POSTED: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 9:47pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 2:38pm
Being the parent of an autistic child is a difficult job under the best of circumstances.
So is the school district really ready to help these kids move into the mainstream despite their disability?
It all began with a message from a couple of angry parents who say their two autistic boys were not getting the understanding they needed from TISD.
Tony and Stephanie Lamb are the parents of lively twin boys… but Tony and Stephanie face an additional challenge. Their twins are autistic.
Autism is a neural disorder that severely affects how a child learns, communicates and interacts with others.
Tony and Stephanie say that the Primary Years Program for Children with disabilities at Clarkston Elementary was very important to their boys. But one day…
“They said that they lost classroom space,” Tony said, “and there wasn’t room for the special needs kids at Clarkston and they’re going to have to move them somewhere else.”
“We just went to the meeting,” Stephanie added, “and they let us know our boy’s class was going to be gone in two weeks. It’s not just our boys, it’s all special needs kids. They just get tossed around.”
But, the students and staff of Clarkston Elementary were moving into their new campus, and a certain amount of confusion is understandable.
And the new Clarkston didn’t have the special class, since it actually lost some classroom space.
“And then on the TISD website it says that they accommodate for each individual student,” Stephanie told us. “Well my kids aren’t accomodated for, they just move them to wherever they can. And that’s not right to me.”
The boys were actually of an age to move on into the Life Skills class at Jones, there they are now. So it seems the district did offer an alternative, so why are they angry?
“I don’t feel like they’re understanding the special needs part of it,” Stephanie says. “They wouldn’t do that to regular kids.”
We spoke to Angela Jenkins with TISD…and she said that there just aren’t enough kids like their boys to have the PPCD at every campus. That’s why TISD offers free transportation to the school they attend.
These are my kids,” Stephanie said defiantly. “I’m going to stand up for them. And it’s not just us, it’s other parents of special needs kids.“
In the end, it’s easy to understand that there is frustration. But since the district did offer a new location for the class just a couple of miles away, and transportation to it…it’s hard to find fault with them on this one.