Tonight's episode of Dateline covered young me with autism who were "aging out" of school when they turned 21. The episode highlighted two families' struggles with finding services for the sons after they turned 21. All parents of special needs students should be watch this episode of Dateline. This affects young people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and other developmental disabilities.
We had a transition meeting at Elijah's last ARD meeting (IEP meeting) back in February. Elijah attended the ARD and I asked that a representative from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to attend his ARD. The DARS representative works only with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I signed consent for her to meet with Elijah at the high school next year and in the years to follow. I am hoping that we can come up with a plan for him for after graduation. Elijah can stay in school until the age of 21 since he is under special education. I don't know if he will need to stay in school until he is 21 or graduate when he completes four years of high school and passes his classes. He will be 19 at that time. He repeated second grade back in elementary school.
Like the moms in the Dateline episode I have educated myself on Elijah's rights and am his strongest advocate. I also have my experience as a teacher in special education to assist me. I am not sure how parents who don't have this background navigate the system. I don't usually write about work, but I do worry about my own students. All I can do is try to educate the parents as best I can.
THE SHADDOX BOYS
Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!