Part I: No more band-aids

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 5, 2015

Here is a brief history of my daughter and my own journey in the Picayune School District.

I have a daughter who is on the autism spectrum. She was diagnosed at age 3.

She has been in the public school system since she was 3-years-old in kindergarten, she was warehoused, during which time, she did nothing all year except sleep, get her hair done by the aide, get spoon fed at school and was not required to do anything.

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At the end of the year, I was informed by the school that my daughter had not reached her goals and the school was recommending that my daughter get held back. None of the progress reports ever showed any problems or concerns. I went to my daughter’s therapist with this disturbing news.

Her therapist recommended that she move schools and participate in a behavior modification class. My daughter flourished in this new school (still in the district) and was even brought up to grade level in the class.

The smaller class, which provided one-on-one interactions, structure and a rigorous schedule, is what helped my daughter greatly.

The next year it was decided that my daughter should try a regular special education class. I requested an aide for my daughter and was told “no” due to a lack of money. That year did somehow work out. After being stable in a special education class, it was decided to move my daughter back to the school that originally warehoused and allowed my daughter to not get an education.

I had a lot of reservations and made them known. The new special education liason said that it would work and the upper is different from the lower elementary and my daughter had done so well that she can start the process to transition to some regular classes. Against my better judgment, I agreed.

So my daughter made some strides in transitioning to regular classes and some regression in social skills. The new special education liason said that some of the children from the high school could come over and buddy up with my daughter. My daughter loved it, but it only lasted one semester. My daughter has taken speech and occupational therapy every year. The last year, she need help with conversation skills in the speech therapy and occupational therapy dealing with her sensory issues.

At the end of the school year last year, it was decided that my daughter didn’t need speech or occupational therapies and that this year transitioning to normal classes would continue.

My daughter has ridden the same special bus with the same aide on it since she was three years old. It was suggested to ease routes to change her to a normal bus with high school students only once and that was quickly decided that my daughter would continue to ride the bus she has always been on.

At the present, sadly, there are still many problems that are not being resolved or even looked at or considered.

It has been eight years that I have been dealing with this ineffective school system and my daughter has suffered and has not been accommodated in this school system.

The biggest problem is the individuals in charge of accommodating my daughter don’t have an understanding of Autism at all.

This has been proven time and time again. The school district’s solution is to “band aid” the problems and the pitiful excuse that there is no extra money to accommodate my child correctly.

By Melissa Rushing.

Check out Tuesday’s Item for part II.