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Old 11-26-2007, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Kentucky
820 posts, read 1,863,372 times
Reputation: 514
Shirl, I didn't get time to do any investigating today of the branch of my work that deals with EPSDT, but I will try to tomorrow. That is one of the programs I'm aware of that provides some special benefits for families.

I understand completely what you're saying about the federal law. I'm sure that families that deal with special needs children are aware of it. That's why I'm thinking there must be more options available here in the public school system than you're finding or than I'm aware of and that these children's needs are being met in the public schools. Perhaps, there are many attending private schools outside of Lexington? I wouldn't have a clue. Anyway, I'll let you know if I find anything that might be helpful to you.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:08 PM
 
683 posts, read 2,049,425 times
Reputation: 250
Under IDEA, school districts must provide a "free and appropriate" education to every child with disabilities that qualifies for special education. If a school district can't provide a "free and appropriate" education to a child within their own district services, then they are required to fund those services through outside sources (contracts with other districts, private schools and facilities, etc).

In my experience in KY, there are several times when a smaller district will contract with a larger district to serve small groups of students with unique needs (sometimes including autism). They will also contract services with local private medical facilities, residence homes, etc to provide appropriate services. However, I'm not aware of a situation in my experience in KY, where a free and appropriate education was determined to be at a private school over a public school setting. It isn't that it CAN'T happen (because legally it can), it's just that I'm not aware of a specific case where it has been determined that a private school would offer a "free and appropriate education" that was otherwise unavailable within the existing district services. I'm certainly not an expert, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear examples to the contrary, but in my experience the public district has been able to provide FAPE without paying for private school unless it is an extraordinary circumstance.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Pleasanton, CA
8 posts, read 35,256 times
Reputation: 14
Very succinctly put. It seems to be a moot point, Though, since I haven't been able to find any private schools for autistic children in the area. They are all over the place in CA. My problem is that my boys' IEPs state that they are to be placed in an autism classroom with no more than 10 students and a 1:2 aide:child ratio. I can't imagine that any school is going to start something like that just for us. Unless, of course, the first thing we do when we get there is hire a SpEd attorney and that's not a good way to start a relationship with the school district. My husband will be in Lexington tomorrow and Friday and he plans on visiting some schools. If you know anyone specifically he could talk to, I will pass that along to him. He is traveling all day today.
This decision is killing us. My husband really wants the job in Lexington and people in KY are so much more friendly than native Californians (hope I didn't offend any one, but that's been our experience).
Thanks for your help everyone!
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Kentucky
820 posts, read 1,863,372 times
Reputation: 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by nlschr0 View Post
Under IDEA, school districts must provide a "free and appropriate" education to every child with disabilities that qualifies for special education. If a school district can't provide a "free and appropriate" education to a child within their own district services, then they are required to fund those services through outside sources (contracts with other districts, private schools and facilities, etc).

In my experience in KY, there are several times when a smaller district will contract with a larger district to serve small groups of students with unique needs (sometimes including autism). They will also contract services with local private medical facilities, residence homes, etc to provide appropriate services. However, I'm not aware of a situation in my experience in KY, where a free and appropriate education was determined to be at a private school over a public school setting. It isn't that it CAN'T happen (because legally it can), it's just that I'm not aware of a specific case where it has been determined that a private school would offer a "free and appropriate education" that was otherwise unavailable within the existing district services. I'm certainly not an expert, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear examples to the contrary, but in my experience the public district has been able to provide FAPE without paying for private school unless it is an extraordinary circumstance.
That is exactly what I was trying to say, but you did it much better. Thank you!
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:18 PM
 
683 posts, read 2,049,425 times
Reputation: 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirlgirl View Post
Very succinctly put. It seems to be a moot point, Though, since I haven't been able to find any private schools for autistic children in the area. They are all over the place in CA. My problem is that my boys' IEPs state that they are to be placed in an autism classroom with no more than 10 students and a 1:2 aide:child ratio. I can't imagine that any school is going to start something like that just for us. Unless, of course, the first thing we do when we get there is hire a SpEd attorney and that's not a good way to start a relationship with the school district. My husband will be in Lexington tomorrow and Friday and he plans on visiting some schools. If you know anyone specifically he could talk to, I will pass that along to him. He is traveling all day today.
This decision is killing us. My husband really wants the job in Lexington and people in KY are so much more friendly than native Californians (hope I didn't offend any one, but that's been our experience).
Thanks for your help everyone!

I know you said that you already spoke with Tanya Sturgill - she is the autism resource coordinator for Fayette. Perhaps if your husband could meet with her in person, they could discuss more specific issues and concerns. Also, each school in Fayette will have a special ed. facilitator that oversees the due process for that school and will be familiar with that particular school's special ed, so if there are any specific schools you are considering, perhaps he could meet with their facilitator as well. IME, they are often more knowledgable about the specific situations in that school than the principals or other administration.

I am also not aware of any private specialized schools in the area, so I don't know of any specific program or school that could be an alternative to the district's normal services. In Ohio, we had several great private autism programs and there were several districts that had students enrolled there.

The IEP would be a concern - unless they schedule an ARC right away to amend the IEP then they will have to provide those services. Again, I'm not an expert nor any kind of district rep, but my guess is that they would want to amend those IEPs quickly. And, unless you're prepared to fight to prove why those services are required for your sons, then you will probably be facing a much different service plan. That isn't to say that they won't receive appropriate interventions, but that it probably won't be at the same level that you currently have.

So, I can imagine how difficult of a decision this is. CA is known for having some of the top autism services, and frankly KY isn't. There is the Autism Training Center that is housed at the Uof Louisville, so they might have more resources for you. Also, if you haven't already you might contact the Autism Society of the Bluegrass Autism Society of the Bluegrass - Meetings and also check out their forums ASBG : Autism Society of the Bluegrass

There are some great special ed teachers and classrooms in Fayette, but probably nothing as forward-thinking or advanced (specifically to autism) as the programs you currently have. Of course, if you have decent insurance you could supplement with private programs on your own.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
605 posts, read 1,524,312 times
Reputation: 477
Since no one that has responded yet is a special ed teacher in the city of Lexington, please let me add my two cents. I teach in a high school so I can't tell you which elementary school can provide what you need, but I can tell you this: the services that your children are provided are completely dependent on what they need. IF your children need extremely specialized care that cannot be provided in a public school, the district is required by federal law to pay for a private autism facility that can provide those services; however, you have to prove that you can't get similar services in the public schools and they will not pay for a private school that does not even have autism services. It is true that you will probably not find a resource room that is solely filled with autistic children--you have to remember that autism is so varied. I have one autistic student in my resource class that is very highly functioning--he can dress himself, read, and communicate. We have other autistic children in our severly handicapped classes that are not toilet trained and are on the level of a two-year old. It would be highly unfair to have those students in the same class because they have the same condition. Classes are chosen based on the least restricted environment. And contrary to popular opinion on this site, teachers are offered training on autism frequently every year. The district also has an autism resource specialist who can offer assistance to a teacher or parent. Please do not assume that your child is going to be abused, mistreated, or ignored. Most special education teachers you will encounter in Lexington public schools are highly qualified. Yes, it is possible to get quality education for your autistic children, even in Kentucky.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Pleasanton, CA
8 posts, read 35,256 times
Reputation: 14
I'm sorry, I did not mean to ruffle any feathers. I am just looking out for what's best for my children. My husband visited Lexington and toured the schools and talked to principals and special ed teachers. The fact remains that there are more choices and more qualified teachers, therapists and, yes, administrators where we live than there are in Lexington. The schools and their staff here are more experienced. And a child who is high functioning would be in a different class than a child who is low functioning because there are 3 levels of autism classes to choose from. And our children get more individualized teaching because we have 1 aide for ever 2 children in a 10 children classroom. As opposed to your 1 teacher 1 aide to 24 children classroom. How are these children getting anything more than babysitting? And if the school cannot meet the needs of a child here, there are at least 5 or 6 private schools just for autism. There are none in the Lexington area. So even if I wanted to or the school district was forced to pay for my child to go to a private school, there would be none to go to.
I understand that you want to defend your profession and your school disctrict. But, just like me until I researched California, you haven't seen what the rest of the country is doing, what other states offer. And you probably wouldn't understand why my husband turned down a high paying lucritive job in Lexington rather than give up the opportunities our boys have here.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:29 PM
 
216 posts, read 354,047 times
Reputation: 108
I feel bad about your situation. If I understand the situation, autism occurs about once every 500 children, and you have 2? You have our sympathy. Here in Lexington, we would have to have a single school for the autistic, assuming that there would be 1 from each elementary, 2 or 3 for middle school and maybe 6-8 per high school. That tops out at maybe 100 students in a single school with all grades k-12. Is that do-able? Yes. Are you willing to fight for it? I guess not.

With the facts that you gave in your earlier post, about 5 or 6 private schools in your area, I assume that you are talking about the Alameda County area and not just Pleasanton. You have to remember that the population is denser there in California than here. In order to support that many schools they would have to draw from a 17 county area. Our counties here are much smaller than California.

Once again, you have my sympathies and I wish you the best of luck
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:49 PM
 
Location: (Lyndon) Louisville KY USA
5,646 posts, read 12,677,931 times
Reputation: 3603
I have Asperger's Syndrome and HATED Lexington Public Schools...hopefully you will have a better experience

BTW Cartoman...some level of Autism occurs in 1 out of every 150 children, not 1 out of 500
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:13 PM
 
216 posts, read 354,047 times
Reputation: 108
I stand corrected.

Autism Society of America: What is Autism: Facts and Stats (http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_whatis_factsstats - broken link)

I wonder if it has anything to do with the crap that we put in our bodies that we call food(high fructose corn syrup, GMO's and other things the body doesn't know what to do with).
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