This is going to seem jumbled for a couple of paragraphs. Please bear with me.
Tomorrow morning, after two months of research, paperwork and relentless phone calls to the Ohio Department of Education and our local school district, my 11 year old son will finally get a psych evaluation. If things go according to plan, he will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder for the third time.
Why do we need a third psych evaluation? Because his autism was never added to the Evaluation Team Report (ETR) at his private school. Without that diagnosis made by a psychologist at the local level and typed on his ETR and IEP (in the public school district in which he has never attended), he is not eligible for the state’s autism scholarship.
Without the autism scholarship, we can’t send him to a new school. Given the reports from his last one, returning is not an option.
Confused? Exactly. There have been six providers involved in this one request for reevaluation (for a disorder with which he’s already been diagnosed). Without the assistance of a very patient administrator and the advice of parents and advocates who have traveled this road before me, I don’t know that we would have found our way.
What I want to know, is what happens to the special needs kids whose parents don’t have the time, energy, resources, or resolve?
I have spent 11 years advocating for my son; I thought I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I was lost in this process and I was trying REALLY HARD not to be. You can’t tell me that kids aren’t falling through these gigantic cracks.
I know there are good people who are trying to fix the system and I thank them for that. Everyone should thank them for that. My kid will someday be mingling about in society with your kid and it would be great if we could ensure everyone’s future by giving them the best individual education and services possible.
So after I accomplish this latest task I am making a promise to pay it forward and advocate on behalf of those who can’t. I am going to use my voice.
And, it WILL be loud.