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School Planning Information for Children with Autism

Introduction

Entering your child with special needs into the public school system can be overwhelming.  The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provision of special education law ensures that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled.  School is important for every child, helping to create social skills and preparing them for adulthood (also see Jobs).  The school system is required to provide specially designed instruction (SDI), at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.  The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities stated that this may include instruction in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other setting.  Special education services may include speech-language pathology services, occupational therapy, physical therapy or any other related service, travel training, and vocational education.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written document for each child with a disability which outlines the specially designed instruction, services, goals, accommodations, modifications and transition services a student’s program will entail.  The information, goals and services within the IEP are based on the results of the evaluation, which determines eligibility or the results of a re-evaluation.  The IEP is created through the collaborative efforts of the IEP team which includes the parents of the student, regular education teacher(s), special education teacher(s), administrative designee, someone who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results, and any other knowledgeable person requested by the parents or school, and the student, if appropriate.

Related Sites

Wrights Law
Description:  Web site that provides accurate, up-to-date information about special education law and advocacy.

National Center for Learning Disabilities
Description:  The National Center for Learning Disabilities which provides all the information you need to understand the Special Education Process.

Special Education Lawyers
Description:  When is it time to hire a special education lawyer?

Planning to Transition to College, a Trade or Technical School
Description:  Site has lots of links with good information about continuing education after high school.

Center for Parent Information and Resources: All About the IEP
Description:  This gives an easy to understand explanation of the Individualized Education Plan or IEP process.

Transition Planning and College for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Description:  Successful transition planning and issues for college attendance for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder are highlighted.

Beyond High School: The Transition
Description:  Interactive Autism Network provides useful information for young adults with autism who are transitioning beyond high school.

Center for Parent Information and Resources: IDEA – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Description:  This website provides detailed information about The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA was set in place in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities were provided a free appropriate education, just like other children.

Books

Realizing the College Dream With Autism or Asperger Syndrome: A Parent's Guide to Student Success by Ann Palmer
Description:  Serving as an essential aid for parents with ASD children hoping to attend college, this book guides parents, students, and providers through the processes of getting in as well as remaining in the college environment.

School Success for Kids with High-Functioning Autism by Weinfeld, Silverman, and Kenworthy
Description:  Primarily for children with high-functioning autism, this book covers the top ten hurdles that students can overcome. Following these strategies will help individuals while in school and eventually in the workplace.

Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism by Andy Bondy and Mary Jane Weiss
Description:  The primary focus of this book is teaching children and adults with autism to develop better social skills. This book is a valuable source for teachers, therapists, and parents alike.

Asperger Syndrome and the Elementary School Experience: Practical Solutions for Academic & Social Difficulties by Susan Thompson Moore
Description:  Designed to help parents of elementary children with Asperger’s Syndrome, this book suggests adaptations in organization, curriculum, and social interactions. In addition, the relevance of communication between home and school is emphasized.

A Step-By-Step Curriculum for Early Learners with an Autism Spectrum Disorder [With CDROM] by Lindsay Hilsen
Description:  Created with parents, teachers, and therapists in mind, this book highlights three key components for early learners with autism: determining the child’s abilities, implementing the materials, and retaining the new skills acquired. Also, a CDROM providing an overview of the book’s content is included.

Tools

Parent Tips: Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher
Description:  Tips on what to ask your teacher before school starts, areas of concern, methods of communication, and other communication tips to make parent-teacher relationships trouble-free.

8 Steps to a Successful IEP Meeting: A Parent’s Guide to Strategic Planning for Children on the Autism Spectrum
Description:  This informative, comprehensive guide outlines in 8 steps how to have a successful IEP and meet all your goals.

Autism Advocacy and IEPs
Description:  A video of an autism advocate and disability lawyer sharing information about IEPs, parent’s rights and how to assert them.

The IEP Process Made Simple
Description:  An eight minute video that explains the 7 steps of the IEP.

Transition Planning for Students on the Autism Spectrum: Practical Ideas for High School
Description:  A video presentation for parents and professionals who are planning transition for students with autism from middle to high school.

Back to School Tips
Description:  Tips on how to prepare your child to getting back into the scheduling of school and how to prepare yourself.

Ten Common Mistakes Parents Make During the IEP Meeting
Description:  This is a non-profit by Kids Together, INC. which provides guidelines to help prepare you for your child’s IEP meeting.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: History and Summary
Description:  An easy to understand 7 minute video of IDEA in action.

Planning Life After High School for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Description:  This document from Tennessee outlines the transition process from high school to adulthood.

Communication with Teachers
Description:  Tips on how to go about talking to your child’s teachers before school begins. What to think about before you talk to teachers and what teachers should be aware of while teaching your child.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism and the Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Description:  Support group to discuss IEPs.

Forum/Blog Name:  Sensory Friends
Description:  Sensory Friends is a blog that provides technical assistance to self-advocates, parents, educators and professionals on the special education processes and best practices for increasing student achievement with effective parent involvement.

Forum/Blog Name:  Seattle Schools Community Forum
Description:  This forum focuses on news, issues, and inclusion in Seattle schools.

Forum/Blog Name:  The Wrightslaw Way to Special Education Law and Advocacy
Description:  Blog to find information and discuss special education and legal issues.