but his response was not what I expected.  He said “Ahhh, Delaware, I wouldn’t expect anything less of this great state.  I don’t care what they call him, as long as they help him be successful.”  He’s right.  I haven’t signed off on this yet, but if I don’t he won’t get services, so I feel stuck.  My mother suggested that I add an addendum to the IEP stating that I am signing off on the classification but that the Roc has a medical diagnosis of Autism and give that information so it is in his “file.”  I think it’s a good idea and I plan to bring that to our meeting on Thursday when we do the Functional Behavior Assessment.

I told the IEP team that I’m seriously considering sending the Roc to the first day of school in a shirt that says “I’m not emotionally disturbed, I have Autism.”  I know that I won’t, there will be kids in his class that can read, but I am going to talk to the teacher as soon as I can and let him/her know about the Roc’s Autism and how bassackwards this state is.

Emotionally Disturbed.  I’m Emotionally Disturbed!


8 thoughts on “Emotionally Disturbed…

  1. Actually, I think the shirt is a grand idea. Perhaps a week’s worth of shirts … One that says Autism, equals sign with a strike thru, emotionally disturbed… another, Emotionally disturbed? You haven’t SEEN emotionally disturbed YET!

    I also think the addendum is appropriate. You have to sign it to get him the services (how much would they LOVE it if they weren’t required to offer any services?)

    And yes, I think we parents all qualify as emotionally disturbed following an IEP meeting. Oy.

  2. I too, think the addendum is appropriate. Now I’m wondering – there are ways to sign off on parts of IEPs, but not other parts, but I can’t think of a way to do that in your case. Maybe someone wiser than me can help there.

    In any case, what they did totally SUCKED.

    Now, for reality, the school cannot legally share that “label” with anyone outside of the system. And, that “label” will get him services, goals, and accomodations. So focus on that.

    Take a day to recover, then start on the addendum on Wednesday.

    And I totally agree with pixiemama. Oy.

  3. I don’t even know what to say Kim, that is beyond ridiculous. Thank God Roc has you fighting in his corner.

  4. omg, that’s ridiculous. I don’t know what ED in your area is designated as, but what criteria of theirs does the Roc match that allows them to use that label? I am blown away. Like autism isn’t enough? I think I’d definitely ask for an addendum or notation showing that he has a diagnosis of autism. We had an IEP two weeks ago, and there is over a page of notes about ds’s behaviors and what we’re going to do added to the back of the IEP. There’s gotta be a way you can do that too.

    One thing I did ask the staff about at the meeting was what they do if they have an asperger’s diagnosis. (My son has classic autism, not asperger’s, but it came up in the meeting and I was curious.) After a little back and forth, one staffer informed me that while they feel ds’s issues are autism-related, and therefore he still qualifies for the label, the second choice would have been emotionally disturbed. I too don’t like the wording, but I guess if it gets the services he needs to succeed in school, we go with it and know the real truth for when it matters.

    Good luck to you. I’m still shaking my head over that.

  5. Not 2 days ago I was sitting in your shoes but here in California (high functioning 5 year old boy). Yet again I find myself spending hours, going into days, researching trying to make sure they’re not trying to pull a fast one.

    I have read that in some states that once labeled ED that you cannot qualify for services under label Autism. If the ED label is reversed, you may end up “emotionally disturbed” too. But don’t quote me on the comment. I’m still researching.

  6. I am in the same situation right now with my son. He has been labeled as ED in the school and has a previous high functioning autism diagnosis from a professional psychiatrist. I am very upset because I do not think that my son is ED but I do think he needs services to be successful.

  7. do the services change between a label of autism and ED? My son is 7 and has been receiving services under an autism label but in his testing before his IEP meeting i got a scale for assessing emotional disturbance form to fill out. If they try to change him to ED does his services change as well? why would they want to change it what difference does it make?

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