Help Aidan get the education he deserves...
Organized by: catherine kramer
My son Aidan is extremely bright and loving. All of the support staff that he has ever worked with has said he is an exception boy. Aidan is currently 8 years old. He is in the second grade and he struggles with the Autism Spectrum disorder, formerly know,as Asperger's Syndrome. For those of you who may be unformiliar with this type of autism, it is charaterised as "high functioning" autism, (even though I am not comfortable with that definition). Aidan does not fit the most common stereotype thought of as a child with autism. We had a difficult time getting a proper diagnosis for him. We knew there was a problem, but couldn't get answers until we were finally seen by the development pediatric center at CHOP, ( children's hospital of philadelphia.) Since his, diagnosis in 2013, we have been able to take advantage of many therapeutic services which had allowed us to teach Aidan and the people who love him the skills to help him deal with the issues which give him difficulty. However, his biggest hurdle, his elementary school, had been one that we have not been able to solve. We have an educational attorney and are in the process of obtaining an alternative neuropsychologic acessment so that we have concrete evidence about what Aidan's strengths and weaknesses are and where he needs additional assistance within a school setting. Unfortunately, we have run into nothing but hostility and denial of services within within his current school even though that PA state law requires that he be given any and all necessary services to allow him to be successful student. We are hoping for an alternative placement in a specialized shool that is nearby, which provides children with learning differences an opportunity to excell with an extremely flexible curiculum. The school has very small class sizes, OT, SPEECH and interaction with other students that have gone through similar social issues. This helps all the students bond over having felt different in their regular school settings. I feel strongly, that the case we have with the attorney will eventually rule in our favor. Unfortunately, the process which has to be followed, in order to get the school district to pay for this private placement has already taken more than 2 years. Aidan has reached a point where he is so frustrated, by his lack of support that it is difficult to even get him to go to school every morning. The never ending morning fights are ripping us apart. I feel horrible sending him to a school when he is not supported appropriately. He feels lost and helpless that this frustration has no end in sight. If it were up to me, I would take him out of this school tomorrow, but the tuition costs are impossible for a single, disabled mother. Just a few of the obstacles that prove that his current school is not capable to provide for his needs. 1) they have refused to use his Autism diagnosis on his IEP, BC they feel that his "clinical" diagnosis of autism does not affect his ability to access his education in the classroom. Even though he has a communication book that goes to and from the classroom every day which almost daily speaks of autism related behaviors which have disrupted his work or others work within the class. 2) Aidan is regularly teased and separated from the other children during recess and gym which make him feel even more like and outsider bc his vocabulary is more avanced than the other 2nd graders, yet understanding of social behaviors of 2nd grade are baffling to him. 3) Aidan is bored by the strict and repetative nature of the common core teaching methods. He learns the processes after the first or second explainations, yet the program spends the next 2 weeks showing additional options to solve the same problems. This would be a good method for students who have a difficulty understanding an abstract concept, but if you already understand the process, it only draggs out moving on to the next lesson. He winds up getting in trouble for refusing to take part in learning several other methods to do the same problems. Or just loses interest and begins to interfere with other students. 4) A child with Aidan's form of autism is easily distracted by every pencil that falls and every page that is turned. Having 20 kids in the classroom is overwhelming to his already overloaded sensory system and does not allow him to focus on the tasks at hand. Instead of finding alternative ways to change his environment, the teachers punish him for dawdling and improper use of his time. They make him finish his work at recess or send it home to be done as homework. So in light of just these few examples, I implore anyone who is able, to help me pull Aidan from the elementary school that is stealing his love of learning as soon as possible and place him in a school that was developed for students like Aidan. His current school has the the goal to have Aidan make progress to become a student that performs as an average level student. According to the accessment done by the school itself, his IQ is in the superior and high superior ranges. Yet, they do not have interest in haveing him reach a possible exceptional level of education. He deserves a chance to reach his full potential, no matter what that is. However, it seems that the only way he will be given this opportunity is to go to another school who has the clarity and experience to know that learning differences do not mean incapable of learning. Please make any donation that you can to help me place my son in the alternation school now, instead of having to wait for the red tape of the lawyers and the school district to finally get around to making it possible. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read our story, and if possible making a donation to help Aidan move to an appropriate educational setting. Any little bit helps, and we are thankful for your kindness.