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Old 03-03-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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Hi,

I am planning to move into Atlanta area with my 13 year old son with autism. I would say he is moderately autistic with some skills, but very delayed in speech and social skills. Since my job location is about one hour to the west from Atlanta, I am looking into either Marietta or Peachtree city as possible areas to settle down. Could you give me ideas about schools in those areas, especially for students with low to mid functioning autism? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:57 AM
 
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I am having a hard time understanding how both Marietta and Peachtree City could both work for you from a commute stand point. but I am not the best at geography.

Also, where is your job? Some of the school systems closer to your work might actually be fine for your son.

I am concerned that you will need to be easily accessible (should the school need you during the day) to your child. An hour commute seems quite burdensome.

Keep in mind that special ed in GA is not the strongest. If you are leaving a place with terrific services, you may be in for a rude surprise. GA has a dismal track record with children with disabilities and actually graduating high school.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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My job will be at Carrollton. I believe that schools around there are not the best even for general education.

After searching for information on schools for autism at this site, I felt that East Cobb or Fayyette counties might have the best programs even though I might have to drive one hour or more. Since I will only need to be at my job for two or three days (I have a faculty position), commute is not a big concern for me.

Beside East Cobb or Fayyette, any other county that you might recommend?
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Old 03-05-2011, 04:29 AM
 
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I think you need to research this with parents that have similar situation.

I recommend you contact the following groups and inquire.

Autism Support Group of Cobb County

Here is a list with lots of metro ATlanta support groups.

ASD Support Group Links

Now, where you are now, can your son earn a regular high school diploma? Is that your expectation?

In GA, there are currently only two options for high school diplomas, regular (with honors designations available) and special ed. There is no longer anything in between. The special ed diploma doesn't hold much value. This is a very controversial situation, but the politicians seem unwilling to add back the vo-tech option.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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Thank you for the link. When I searched for the contact info for ASG for Cobb county last time, I could not find the contact info.

My son should be in special ed diploma tract for sure. He can only do close to regular in math only, but is so behind in other areas. Even in math, he does not understand word problems much or things with highly cognitive demand.

At this moment, I am looking for a program which has good speech and social components and help him learn academic subjects meaningfully, focusing on understanding than just doing. I know it is hard to find a such a program though.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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I cannot speak for all you will find in public schools, but I think you need to be prepared for the fact that there may not be a "program" for middle and high school, rather your child's IEP will dictate services.

Are you moving here to work at a state college/university? Are you aware of the huge cuts to higher education occurring at this time?
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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I wasn't aware of the fact that there has been a huge cut in higher education in Georgia. Here in California, it is really huge and all the state universities froze new employments.

Now that I hear about the education cut in Georgia, I am concerned about it. But to be honest, I am more concerned about special education services than higher ed cuts since once I am hired, it is very unlikely that they will cut tenure-track faculty members.

Sorry to be selfish! But my son's well-being (or school setting) is probably the most important thing for our family. We once put him in a wrong school setting and he was literally going insane and our family had a miserable life then. At that time, we thought that his puberty was the cause, but then we later found out that it was his teacher and his school which made him so. After moving him to different school, he came back to his normal. (He does not have language skills to express his frustrations) What a relief!

Now that I hear public school situations in GA, I wonder how private schools are like in Atlanta. Is it hard to put kids in private schools when public schools can not provide appropriate services? Should there be a big fight with school districts?
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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There is a voucher system in place in GA, allowing parents to place their special needs children in private school IF the public school is proven to not meet their needs. The average voucher amount is about $6,000. There are certain requirements, though, such as having your child enrolled in a GA public school for one year immediately prior to applying for the voucher.

We are in No. Fulton, and my neighbor started the process to receive state funds while moving her daughter to a private school. In the end, they decided to make the move before approval was given, thereby giving up any chance of getting the money, but the process itself was not the reason.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:04 AM
 
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In some states, I know that private school placement at public expense is very common for students with IEPs.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE IN GA.

Private placement at public expense is rare and generally takes years to acquire. Attorneys are nearly always involved. And parents don't always win.

Two or three years ago, the GA legislature passed a bill that is known as SB 10. This allows families with students who have IEPs to take the funds that they would normally earn from the state to a private school. However, local funds are not included. The amount averages around 6K but most true private schools for students with special needs cost much more. A child has to have been fully enrolled in a GA public school with an IEP in place for a year to be eligible.

Georgia Department of Education - Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (http://www.gadoe.org/sb10.aspx - broken link)

In addition, parents of children with more moderate to severe needs are finding few really good options in the private sector.

This is an organizations of private schools that specialize in serving students with special needs. I cannot stress enough that you need to be down here visiting both public and private schools.

GAPSEC

Another resource is the SB 10 approved schools list, however many, many of these schools don't take kids with real significant needs and are not required to provide any services at all. You will need to google the schools that fit your geographic needs to see if they would work.

http://www.gadoe.org/DMGetDocument.aspx/10-11%20GSNS%20School%20List%20for%20post%20011011.pd f?p=6CC6799F8C1371F6E632350FE1E8C73695A6B9B458609C C129DA035C436ED744&Type=D (broken link)

As the mom of a special needs child, though one that is much milder than yours, I totally get the impact of a poor placement on both the child and the family.


I would start with the parent organizations in the systems you are interested in and then go from there.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:48 AM
 
Location: North Fulton, GA
1,156 posts, read 2,343,053 times
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What I found is that there is "lifestyles" placement for severely handicapped and then special ed classes that teach the same basic curriculum at a slower pace in order for the students to pass the Georgia state exams. Our son had been in self-contained class without learning the regular curriculum for middle school and freshman year of high school in New York. When thrown into the setting he is in here in Georgia, we were very concerned. It turns out that he has passed all courses, but math is extremely difficult and he most likely will not pass the state test.
We are currently fighting for ESY but it has not been granted even though he has qualified for many years.
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