Our fight with the school district continues. For going on two months now, we have been stone-walled on what the definition of “disability” is. The school district has a completely different definition than what you or I may think it is.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines* a disabled person as one that “has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Anybody that cares for an individual on the autism spectrum, including parents of children with Asperger’s, will probably affirm that aspects of the diagnosis substantially limits their child’s daily functioning in some way shape or form. There are a wide range of diagnoses on the spectrum, and I would venture a guess that most impair that individual in some way. It could be something as small as class size or learning environment, or something like being touch or sound sensitive.
The school district here, and in most places in the country, still choose not to define autism as a disability. Their approach seems to be that since autism does not always present as a physical disability, they can make parents jump through hoops to receive services. How they can blatantly discriminate based off of physical appearance baffles me.
We have been told that to even be considered for services, Kaitlyn would have to be evaluated by one of the “experts” at the school district. The kicker here is that since she does not attend a district school for her pre-K, the chances of getting her evaluated are slim. The school district will happily do an in-class observation of a child at a public school VPK program, but balk at sending someone to a private school, even though her school will consent to having someone there observing. Back to square one for us. I’m not sure what my next step is right now, but I am not done fighting the idiocy of the people at the school district (and I will consider that previous name-calling of mine my first fine for charity).
Quick side note here, I found out from one of my co-workers that her granddaughter is the only child in the neighborhood where she lives. Not the only school-age child, the only child. The girl is 7, and rides the bus everyday. The bus stop is one mile from her home. The school district will not allow the bus to stop any closer to her house. Interesting
*see Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/factsheets/504.pdf