Truancy vs Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)??


New Member
I have recently learned about this and wondering if anyone has went through this before. I am so stressed and sick to my stomach all the time with attendance. There are so many tardies from my daughter's meltdowns in the morning and her anxiety about going. She will give me absolute hell and sometimes it's understandable with what she went through the day before. She refuses to go and it becomes a meltdown. I feel terrible making her go sometimes but the truancy gives me no choice. I wish we could get something lined up where if this happens she can stay home to recoup and i go to the school and get her work to work on here with me. I can see where some people would abuse this so im sure its really hard to get if so.... is there even something that can help this situation and keep me out of court. I haven't been given a court date yet but they're warning me and i hate feeling the stares and get when walking in the office to check her in. I call it, the walk of shame.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks In Advance


Well-Known Member
Hi there,

My stepsons both engaged in similar behavior. The eldest one is now enrolled in online high school. The youngest just qualified for an IEP and will be starting at a small therapeutic school next week.

Does your daughter have an IEP at school?


Well-Known Member
Kids get interventions at school. Important ones for autistic kiddos.

Having said that, my autistic son liked school. If he had been terrified to go I would have tried sending him for, say, reading and staying with him and doing online school for the rest. I was always both sensitive to his sensitivity, but wanting him to learn about our world. And that he can't hide from it.g

I fought hard to get him in the school I chose and he did great. Now he is 24, self sufficient, on his own and still doing great. I hope you can find a solution that best suits your son. I feel an IEP for autism help is mandatory. Special Education for only reading and math helped my son A Lot and he was the leader in his small class and got lots of attention.

It is tiring but you have to find what is best and fight for it!

Good luck!
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Roll With It
Are you in the US? If so, insist on an IEP. Attendance CAN be included in an IEP. As in the child can be excluded from whatever the demanded level of attendance is if that is in the child's best interests. I would make sure that the doctors treating your child's autism know that after the school gives your child a hard time, your child needs some time to recover.

I also STRONGLY urge you to look into Sensory Integration Disorder. This is something that is part of autism. An Occupational Therapist would test for this. I suggest a private Occupational Therapist (OT) because they look to see how this would impact his whole life and not just his time at school. It is important info that you NEED to have. Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) means that your child's brain does not process input from his senses the way that "normal" people do. The world is pretty much "too". Too loud, too quiet, too still, too much movement, too much pressure, too little pressure, everything is TOO. This is something that he needs to learn to handle because it won't ever go away. In fact some parts of it will get stronger as he gets older. I know because I have it too. Lots of times it feels like the world is attacking me.

The Occupational Therapist (OT) can do quite a few things to help. Brushing therapy can do amazing things to help teach the brain to handle sensory input in new ways. A sensory diet can help your son cope better with sensations that are a problem for him. Sensory breaks in his day can help keep him calm. My oldest child had fidget items written into every IEP he ever had. When teachers stopped taking them away while they lectured, they discovered that my son actually could process what they said = but only if he had something to do with his hands. Otherwise he doodled and his mind got caught up in what he was doodling (and 12 other things).

My youngest son had very bad Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) as a child. He could not handle going to school every single day. I knew he couldn't cope, but school said he had to go. I sent him one day when I knew he was overwhelmed. He wasn't there an hour or so before they called me to come get him FAST! He freaked out his entire class and every adult who saw him. He was shaking like he was cold, and curled up under a table. His eyes were open, but he didn't respond to any of them. I went up to school, but I didn't rush.

By then the principal and the attendance secretary were in the classroom. I explained that this is what happens when he is overwhelmed, and it happens about every other day. He went to school for a day (half day as this was preK) and then spent a full day like this. It was part of why I was a stay at home mom. They said that they would just ignore his absences and I could keep him home as often as I saw fit. When he was in 4th grade I was absolutely thrilled because he only missed 1/4 of the school days in the year! By 6th grade he was only missing days when he was sick.

The school may fuss over modifying his attendance in his IEP. You may have to encourage your child to show how miserable he is to the school. If that means he throws up and calls you to come get him, have him do that. If that means he has a meltdown like my son did, that is okay too. The IEP means that he gets protection under the law. It means they can only punish him if the behavior is not a manifestation of his illness. So if what he does on days he is overwhelmed is due to being overwhelmed, and is how he shows he is overwhelmed, then there is a limit to what the school can legally do. You may have a great fight enforcing this, but this is what the law says.

I would push for the occupational therapy assessment, and for the IEP evaluation. If you need to request one, know that you MUST send the request by mailing it using certified mail, return receipt requested. THis means that the school must sign for it. Otherwise you cannot prove when they got the request if you end up having to take them to court. (Usually just threatening this is all need and that is way down the road, but you have to take the right steps from the beginning. Plus schools routinely just ignore requests unless they come this way, at least here they do.) This also puts into place a timeline for them to get their testing done and it puts protection into place for your son while they are testing.

I hope this helps!


Well-Known Member
Just to piggyback on Susie's post, in my professional life I work with many students with IEPs who have attendance issues. It's true the child cannot be expelled from school or otherwise punished for lack of attendance, but in my district parents cannot simply choose to keep their child at home. If the child's needs are so severe that they cannot attend school on a regular basis they are referred to a therapeutic school. My stepson was just placed in a therapeutic school due to his anxiety - one of the expressions of which was truancy from class. IEPs are written with attendance in mind if this is part of a child's struggle, and the appropriate help will be offered, but carte blanche to stay home is generally not something I've ever seen done if for no other reason than school attendance is compulsory.

Sometimes homebound tutoring and/or online school can be offered in an IEP. The point is, there are many options to address a child's needs.

Hope this all is helpful to you!


Roll With It
Thanks BBU! I didn't explain that part very well. We didn't ever keep the kids home just because. The first six or seven times we kept our youngest child home due to sensory issues, we took him to the doctor. Our doctor was astounded! Once we even got him into our specialist in the city because we already had the appointment booked for his older brother. I just asked them to piggyback youngest along with oldest. When they saw him, they fully understood the need.