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  • just a conservative girl 3:14 PM on 09/22/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: autism, , disabled children, i stand with henry, , self advocate   

    I Stand with Henry 

    Meet Henry.  He is fighting for his right to go to school.  This isn’t about school choice as the school is directly across the street.  This is about Henry’s disabilities.  He is learning, hearing, and talking impaired due to Autism.  But he is obviously a very smart young man, he communicated with his tablet and specialized software.  The school system has decided that they are not the right place for his type of disabilities.  This is a clear violation of the law.  But the Florida school system could care less.

    The public school systems in this country discriminate against developmentally disabled children all the time.  It is a common occurrence, especially since the law in most states is written to make it virtually impossible for the parents to fight back.  Each case must be heard individually in a court of law.  The school systems have attorneys that they have on retainer.  Parents do not.  The costs to fight these rulings are sometimes out of reach for the everyday American family.

    Henry want to go to class and be like other kids, something that is important to most young adults.  They want to fill in.  While this isn’t something that I think is great thing, but it is an understandable thing.  This young man has many impediments in front of him, the last one should be discrimination coming from the very public school system that his parents pay taxes to fund.

    It may be possible that Henry will not able to do well in this environment.  He may need a different approach to his education pursuits.  But why isn’t he being given the chance to succeed?  Why is Hillsborough County School refusing to even give this boy a chance?

    I understand the resources are limited in a public school system, but it seem to me that those resources are best utilized on a student who is as eager to learn as Henry as.

    I Stand with Henry.  After watching this video I think you may want to as well.  (Sorry, I can’t get it to embed for some reason)

     watch?v=rtRTEdV8qtc&feature=relmfu

    Give this young man a chance to prove what he is made of.  Here is his Facebook page if you care to stand with too.

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    • SignPainterGuy 6:30 PM on 09/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

      The kid has “special needs” and most every school has a special ed. class (or more), so does this case rate “extra-” special needs ?

      Everyone is required to pay property taxes and by law a portion of those taxes paid must go to the local school district. IMO, this warrants a special dispensation, a variance of the requirement of this family to pay a portion of their Prop. Tax that would go to their sch. dist. because the school system “refuses” to educate the child and if the child GETS an education, the parents will have to fund it all themselves, at special school(s) or at home. Perhaps some org. would help, but it`s clear the school system is NO HELP at all !

    • just a conservative girl 6:47 PM on 09/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

      Actually many schools across the country no longer have special needs programs. The new in thing is to “mainstream” the child. In most cases that is effective. Sadly, in others it harms the child. Most state (it could be federal) law says what ever the per pupil cost is, it must be given to the child to attend another school if their local school cannot help them. But I can tell you from experience getting that money isn’t easy.

      This is why mainstreaming the child is not always a good thing, because it makes it harder on the teacher if they need to give special attention to one child, it takes away from all the other children. But in this case this child really wants to learn. He is obviously very smart, his body just doesn’t cooperate in the same fashion as yours does.

      But this is just one more thing that needs to change in the public school system. This little boy should be able to go to his local school, if nothing else let him try. Maybe it won’t work, but he should be given the opportunity to try.

      • SignPainterGuy 7:14 PM on 09/22/2012 Permalink | Reply

        Agreed !

      • Gina 9:47 PM on 09/24/2012 Permalink | Reply

        It might make the teacher do their job ‘better’ but every teacher should be making individual adjustments for every child. and NO it won’t take away form the other children it will enrich the other children. The research shows that ALL students do better in an inclusive setting just as a community does better in an INCLUSIVE society. You have just managed to trot out all the stereotype fear campaigns that seem to have a hold on such a vast majority of society. Mainstreaming is not a fad or a ‘new thing’ it is evolution! When you know better you do better.
        And rarely ‘mainstreaming’ harms a child – the reality is that people in positions of power and responsibility harm a child (ie teachers/administrators/para educators) either by action or inaction.

    • Trisha 7:04 PM on 09/23/2012 Permalink | Reply

      The local school sent us a letter the summer we were to enroll my son in kindergarten. Neighbors had complained about him to the school, and the letter suggested that perhaps we could “find another situation” for educating our son. He has autism and at age five was a runner and threw anything he could get his hands on. We sent him to a private kindergarten where he circled the classroom and threw paint but happily he only got loose once and was caught immediately. He became friends with a boy who has fragile X and they rolled down the choir stand like puppies during the Thanksgiving pageant. We took him home and home-schooled after he was not passed to first grade. We moved to another school district, he entered school in fourth grade at grade level, we moved to another state for high school where the school was inclusive, and he is now in college.

      I now work as a resource teacher in the inclusive school and enjoy my students with autism. Our school is somewhat well-funded in comparison to the school that declined to accept my son, and we know how to make the dollars stretch. Our resource classes are relatively large so it is difficult to give any child extra attention. Each family has to make choices as to how best to serve their children and I am happy that we did not force the issue with the original school. If Hillsborough county does not have funding for an aide to accompany Henry during much of his day it might not be safe for Henry. Special Ed is often an unfunded mandate and some schools don’t have resources to secure extra funding.

      • just a conservative girl 7:35 PM on 09/23/2012 Permalink | Reply

        Trisha:
        Your son was allowed to try, that is the difference. He has a service dog. He should be allowed to try for one semester. If it doesn’t work for him then his parents can find another way to get him his education.

        I am glad that your son was able to find a school that worked for him. I just want to see Henry given that same opportunity.

    • Lauri 5:45 PM on 09/26/2012 Permalink | Reply

      HI, I’m Henry’s mom, thank you for writing about this. Henry too was turned away from an elementary school and I helped start an elementary charter school to provide a “welcoming” environment for Henry. Henry is actually a very mellow and smart kid who happens to be non-verbal. He is Autistic, he is hearing impaired, he is physically impaired, he is a joy, he is Henry. We have offered to provide an aide and any services Henry requires because he wants to go to school with his neighbors and be challenged academically. He deserves the same chance that every other person has. We support and applaud his advocating for this rights.We have always provided an education for Henry and will continue to do so, but discrimination and segregation based on disability labels is wrong. It needs to stop now. Henry has gone into this knowing that things may not change for him, but he wants to do what’s right for everyone.

    • Jackie 6:30 PM on 09/28/2012 Permalink | Reply

      I think it’s ridiculous while ungrateful neurotypicals are allowed to go to public schools,where they will slack off in class and waste all their time talking, that a student who wants to learn can’t go to school. The reason we’re falling behind other countries in regards to education, is our schools have become a daycare for over social blabbermouth neurotypicals.

      If we made less accommodations for neurotypical’s “special needs” like social time, or a place to go and chat about nothing, we would have the money to support the mentally disabled students who WANT to learn.

      People say those with Autism are unintelligent, we’re not the ones gossiping during class time, distracting the class with shenanigans, or being bullies. We’re the ones who deserve an education, not Neurotypicals who could care less about getting one!

  • just a conservative girl 1:47 PM on 07/20/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , disabled children, medication, , , ,   

    Slippery Slope of Liberalism Part 5 

    I have been kind of taking the easy way with my blogging of late, posting quotes and videos.  So I have been saving up my commentary.  So here it is.

    I came across this article  the other day.  The federal government is actually paying people to drug their children.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Apparently there is a program that many are more than likely unfamiliar with that gives low-income families money to help care for disabled children.  Wonderful right?  Not so much when you consider how far to the extreme this program has been taken.

    It started out with what was probably very good intentions, as many government programs do.  Low income families that are caring for children with disabilities such as Cerebal Palsy and Down’s Syndrome don’t always have extra money that these children sometimes need.  Especially in the case of CP, where you will be taking your ill child to the doctors at a more regular clip than with a child without this illness.  CP is fatal and requires a great deal more medical care.  Children with Down’s in some cases will also sometimes need additional care.  Child care sometimes can be more difficult to find and more expensive, not all public schools have the ability to care for these children and private schools are the only option.  Most people with Down’s are perfectly capable of being mainstreamed, but some are not.  There is a Social Security Insurance program that will offer families some financial aid to help offset some of these costs.  I personally have no problem with that.  These children need care and not all of these kids are born into families that can afford that care.  These are the types of government programs that I can get behind.  That is until they start being abused.

    Which is exactly what has happened with this program.  We now are seeing families going out of their way to find “disabilities” to attach to their child.  Not only are they doing that, they are also upping the chances of receiving the money by getting their children on medications.  There are rises in families that are applying for children with ADHD especially.

    Now, I don’t fall into the category of people who say that children should never be medicated for ADHD.  Some do need it.  I have no doubts about that and will make that argument to anyone who disagrees.  What I do have a problem with is the haphazard way we have gone about getting the proper diagnosis and the knee-jerk reaction we have to put the child on a ritalin like med.  There was a study that concluded that as many as 1 million children are misdiagnosed with ADHD and given stimulants:

    “Many ADHD diagnoses may be driven by teachers’ perceptions of poor behavior among the youngest children in a kindergarten classroom, but these ‘symptoms’ may merely reflect emotional or intellectual immaturity among the youngest students.”

    Apparently the cut off dates of when children are allowed to enter kindergarten have something to do with the diagnosis the study has found.  The younger the child is compared to other children in the class the more likely they are to be labeled as ADHD.  The family then can turn around and call their child disabled and get the money that is being offered in this program.

    Eventually she did, putting in applications for her two older sons. Neither was on medications; both were rejected. Then last year, school officials persuaded her to let her 10-year-old try a drug for his impulsiveness. Within weeks, his SSI application was approved.

    “To get the check,’’ Fielding, 34, has concluded with regret, “you’ve got to medicate the child.’

    Oh, but this gets worse.  The payments become so attractive to some families that keeping your child labeled as disabled becomes the priority.

    And once a family gets on SSI, it can be very hard to let go. The attraction of up to $700 a month in payments, and the near-automatic Medicaid coverage that comes with SSI approval, leads some families to count on a child’s remaining classified as disabled, even as his or her condition may be improving. It also leads many teenage beneficiaries to avoid steps — like taking a job — that might jeopardize the disability check.

    One nurse practitioner in a large urban clinic who asked to be unnamed because she is not authorized to speak about her patients said she recently faced the wrath of a parent whose 4-year-old child’s SSI benefits, granted at birth due to prematurity, were cut off because the child was much better now. The nurse said she had candidly filled out the SSI form about the child, saying the boy had caught up with his peers and had only “minimal deficits.’’ The mother was livid, shouting at her, “Don’t you think this child’s disabled?’’

    “They get angry with us,’’ the nurse practitioner said.

    One diagnosis she believes is seriously overused is “the whole vague developmental delay’’ category for young children, often preschoolers who are behaving badly at home or in day care for undetermined reasons. She said clinicians often attribute such behavior to developmental delay, especially if they are sympathetic to that family’s needs for SSI payments.

    It is very difficult when you have financial problems.  They can become overwhelming and sometimes people come to believe that there is no way out of them.  I get that.  I have sympathy for people who find themselves in these situations.  But to put your young child on drugs is not the answer.

    A new trend in the psychology field is give children as young as 3 a lifelong diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.  Of course once this diagnosis is in place, they have a life filled with medications; very strong medications.  The increase in the numbers of children who are diagnosed with this is simply stunning:

    I have been a child psychiatrist for nearly five decades and have seen diagnostic fads come and go. But I have never witnessed anything like the tidal wave of unwarranted enthusiasm for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children that now engulfs the public and the profession. Before 1995, bipolar disorder, once known as manic-depressive illness, was rarely diagnosed in children; today nearly one-third of all children and adolescents discharged from child psychiatric hospitals are diagnosed with the disorder and medicated accordingly. The rise of outpatient office visits for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 20,000 in 1994–95 to 800,000 in 2002–03. A Harvard child-psychiatry group led by Dr. Joseph Biederman, a prominent supporter of the diagnosis, recently insisted, “Juvenile bipolar disorder is a serious illness that is estimated to affect approximately 1 percent to 4 percent of children.”

    The more serious the illness, the higher the likelihood of your application being accepted becomes.

    As I said, there are children out there who do need to medicated for a period of time.  But this very well-intentioned program has turned poor parents into drug dealers for their children in order to get money.  Instead of helping these parents find their way out of poverty, we have labeled their children as disabled and mentally ill.  Sadly, some of those labels will stick with these children for life.  Big government at its finest.

     
    • Gail Meek 10:17 PM on 07/20/2012 Permalink | Reply

      I truly agree with you. I have seen it myself. They are using money that could be helping those families who so desperately need it to take care of children with the serious disabilities you mentioned. In our Juvenile Court, we had a mother who was deliberately overfeeding her child to make him obese and have high blood pressure. He was huge for his age and size and on SSI. She was angling for permanent disability. She was finally found out when she advised one of her relatives to do the same and the relative turned her in. That was child abuse. The little guy was miserable and ashamed of the way he looked. He ended up being taken from her for a period of time, not sure if he was returned, I lost touch with the case. Any time a child is acting up, having a hard time in school or life, we are too quick to look for a “diagnosis” and way too easy to chock it up to “something they can’t help”. Sometimes it might be, but I’m not convinced it is the problem most of the time.

  • just a conservative girl 3:04 PM on 05/08/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: disabled children,   

    A Little Inspiration for Mother’s Day 

    There is nothing harder than to watch your disabled child struggle with things that other children take for granted.  But, there is nothing more touching watching others who may not really understand the difficulties that your child goes through pick them up and help them out. 

    A Very Happy Mother’s Day to those out there who know that these children are so precious. 

     
    • Teresa 4:13 PM on 05/08/2011 Permalink | Reply

      That was magnificent! So beautiful! Happy Mother’s Day!

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