School disagrees with son's diagnoses of PDD-NOS - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-21-2012, 02:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I suppose that I shouldn't say my son's school disagrees with his diagnoses - it's the school counselor.  She based the results after having my son's teacher fill out a questionnaire.


A little back story:  My son has a family history of autism.  When he began to show some tendencies, I initially tried to tell myself that he was just going through a phase.  The thought of him going through a possible lifetime of challenges freaked me out.  When I finally came to terms with it I asked his pediatrician about it.  She referred us to a psychologist, who diagnosed him after a few months of testing and observation.  I was in disbelief over it, so I had a second and third opinion - including one from a neuropsychologist.  They all said the same thing.  (The only reason I mention this is to show that he didn't simply have a label slapped on him to explain away his challenging behaviors.)


Anyhow, when my son began public school, I had given them a copy of his full psychological profile.  The school had their psychologist test him and I agreed to allow them to do so.  The psychologist came to the conclusion that he did not have any degree of autism.  (However, his teacher and EA felt that he did.)  Confused, I showed the school's results to my son's behavioral psychologist and she disagreed with the school's findings. 


This school year, at his teacher's urging, she wanted the school to test him again.  She feels that his behaviors are consistent with other students that she's had with autism spectrum disorders.  The same school psychologist tested him again and maintained her decision that he does not have any sort of autistic spectrum disorder.


I don't really care if the school shrink believes he has PDD-NOS or not.  I just want him to be eligible for some of the services that the school would otherwise provide.  He does currently have an IEP, so he does receive some help.  He is also allowed breaks because he becomes overwhelmed.  (We are also extremely blessed that he has an AMAZING teacher.)  I have provided the school with all of his findings from his therapists, psychologists, doctors, etc.  His EA and teacher disagree with the school psychologist.  I've spoken to her about it, and she stated that she feels that autism is over diagnosed.  She can't offer me any explanation as to why he has so many autistic traits, however.


Has anyone else had this issue?  I'm kind of at a loss as to how I should proceed.

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#2 of 6 Old 01-21-2012, 07:05 AM
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I think you'll need to go over her head. She's pretty outnumbered. You have 3 professional opinions and the backing of the school staff who work with him daily. He should be getting all the services they can provide. Your DS shouldn't pay the price for this woman's personal stance against over-identification. It may not be something the school itself can do anything about. You may have to set-up a meeting with someone at the district level... maybe several people at the district level. 


This situation makes me worry about all the other kids who have come through her office who perhaps didn't have the resources you have to get accurate diagnosis. I'm sure this woman is saving the school a lot of money by not identifying kids but fact is, she doesn't have to work with them on a daily basis. To keep services from your child and not give the teaching staff the needed support is shameful. What happens when your son moves up a grade and maybe doesn't get a teacher as equipped to handle him like this teacher is?


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#3 of 6 Old 01-21-2012, 10:52 AM
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If he has an IEP then he already qualifies for special education services which doesn't required a specific diagnosis. So what service isn't he getting that the school says requires a specific diagnosis?



Child Diagnosed with Autism, School Won't Help

Further, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not require the school to “label” a child before finding him eligible for special education and related services. To be eligible, the child has to have a disability and “by reason thereof needs special education and related services.”




Before you do anything else I highly recommend reading Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition; It has a lot of advice on handing conflict with the school, documentation, etc. (Table of Contents).


This is Wrightslaw's book on special education law.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition




Under IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.


A 504 is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group).


[A IEP or 504 is not an escalation or punishment for the teacher/school. It's more about getting all appropriate parties involved and on the same page. The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, Pupil Services administrators, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting.]

Eligibility under IDEA for Other Health Impaired Children

Key Differences Between Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA.


Wrightslaw-IEP Articles


Independent Education Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?


Independent Evaluations: Must Parents Select an Evaluator from the School's Approved List?


How Can We Get an Independent Evaluation (IEE) by ... - Wrightslaw


Special Education Advocacy - When Parents and Schools Disagree ...




Wrightslaw: From Emotions To Advocacy - Learning About Conflict


The Blame Game: Are School and Learning Problems ... - Wrightslaw

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#4 of 6 Old 01-21-2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post

So what service isn't he getting that the school says requires a specific diagnosis?

I was wondering about this too.


I was told by my son's evaluation team at the school that it didn't matter if I chose go with the autism dx or just developmental delay.  They said the services he received would be based on his particular needs.  I ended up going with autism partly because it gives a more accurate picture but also because it would last till he was out of school unlike developmental delay.  Other than that, it really didn't matter.  

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#5 of 6 Old 01-21-2012, 02:41 PM
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yeah i am a little confused too. 


you say he has an IEP AND gets services.


are u saying this is his yearly update and now they are trying to take his IEP away? 


i am not exactly sure what you are asking.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-23-2012, 07:32 PM
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You may want to also post this in the Special Needs forum in Parenting for some additional advice.


I think you should appeal the school psychologist's findings.


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