Parents and Special Education
Parents play an important role in the education of their children, especially parents of children who are identified as having disabilities. The law requires that parents and school personnel work together to provide children with appropriate educational services.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process,
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the educational program that has been designed to meet that child's unique needs. Each child who receives special education and related services must have an IEP. Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when age appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities.
Richmond Public Schools offers the full range of special education and related services for our students with autism. As is the case with all students with disabilities, the IEP team decides the goals to be addressed and the accommodations and services to be provided. As a result of IEP team decisions, many of our students spend all or part of the day in general education with supports as defined by their IEP. Students with more intensive support needs may receive instruction for part of the day in a special education setting. Related services, such as speech and occupational therapy, are provided in a variety of environments, including special education classrooms and general education classrooms.
Autism is a disorder that will impact a person throughout their lifetime. Deficits in the areas of communication, social competence and restrictive or repetitive behaviors or thoughts will likely remain factors in determining what type of classroom setting the student will learn in, as well as determining what level of independence the student will have as an adult. Even at a young age, it is important to stress independence for any age appropriate activity. While the focus in preschool and elementary school may be on transitioning between activities on their own, using the proper utensils at meal time, completing the steps of a bathroom routine, learning to ask appropriately for help, managing their own belongings like their lunchbox, backpack and coat these goals shift as the student gets older. Transitioning, organization, and problem solving may continue to be areas to address in middle and high school, but the focus shifts to more age appropriate skills. These may include using public transportation to get to a job site, recording and completing homework assignments, keeping materials from six different classes organized and using problem solving related to social skills and independent living. Building independence is a lifelong process that varies widely from student to student.
Sibling and Family Support
A diagnosis of Autism not only effects the child with Autism, it has a significant impact on the day to day lives of all of the people surrounding him or her. The following links provide information and resources to families living with an ASD diagnosis.