The one beautiful thing about having a child on the autism spectrum is that you never stop learning. Today’s lesson was not given by Kaitlyn though. Instead, it was the local school district.
For the record, the school district feels it can deny reassignment requests without providing a valid reason or offering alternatives. Nice to know. Also nice to know is that some people in the district office are clearly ignorant of autism spectrum disorders, and allow their ignorance to cloud their judgement.
The lesson for today is that school district policy can apparently define “disability” when it comes to providing services. Having a professional diagnosis is not sufficient, and does not mean a thing to them. Because Kaitlyn is on the autism spectrum, she is, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled. One one think that the designation, coupled with the definition of “disabled” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) would qualify her for services in our school district. We’re not talking anything over the top, just allowing her to have a teacher next year that has an autism endorsement…someone who took the time and effort to become specialized in teaching children with autism. According to the school district, that is flawed logic on my part. So is my citing, verbatum, Supreme Court decisions regarding just that.
I am going to continue to fight for Kaitlyn to get the best possible teacher in the fall, and have already spoken to a nice lady at the Florida Department of Education and a nice man at the U.S. Department of Education. I will not sit idly by and allow Kaitlyn to be subject to ridicule because her Asperger’s makes her classroom experience different from others. At this point, I am fighting not only for Kaitlyn, but for other autistic children, because if they treat my daughter this way and I am a thorn in their side, imagine how they treat the kids with parents that take the first rejection and move on. Kaitlyn teaches me everyday what intense, unconditional love is, and I owe the same to her in all aspects of her life.