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Old 01-09-2010, 09:14 PM
9 posts, read 40,806 times
Reputation: 16


We're contemplating a move to Northern Virginia later this year. We have a 6 year old with Asperger's and a 3 year old on the autism spectrum as well. We're trying to find the best school district in the state to move to. Sadly, there isn't a whole lot of info on google. I look forward to hearing your opinions!! Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:52 AM
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 3,682,579 times
Reputation: 408
There have been a couple of very recent threads on this topic, if you browse back you'll find them. Some of us like the services, others don't. It all seems to depend on the age of the children, the specific school and the severity of the disability/special needs. Good luck!
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:41 AM
2,124 posts, read 2,954,688 times
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Echo what EuroExpat says. Unfortunately, with the current budget situation, special ed. services is often one of the first areas cut. We live in Loudoun and ended up sending our mild/mod Aspie daughter to private school instead of an overcrowded middle school. Our high school aged daughter has 33 kids in her Algebra II class. Good luck.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:47 PM
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Reputation: 13
We had very bad experiences with Northern Va schools, especially Fairfax. They claim to have ABA programs but the staff has no training. They just give you the run around over and again.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:05 AM
1 posts, read 10,654 times
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I agree with tig, I live in PrinceWilliam county I have 6 year old in Autism Spectrum We had very bad experiences with Northern Va schools, especially PrinceWilliam County School. Staff has no training how to handle or behavior train Special Need Kids. They just give you the run around over and again. I end up hiring private ABA therapist which costing me Arms and Legs. Won't be able to sustain very long.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:42 AM
25 posts, read 83,735 times
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We are the Parents of a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our son is considered High Functioning Autistic, and was initially enrolled in Prince William County Schools back in the 2005/2006 school year. He has attended Prince William County Schools since that time, and is currently transitioning to Middle School as an upcoming 6th grader for the 2011/2012 school year. Our son has maintained an A/B average his entire academic tenure while attending Prince William County Schools; despite the many challenges and frustrations he battles on a daily basis.

There are disturbing trends going on in Prince William County Schools that I have documented for the past 7 years adversely affecting the rights of Parents and their special needs children to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. These trends are only compounded by a failure on the part of Administrators for the County’s Special Education directives and services to provide full and open disclosure as to their purposes and agendas for implementing them. These trends are, in short, creating unacceptable hardships upon Parents and their Autistic children placed within the Autism program. In so doing, it is adversely affecting the quality of education these children are entitled, by Federal Law, to receive as a direct result. These trends are unprecedented and unacceptable for Parents whom have children with Autism Spectrum Disorders attending schools.

A: Constantly moving around the Autism Program with little or no consultation with Parents and only being notified at the very end of a school year as the summer break starts. Thus making it near impossible for parents to do anything about it, much less contact the appropriate officials needed to remedy any situation or objections that may arise.

B: In moving around the Autism Programs; while constantly placing the vast majority of them in the worst, lowest ranked schools in the County (e.g. Featherstone, Fitzgerald, Neabsco, Beville, etc.) This, in no way, helps high functioning autistic children whom already have documented proof of high academic abilities and successes.

C: Bussing out children in the Autism Programs to other Districts not their own. This being scientifically proven as one of the worst things you can do to autistic children whom already have difficulties with transitions, developing lasting friendships, and social interaction. Likewise, the only reason this is being done is budgetary in nature, and thus in direct violation of Federal IDEA Statutes. In short, these autistic children are victims, never really getting the chance or opportunities to make friends in their own neighborhoods or socially interact with them. Trying to do so over summer break does not work as it takes time, consistency, and familiarity for such bonds to form and the appropriate social interactions to evolve.

Last edited by HFAutistic; 06-29-2011 at 12:08 PM..
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:04 AM
69 posts, read 217,502 times
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I have had a wonderful experience here in Western PWC. I moved from out of state 3 yrs ago and we specifically chose our location based on our then, 6 yr old son's needs. He has Asperger's. He was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 and we've been in the school system since he was 3.

We moved into the school's district (I'd be happy to give you the school's name if you pm me) and I've never felt more involved in my son's education and the IEP process.

We receive daily detailed reports in respect to his behavior/coping skills. I communicate by email at least once or twice a week with his special ed teacher. She has gone above and beyond what the county expects of her.

We work on not only finding ways to help him focus and learn in the classroom(which he has excelled and maintained honor roll all 3 yrs), but social skills have been the main focus. Especially as he gets older and near middle school, making and maintaining friends, learning to communicate his feelings and dealing with his anger and frustration in a healthy way have been the true focus.

We don't wait for the IEP to address concerns. Throughout the year we adjust our strategy. The school and it's staff has always been flexible and open to new ideas. They ask me for my opinion and any suggestions I may have. It is a true team effort. I am completely involved!

In short, I think it depends on the staff and administrators at the school. I don't think anyone can argue that the school system as a whole has it's flaws (as do many districts, in many states), however, the success of your child depends on the willingness of the staff and parents to work together. It is a personal and caring relationship that I've experienced with my son's school. He is not just a number or policy.

Just my two cents.

I can second the budget cuts going to special ed first. This year we have lost some teachers, sadly. I believe that is a problem everywhere though due to the economy.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:20 AM
25 posts, read 83,735 times
Reputation: 42
I have no doubts the schools in the Western District of PWCS have better programs and relationships with parents and their children. This is primarily due to the lower the population density, and fewer children whom need to be in the autism program or Special ED classes overall. However, the Eastern and Central Districts of PWCS have a much higher population density, and likewise far more children needing autism program related resources and services within the County overall. I can personally attest to and back up these various view points on the debate. I've been an Educational Advocate for 20+ years, 16 of which has been in PWC alone; long before our own child was born or diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

On-the-other-hand, although most like to blame budget cuts; that is not, nor has it ever been the issue. Regardless of what the County or any other school districts around the country like to lament about in regards to budget cuts, it is against Federal Law to deny or limit any programs that fall under IDEA and local Special Education administration and services solely for budget reasons. Period.

The trends mentioned in my previous post have resulted in our child and other children within the autism program of the Eastern and Central Districts of PWCS being bused out of their home districts and shuffled from one school to another. Our child alone has been transferred to other schools 4 times during the 6 years he attended Elementary School. Likewise, all but 1 of those 4 schools were outside of our home District, had the lowest academic rankings in the County, and created unreasonable restrictions and limitations in following his IEP during the process.

This trend will once again repeat itself the coming school year for Middle School where we have been told: "There are no openings in the High Functioning Autism Program at any Middle Schools in our home District, and therefore your son will be attending school outside of your home District again." Coincidentally, (or not) it just so happens that the Middle School he has been assigned to attend is once again the lowest ranked Middle School in PWC, and ranked 250th out of all 324 Middle Schools in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. This in essence means our child is being utilized as a political pawn for PWCS Federal financial aid to benefit the worst schools in the County, and neither as student nor individual whom has the legal right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.

When confronted with this information the Schools, their Staff, and the County School Board always and without fail evades the issues; giving the usual reactionary run around instead of tangible data and answers. Case in point, the Commonwealth of Virginia received 2+ Million Dollars for Special Education programs in FY 2010/201l. Likewise, of all children in the Commonwealth's Special Education System, only 640 total are receiving Special Education services based upon Autism Spectrum Disorders. As reported in Inside NOVA, the PWC School Board has allocated an additional $2.5 million to special Ed programs in the district, in order to remain in compliance with federal special Ed regulations. While we applaud PWCS for allocating the additional funds, we have to ask what services those funds will be used to provide for as well.

Unfortunately PWCS has a long established reputation for poorly addressing the needs of special Ed students. Certainly there is room for improvement, but throwing more money won’t solve the problems within our special Ed department unless those funds are allocated appropriately. As such, we are calling on Superintendent Walts and the members of the PWC School Board to explain how the additional $2.5 million in funding will be allocated, and what improvements they are expected to provide. To this day, they have completely evaded any open disclosure on the subject matter.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:19 PM
1 posts, read 8,240 times
Reputation: 10
My 5 year old son is on the autism spectrum (recently diagnosed) and they are pushing him out of his home school (Dale City elementary) kindergarten class to a special class in another district. After reading your post I think I will protest and force them to keep him in his current school. Would you please email me, I would like to speak to you as it seems you are well informed on this issue. As they are breaking the law I think we can bring an end to this practice.
thank you

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Old 11-15-2014, 08:32 AM
1 posts, read 4,895 times
Reputation: 13
Originally Posted by tig View Post
We had very bad experiences with Northern Va schools, especially Fairfax. They claim to have ABA programs but the staff has no training. They just give you the run around over and again.
I totally agree with you. my son has autism. They say they know how to treat kids with autism they give there self a pat on the back but yet they report how horrible your child is. My son is suffering at his base school. Since the first day to current he has had over 300 incidents of not follwing directions to kicking and hitting. And they say its ok we have control. My question is if that is under control and yet he is not proggressing educationally and behaviorally. Yet at home he is a total different child. What is out of control. So hmm so tell me where do u thing the question lies? This county is not helping our children they are making things worse. Escalating him almost every day. I will fight for my child to get what he needs to succeed.
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