My daughter


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My daughter, who is not the reason I am here has an IEP meeting tomorrow. She is 17. When she was 13, she stopped attending her school, too anxious, I took her for an evaluation, and she ended up in day treatment for anxiety, and was never able to attend regular school again, despite attempts.That was where she got her diagnosis of autism.
After her day treatment, and unsuccessfully trying to get her back into her school, her pediatrician recommended online, which of course didn't work. We moved state, chasing my son, and she was put in a very nice public school - a "day school" for kids w similar issues. Her attendance has been very bad; she went today but didn't do any work. She is very smart, but she basically just isn't getting educated.
I dont know what her teacher will propose - she called this meeting due to my daughters poor attendance.
I am just so tired of everything going wrong.
She is on Medicaid. She sees a psychiatrist monthly, and she is on medication. She also seems a therapist every other week - would be more often but he is part time, and the two previous ones were damaging - long story. I don't know what to do if this administration takes away her health care. I also don't know how she gets educated when she is too anxious to attend school, and when she is there, she doesn't do any work. She likes her school, and we both really like her teacher.
I am just sad and discouraged over everything. Every day I wait for a text from her saying she is on the bus. She goes maybe 2x a week. She does nothing.


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I also don't know how she gets educated when she is too anxious to attend school, and when she is there, she doesn't do any work.
The onus and the responsibility is on the school district. It is their job and their legal mandate to educate her in a way she can handle it. They are the ones who are not meeting their responsibilities. I would throw it back on them.

I would try not to be defensive. I understand you are worn out and feel defeated. Anybody would. But your daughter has a disability, a qualifying condition. The symptoms of the disability cannot be used against her. That would be illegal.

I went to a disability rights organization, called "Disability Rights." (Smile) They sent an attorney with me to the IEP. I might call an advocacy organization and get some help.
I don't know what to do if this administration takes away her health care.
How can this happen? You mean, because she is not going to school, she could lose Medicaid?

She cannot be blamed for not going to school if she is not being properly educated, to the extent that she is too anxious to attend. She is the one with the qualifying condition. The school has no way to blame her. If was on a 504 they could. But not with an IEP, as I understand it.

If it was me I would up the ante and ask for residential treatment (which will cost them a fortune.) They will not want to do this. But throw it in their face. They are not fulfilling their legal responsibilities. Scare them. Do not be scared.

You have a lawsuit if they screw with you and your daughter. They know it. They think you do not know it.

Trust me. Ask for a higher level of intervention. Ask for residential treatment, because clearly the current interventions in this IEP are not meeting her needs.
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I sort of think she needs residential. She won't want to go, but she isn't getting an education.
My health care worries are about the obamacare repeal. Its just more bad news. More things that I can't fix.
Thanks for your advice, maybe I will bravely suggest it.


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My health care worries are about the obamacare repeal.
Look. I do not think they are going to repeal it. I listen to news all day. The conservative republicans do not like the proposed replacement.

And things are moving so quickly with respect to politics, who knows what is going to happen. I think President Trump is going full steam forward to appear to follow through with his platform, as opposed to really being committed to any one thing beyond his own self-interest. (Is that political? Sorry.)

Trump has said as far as he is concerned, he would be happy to just let Obamacare "fail." But I do not believe it will fail. I believe that the congress will not let it happen. Too many people need it, and there would be a public outcry.
Thanks for your advice, maybe I will bravely suggest it.
You do not have to be brave to suggest it. Say: this IEP is not working. My daughter requires residential treatment.

Call a disability rights group!


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Ok. My son has autism. Fortunately he liked school and does not have that level of anxiety, but autism is a spectrum. And school districts do have to educate your daughter even if it is at home. Some kids have a hard time going to school so a teacher is sent to your house. Like you, they can give an IEP and help, but they cant force her to be there. But there are other solutions for her education. Of course, even if a teacher is sent to your home, she cant force her to learn. I know of some higher functioning autistics who none the less are more intetested in one specific subject than a full range of subjects. Does your daughter have a specific strong interest that you can focus on as a possible career and bringing that topic into other subjects to keep her interest? Most children with autism have such an interest.
Sometimes differently wired kids, like your dear daughter, require creative teaching. Yes, the school has to try and you can go to court if you like, but in the meantime your daughter is losing time.
I dont know that a socially phobic person with autism would do well in residential. The two residentials I saw with foster children both showed me security guards carrying children in restraints to a quiet room. That means a locked room with only a mattress in it.

Do your homework. Maybe look for a residential that is geared towards teens with autism. Most are behavioral and very tough. My own son would be traumatized if carried off to a quiet room then locked inside. Visit. Look around.

Get social security for your daughter. There should be no problem with an autism diagnosis. With SSI comes Medicare. This has nothing to do with the ACA. Medicare is given to all who are considered disabled. My son has it.

If you go to court have goals. If your daughter wont go to school, what do you want them to do for her education if she wont go to school?

I am sorry, Pisces. You have a difficult problem. I personally love most autistic spectrum kids I have met, but they are tricky to educate. Please take care and big hugs.


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My son also 17 who has social anxiety struggled all though high school. He has a 504 but not an IEP. This past year, the anxiety got so bad that he missed school at least once a week and stopped doing anything in class. He would ask to go the guidance office whenever he had to work with another student. He spent all of his energy on just making it through class without a panic attack. Needless to say, he was not learning a thing and his grades were all Fs. We considered online school along with many other options. We together with son decided that working at home with a teacher was the only way he was going to learn anything and graduate high school. We requested Homebound education (in our county, students who are unable to attend school due to medical reasons can qualify for this service). A doctors recommendation along with a treatment plan was required. Thankfully his therapist is a PHd and was able to provide all of the necessary paperwork. He now receives 2 hours a week with a licensed teacher at home per academic class. The homebound teacher is responsible for coordinating with the teachers and teaching my son. The teacher also returns all finished work back to the school. We were able to get this going for him pretty quickly. The turn around for him was pretty dramatic once he was relieved of the pressure of going to school. He is now performing to his ability. We have also used this time to increase therapy and get him back in with a psychiatrist to try medication. I don't know if this would work in your situation but helped us tremendously. I also think the key for us was to state very specifically what we felt would work to educate our son and insist upon it.


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Thanks for all your replies!
Actually I think we are closer to medicare for all (health coverage for everybody) as we have been in my lifetime.
That is what I would like, and it is true both candidates ran on health care for all, or so I thought.

My own son would be traumatized if carried off to a quiet room then locked inside.
What? My son was in one for rougher types (90% were sex offenders, yikes) and they didn't lock them in rooms. And it was for - sigh - children with severe emotional problems. How awful. I wonder if they should be doing that, maybe it is for the best?
I do worry that an out of home placement could be traumatizing, but it also could be great. I visited my son's place and it was very nice, just the wrong crowd of course.
She did very very well in her two day inpatient placement. For her it seemed like a two day sleepover, she made friends, she loved it.
I forgot - you're right, she totally has autism, and the anxiety alone might qualify her for SS and medicaid. I got so worried about the safety net being frayed; not to be political but some people just need help.

Up and Down, that option was not given to me, and she wouldn't learn social skills, but still, yes, it is the anxiety, and when she doesn't go to school she stays home and feels terrible. Your son doesn't like group projects? I always hated those, too, and I don't think I learned anything, just that I work better alone. I wonder if that is an option? I worry about her getting even more isolated.

It was just my daughter's principal and teacher - this is a tiny school, just a few portable buildings - and they want to do a Mental Health Assessment, which was done, but this time they are contracting out, not using school psychs. And we go from there. More restrictive would be 1 - a Non Public School and her at home, 2 - Localized Residential but sent to a school, 3 - a Residential in her home state, 4 -or a Residential out of state.
In our district, her school is the most restrictive they have.
The teacher is going to call my daughter's psychiatrist as well, because psychiatric thinks my daughter is doing great. I like her a lot, but she didn't seem to be hearing me, maybe? Her medications are 60 mg Prozac, and 400 or 500 mg of Neurontin (Gabapentin). I don't know if she should have more medications.
They said she is smart enough to go to college and then i teared up a little.
I don't know if I need a lawyer, etc, at this point, cuz they seem pretty supportive, even ask me what I thought would be good for her. On the other hand, the squeaky wheel and all.

She is a really sweet girl, and they say they love her being there at school, they just want to make sure it is the right placement and they are doing all they can. She has 25 credits earned and is currently failing everything. She is a sophomore. She is very interested in anime/manga, and really really is an amazing artist.


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Oh cool! Do focus on her art!!!

My son was smart enough to go to college, but didnt have any interest. "Im done with school." We were just glad he was doing so well.


Just wanted to give my support, sounds like your doing everything you can! My son was on both those medications too, we did not find gabapentin to be helpful though.



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I am glad to hear that the school staff is being supportive. Its good to hear that they called you when they had a concern. And you are supporting her to find the right answer for her! Sound like you are doing all the right things.


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I got so worried about the safety net being frayed; not to be political but some people just need help.
Me too.
1 - a Non Public School and her at home
My son did this for 3 years or more. It worked out good. Then the school district got brutal and stopped it. I pulled him out of school altogether.
She is a really sweet girl, and they say they love her being there at school, they just want to make sure it is the right placement and they are doing all they can.
While I am pleased for her (and you) that they love her...their job is to educate her which they are not doing, if she is so anxious she seldom attends, and she is failing near every subject! After all that is the principle reason for school-to educate not to be liked.

I do not mean to be snarky, and I do appreciate their caring. But they are abrogating their responsibility if they do not seek any and all means to intervene and correct the situation. Is this idealistic? No. It is the law.
She is very interested in anime/manga, and really really is an amazing artist.
My dream for her would be to go to a school of the arts. I know that if you live outside of a major city there is unlikely to be such a place, but I am wondering if art school might be a way to motivate her.

She is NOT fitting into a cookie cutter curriculum and maybe it is this which needs to be adjusted. Remember. Einstein was it? Did not read until he was 10 or something. Sometimes the highly gifted "square pegs" do not (for very good and wonderful reasons) do not fit into the round holes.

What about a hybrid situation?

As long as socially she is liked and feels cared for (if indeed she does) perhaps you can go along with the idea that she go to school, but with a changed curriculum that is designed just for her.

My son graduated from an "independent learners" school that was exactly this. While some kids attended this physical school, they all studied what interested and motivated them. All studied different stuff, what captured their fancy so to speak.

There was also the option of studying independently at home, which is what my son did (ok. Real truth. I did it, along with him.) My son also got 2 years of high school credit for studying overseas (over a year of it, he had failed.) He got credit because he had become fluent in 2 different foreign languages. You get my drift.

She could study independently AT SCHOOL, basically studying art. There must be an art teacher there or they could use an online curriculum and she could work independently.

The essential subjects like English, a little math, a science, history, she could work with a teacher independently kind of like the home school option that UpandDown describes. But, ideally, for her, this could be done at school. Because it seems she is OK with the school environment, just with the method of teaching.

That is the school's responsibility, not hers.

A school for independent learners would give her credit for all of her artwork. I do not see why her current school would not/should not do the same. Then she is left with the core subjects. They have the option of working with her independently to catch her up with these. This is their job. I am getting angry here.

Why not talk to her about art school? Even if there is not the financial means to pay for college, there are other options. The Department of Rehabilitation could pay....there is Job Corps....she could get free college under some circumstances.

If she went to a job corps training, say in illustration/computerized drawing (if there is such a program) it would be free.

Perhaps if she saw new ways to do her art, like with computers, this would incentivize her in subjects (like math) that she currently may find dreary--as long as she is taught privately by a teacher, not in a forum which she finds intolerable.

If I was her teacher I would let her satisfy her core subjects by way of her interest in manga/anime. This interest could be generalized and used as a focus to inform nearly all of her other work. She could do "report"s on Japanese culture, history, via manga drawings. For US History she could read about the exploitation of Japanese and Chinese labor in California Agriculture, or read about the Japanese internment camps--or really use manga to reflect and represent her learning in almost all of her subjects. For English she could "write" her essays in manga as well as individually through speaking with teachers.

This is the job her teachers ARE NOT DOING. Their job is to find a way to allow her to learn and to master and represent her learning in a way that she can do.

She is not there for a popularity contest.

She needs an accommodation. This is their LEGAL OBLIGATION.

I think she COULD flourish in this school with some tweaks.


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There is a field called CAD or Computer Aided Design. Cartoonists use it, and draftspersons and architects, engineers and artists generally.

I think she might be fascinated by it, and by means of this interest the school could give her credit in math and maybe even science (computer science?) Or to do it, she might be motivated to study the math that might be a stepping stone.

CAD is used by people in Silicon Valley to do computer game-development. She might love this.

I found a book, some of it online, by Richard P Clark, Pamela Fehl Career Opportunities in the Visual Arts.

She needs to know that what she is doing is brilliant and wonderful and that she is doing phenomenally as she is. She has gifts! Right now that school is trying to make her fit in to a stupid curriculum that she is way beyond. They have the problem. Not her.


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I disagree. I feel this is idealistic. You can do that for her at home but most normal schools dont have the staff or money to revise a whole new cirriculum, plus special computers for one student. I do think the art is important, but homebound ed could help with that. Also my son benefitted from social skills classes. School provided that and he made friends thetr.

We can not pretend the world is the problem. That doesnt help our kids. The world is as it is and we need to find the right supports and interventions to teach them how and aid them sometimes in fitting into it. There are ways.

All kids/adults on the autism spectrum have social issues. But autistic kids with good interventions tend to improve with time. So I feel it is best to address the issues and help her that way while letting the school do its best. It sounds as if they are doing their best. You are lucky. We had to fight the schools. Exhausting.

Anyhow you have to do what you feel is best for your daughter and I hope she does well like my son has. You now have a few varying opinions :)


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Copa - this is how I think too. Like we can't all be apples - some of us are oranges or whatever and you should be encouraged to follow your passion.
When I bought my house - well this is a wealthy area, but I found a way to live pretty inexpensively, and I thought the girls now have the freedom to follow their dreams.
My father did very well as a professional artist - he was a graphic designer - we sure had lean times, but he did make a lot of money at times. Not that I care about money, I care about sharing your talents in the world. Being who you are born to be. And both my daughters are just very talented artists. I feel like I squandered my talents, so I don't want the same for my girls.
We go to Michaels, I never begrudge them fabric, paints, alcohol based markers, clay, pens, endless sketchbooks. :)
Art school is crazy expensive. At one IEP meeting, the teacher gave me a printout that caught her eye - an amazing opportunity, maybe thru Disney or something, they work with autistic young adults, something about animation art, I can't remember. An opportunity to learn. We were excited. I looked it up, even with financial aid it was well beyond my reach. I was sad, but I thought Ill keep my eyes open. I don't like that this is our world, what we are used to. That only upper middle and rich kids get to do this stuff.
The school got my daughter a laptop to support her art, I just asked her about it as I write this, and she said she never figured out how to get the little pad to work - that you draw on and you see what you did on screen.
When I bought this house, and sold my old one I had lots of cash, and I had a young man I work with build her a computer - with dreams this would carry her into adulthood - doing art. And she does - you can do layers and layers, and erase a layer, and it doesn't affect other layers. For Christmas one year, she printed out pictures she had made, and had it bound as a book for me - I took her to one of those office stores and she didn't let me see what she was doing. <3

So I am a follow your bliss, your talents type mom.


I have a degree in CAD, I added it after my I initial design degree. I did not enjoy compute r work, but worked for an architect for a time.

My cad would be so out of date! I'm sure it has really progressed!


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Job Corps has CAD in San Jose and New Hampshire centers. Job Corps is free. Free room and board, and well-supervised. They accept and they accommodate and they support disabled kids.

Look. Computer aided design is probably in itself a cookie cutter technical field. To assist architects or engineers, mostly. But she could love the way it empowers her art.

I do not know what I think about her going to Job Corps. My son went.
I think there are too many tough kids there. (My son was vulnerable.)

This is what I really think. I think what I wrote to you was correct. That post. Or posts.

I think the future will take care of itself, if we take care of the present. Nobody is asking the school to do more than what is legally required of them: teach your child.

I do not know what your circumstances are. Whether you work from home. Or not. I do not think it would be good for your daughter to be at home. But she needs to be educated.

What I was suggesting is that the school be flexible in their approach. They must do that, really. It is the law.

They could allow her to show her mastery and achievement in ways she can do. They must do that. They break the law and they abuse her, if they do not. They are now asking her to do something she is unable to do.

This is not camp. It is school. They are the ones who need to bend. She cannot. She is doing her absolute best. And her absolute best is absolutely wonderful.

Tell me what you think specifically, and I will support you every single step of the way. I was part of these IEP teams as a professional and as a parent.

We can do this.

This is what I think:

She needs to be educated privately in the core subjects that she needs to graduate: like English, History, a math class. Civics. Just the basics. There is no reason in the world she could not have pull out by a teacher a few hours a week, such as upanddown describes. She could be allowed to sit in a study hall and quietly draw, and in this way she would fulfill her electives. If they can send teachers home to students (who are ill, or unable for other reasons to attend) they can certainly provide this service to your daughter.

There are deaf and blind students who cannot do exams in the same format as do the other students (or students without digits or limbs)--they can and legally must accommodate your child so that she can show her mastery and achievement IN THE WAY THAT SHE CAN. They must educate her in a way that she will learn. That is the law.

Being SWEET is not the deal. She has to learn and to achieve. It is their job to accommodate her to do that.

So for the core subjects she needs to be accommodated. They have the ability to let her use her art to address all of her electives.

It is not the way of the natural world to beat us down. It does not have to be this way.

As far as paying for art school down the road, when she is old enough she will qualify at a state school for free. Meanwhile she can go to community college. In my state the current tuition is about $120 a class.

There is so much possible. She could go to Art School in a foreign country probably for very cheap. We would just have to do research. Or vocational rehabilitation could possibly pay for it. We do not know that they would not. I was looking at MFA programs in Studio Art FOR MYSELF and I am collecting Social Security!! I think I saw a school as low as $8000. a year, tuition. I think it was in either New Mexico or Arizona. That was not counting whatever financial aid was possible.

Your daughter sounds so wonderful, there are skills she can learn along the way, that would be marketable. Like this CAD.

I am so hopeful for her.

My life was hard. Actually. Very hard. But everybody's is. But I dreamed big. There has not been one big dream that I have not achieved. My problems really got bad when I stopped believing I could do it, it could happen. I have so many dreams left.

She will go to art school. I know she will. We just need to handle right now. She should not be allowed to fail at school. That is ridiculous.

She is so lucky to have a mother like you. And she is a BLESSING.
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