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dramamama444
dramamama444 asks:
Q:

What to do when parents of a middle-school student don't realize their son likely has Asperger's (and the teachers are not allowed to tell)?

I teach middle school at a very small, accredited private school in the Atlanta area.  The second week of school, we enrolled a new student straight out of a home-schooling environment who has MANY of the typical traits associated with Asperger's Syndrome.  Unfortunately, his parents have no idea that there is a likely explanation for his obsessive behavior, poor social skills, awkward motor function, inability to do anything creative, making odd noises in class, and general arrogance that comes across as a know-it-all attitude.  They just think he's "quirky" and, by the time he was halfway through middle school, couldn't handle dealing with him at home anymore.

My principal would never allow us to share our suspicions with his parents, for fear that they would be insulted and take their business elsewhere (the economy has hit us hard).  However, this keeping-the-parents-in-the-dark strategy isn't doing their son any favors, as the other students don't want anything to do with him at this point (they've been VERY patient with him for the past 2 months, but are becoming fed up).  He's an only child, and always expects to get his own way. He behaves as though regular school rules, and rules in general, apply to everyone except himself.  

I'm considering "planting" a book about Asperger's on my classroom's lending library shelf, as he's a voracious reader, so sooner or later he'd find it and take it home.  Any thoughts?

In Topics: Working with my child's teacher(s), Working with school administrators, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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BMelton
BMelton , Teacher writes:
I can understand your frustrations about being restricted from talking to the parents about your concerns. First, you are not qualified to diagnose Asberger's Syndrome; however, speaking with the parents about your observations and concerns (without diagnosing the student) is appropriate and within the scope of your professional expertise. Ask the parents what concerns they have. Listen and reflect what they tell you. You may learn that they understand what is going on and want help. You may want to suggest that counseling would be beneficial to help this student adjust from homeschooling to a traditional classroom setting. Give the parents three counselors' names and information. The counselor is in a better position to provide an understanding and therapeutic environment and support the child's growth in school.
> 60 days ago

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ECSEProcessCoordinator
ECSEProcess... writes:
This is ridiculous. You do not need to be 'sneaking' and undermine the parent.  It is your obligation to make a referral to the school district to start the special education process and evaluation under IDEA.  I understand that you are in a private school, but the school district can still do an evaluation.  There are very professional and appropriate ways to approach the subject - but more importantly, it is definitely not something you should take on yourself.  The TEAM makes the referral to the district - your TEAM is combined with the DISTRICT team - you do an evaluation and the TEAM determines whether or not he meets eligibility.  We let the data speak - observations are discussed very objectively.  

Do not take this on yourself.  Find out what your school's processes and procedures require to make a referral for an evaluation.  Tell the parents:  "we are making a referral for a special education evaluation due to these observations and concerns (list)".  You do not have to say autism/etc. at that time.  You speak objectively and list the concerns and how those concerns are affecting him academically and socially.  While you do not need permission to make a referral, you WILL need permission to SHARE info with the school district.    

I hear many teachers say that they never made a parent referral because the parents weren't on board.  Doesn't matter, make the referral so that it is documented and it can be shown that attempts were made.  

Hope this helps.
> 60 days ago

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