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!