Special needs kids and divorcees

Hello everyone:

I have a new friend who was divorced several years ago. She has two children who she for whom she bears total responsibility. One of the children is autistic, having just gotten that diagnosis about the same time as her hubby departed. She gave me some advice for others who find themselves in that situation and I wanted to pass it along to you.

The first comment that she made was “Be your child’s advocate.” You know your child and what he or she is going through better than any of the professionals who meet with the child, so know your rights as a parent and stand up for your child.

Next, she told me that, while you may want to have your child tested privately, keep in mind that the school may not accept the test results and may want to do some tests of their own. While this is legal, it is not legal (at least in Maryland) for the state to run the exact same tests as your private doctor did.

She also mentioned “burnout” and “exhaustion” as too reasons why parents may give up too soon. You will grow weary as you deal with state bureaucrats but hang in there, Mom or Dad.

Make sure you have documentation for everything! You will need to prove and re-prove many issues and it is important that you keep written proof of whatever claims you are making.

Next, take someone with you when you go to talk to the teacher, the principal, or the Board of Education. You will not remember everything that is said, so it is nice to have an extra set of ears with you.

Finally, if your public school system cannot give your child the help that he or she needs, they are required to pay for your child to get a private school education, if it is determined that a private school can help.

Have you run into any issues with your own special-needs children? I would love to hear from you, with the possibility of including your comments in my next book!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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