This post is here to help parents of kids with autism. If you don’t need the help, feel free to move on to the next page.
Like just about anyone with a severely autistic child, I habitually read a lot of information online about autism. When we sought to transfer our child from a “mainstream” school to a more specialized one, I read many, many horror stories. They’ll tell you that you need an advocate. They’ll tell you to record meetings. They’ll tell you that you need a lawyer. They’ll tell you to keep meticulous records. They’ll tell you that short of violence, short of your child presenting a danger to others or him/herself, it’s hard to get a district to change your kid’s placement.
All of that is true. But it leaves something out. What they don’t tell you (in my experience) is that even if your kid is just habitually making disruptive noises, that can be grounds for a transfer.
I’m telling you this not to scare you, but because I wish someone had told it to me. Months ago, we were despairing of ever getting a better placement for our 9-year-old…short of us paying an annual high five figures to a private school. At an IEP meeting in December 2018, the school’s team assured us that Dar’s current plan would easily suffice for at least the rest of the school year (until June 2019).
As regular readers know, I then composed a rather strongly worded email to the school, and afterward the team met again in January 2019 and the school agreed to transfer Dar elsewhere.
Wifey doesn’t credit my email. Wifey believes that the school simply got tired of hearing Dar’s screams. At first, my reaction to her was like, oh thanks. But I think she’s onto something.
Hey, it’s a big internet. Maybe I’ve missed a website or two. But I don’t see anything about the relationship between noise pollution and education. Ever spent time on a farm? Or just known anyone with chickens? Ever been woken by a rooster? Imagine that rooster crowing all day. With absolutely no possible incentive or discipline you can give the bird to shut it up. Now, imagine a school next to such a rooster.
Schools don’t get put next to bird farms. There aren’t a bunch of mommy-blogs about it, but it’s a true thing. Because most people can’t learn when sitting near someone like my child. And that’s reason enough for him to be moved.
I’d like our case to serve as a precedent. I’d like to offer some hope to the parents of the noisy and severely autistic, and perhaps to the parents of the kids currently learning near the noisy and severely autistic. That situation does not have to continue. It’s not necessarily best for anyone involved. Use this post; DM me for more details if you need them. I realize this information may actually be negative for some families who want their noisy kid to stay in the mainstream school where she/he is. But either way, there are options. Good luck to all the families of roosters…you are not alone. As Aragorn once said, there is always hope.