Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Autism and Private School

My son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder label. He went through public school for 8 years and I have been very happy with their services. He had a parapro for the past 9 years.
He is high functioning and has been admitted to a private parochial High School as a Freshmen. They will modify his curriculum and he will receive a Certificate of Completion upon graduation.
My main concern is that private school does not have a lot of "Life-Skill" programs and I will have to finance his para-pro.  I wanted to find out if I could duel enroll him in Public School to attend shop classes or a Culinary Arts class. 
Lastly, I know public schools provide Auxillary Services to the high school like OT/Speech. Could they provide an auxiliary para-pro while attending private school since it is written into his IEP and private school  would be his least restrictive environment? 
You need to be working with a transition specialist on transition to high school and vocational prep. 
See information on autism and services: 
Read about the provision of services in private school. ( They can bus him from private to public vocational classes and auxiliary services, but that has to be in the IEP or ISP created with the district.) They will not provide a parapro in the private setting and can't use the private school staff to deliver services.
You also want to ask about speech services and an assistive technology plan. 
In high school,  he may get a counselor from State Rehabilitation Services, to work on his vocational training. Also see the link to info on transition planning. 
Once you read the info at the link above,  you'll be clear about your rights.  You don't want to cut the public schools out entirely. 
I suggest that you objectively visit and interview staff to compare both schools on services, curriculum, supports, culture and climate, and enrichment opportunities. Then place him where he'll get the greatest benefit. 
If he is high functioning, why the certificate of completion and not a diploma? Could he be employing assistive technology to better access the curriculum and communicate more effectively? A CoC eliminates college options. 
It is tough, but parents are the only ones who won't settle for less for their children.  Schools will always choose the practical and the convenient.  Your job is to see what he needs and to make it happen.  You're the orchestra conductor.


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