Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Does Classification Matter on the IEP?

"Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it".   ~  Kathleen Casey Theisen ~
When my son was entering kindergarten, it was decided at the CSE meeting that the classification be OHI - Other Health Impaired.  The reasoning for this decision as according to the CSE chair was that there was no classification for PDD-NOS; the diagnosis we received when Aren was four years old.  PDD-NOS is an autism spectrum disorder.  In retrospect, the classification should have been autism but we didn't have the "official" diagnosis at the time.  Back then, there was just so much I didn't know about my son's disability and the special education system.  I was so ignorant and very much overwhelmed by it all.  On some level, I had a false sense of security that everything would work out.  It was short lived.  The facade quickly slipped away as I noticed that my son wasn't progressing as I thought he should.
Fast forward to present day, I recently had my son extensively evaluated as I mentioned in a previous post.  He clearly has an autism spectrum disorder and therefore the classification needs to change from OHI to autism.  The autism classification would mean my son will get the much needed services.  In fact, had he had the autism classification on the IEP since day one, some of his struggles might have been effectively addressed.  Of course, more services means a bigger slice from the district budget.  And, right now as of this writing, the school district isn't budging on changing the classification which probably has a lot more to do with budgetary concerns instead of what is necessary for my son.
I have a full CSE team meeting coming up.  And, by the way, there is an IEP my husband and I haven't agreed on since June.  In the interim, the district has been given very compelling reports and documentation supporting my son's autism spectrum diagnosis.  My intention is to flat out request for a change in the classification.  It is necessary before it gets too late and my son is at risk of slipping further behind his peers.
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth"  ~  Albert Einstein ~


  1. The district was in violation of his rights from the outset. PDD-NOS is autism and it should have been on the IEP from the git-go. There are laws and regulations in NY State that require the district to provide certain supports to persons with the autism category. Get the number of a lawyer handy just incase. In fact you don't have to wait until the IEP meeting, you know you can call a program review at any time during the year to have that changed.

  2. Elise, I absolutely agree with you. At the last meeting, we requested for the classification to change from OHI to Autism and we were told it wasn't going to be decided yet although we have extensive documentation from past and present health professionals that indicates PDD-NOS/Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although we have another meeting today, I anticipate the district will refuse to change the classification regardless of the reports from the well respected NYU Child Study Center.

    At this point, we're bracing ourselves for the inevitable due process hearing. Will post more on this later.


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