View Full Version : School issues


Simmer
09-15-14, 01:48 AM
Hi, new here. Am a bit rushed as I have three days... sorry.

DS started kindergarten last year and yes had problems. Only a couple of weeks before he had been diagnosed with PDD so it took a few weeks before systems were in place etc. Fast forward to the end of the school year and he was doing okay, with issues. He had an aide in the classroom who pretty much just helped the teacher until such time that DS needed attention - which may have been 3x a day or 3x a week. Basically, they dealt with it, and rarely had to call us once the system was in place. Excellent.

Roll on to first grade and unfortunately we had to move house and thus school, and school district. Despite giving the school district the IEP, the school itself did not receive it, or any knowledge that there was one. A week into term and I was called to the office to pick him up where the principle was most surprised that he did indeed have an IEP - and she phoned the district while I was there to be told the news, "yes, he does have an IEP. Do you want a copy?". Barmy.

Anyway, a month later and despite an initial meeting with the principle, the school psychologist, and the speech therapist, he's still been sent home three times - and now we've been recalled for a meeting earlier than planned after the previous meeting. Given the comments while picking him up, "we can't cope", I'm beginning to suspect that they may be kicking him out. Yes I may well be jumping to conclusions but I've been getting bad feelings about this school right from T-1 day (to cut a long story short, their communication is awful).

So come this Wednesday I want to be armed with facts. While he has an IEP, and they have attempted to continue it by having classroom aides, I don't know their qualifications. If he's sent to special ed it may be a significant bus ride away (I think they have to provide this if they insist on a different school - the current school is walking distance from our house). Academically he was in the top 3 in kindergarten in the previous school, and even his grade 1 teacher has acknowledged he is academically good. Behaviorally not so - and I fully recognize that, but I also know that he usually recovers from such behavior within 15 minutes - even less going by the previous school's reports.

So, after this long and rambling post, please may I humbly ask what advice you can give when we are up against the Principle and her staff on Wednesday? This should be a good school, 9 out of 10 on greatschools, same as the previous one.

For full disclosure, we spent nearly a year on every other possible therapy before starting him on Risperadol and, in the last 6 months, Guanfacine. Generally they do calm him down a lot. Due to the change in location and health insurance issues, he was only recently seen by a new psychologist who continued the same dosages etc.

Lunacie
09-15-14, 11:01 AM
That sounds very much like our experience with my granddaughter PDD-NOS (or atypical autism).

The pre-K teacher got things rolling and she had an IEP in kindergarten.
She did so well that they decided to mainstream her into 1st grade with no para. :doh:

The teacher was not a good match and with no para it wasn't long before my g-daughter
was either throwing her shoes at the teacher or sobbing beneath her desk most every day.

After a couple of difficult IEP meetings the school finally agreed to have her in special ed most of the day.

Sadly, the special ed teacher had no better idea how to work with her. :(

By 2nd grade they had shopped around the district and found a wonderful special ed teacher.
2nd and 3rd grades were much better. :)

But in 4th grade she was put back with the special ed teacher from 1st grade and the whole year was a horror. :mad:

We were being called to come and get her early at least 3 days a week.
And there were some days she refused to even go to school. Can't say I blame her.

At that point the school finally agreed to send her to a different school = and yes,
the local school had to provide transportation.

Did the new principal or teachers have any idea how to teach a child with autism?
Heck no.
But they were willing to learn. :)

Last year she began 6th grade and the district put together a new classroom at a different school
especially for kids with autism. Wonderful teacher! :D Three students and one or two paras. :)

My g-daughter was able to do several inclusion classes accompanied by either the teacher or a para.
This year - 7th grade - class size has more than doubled - she is able to attend some classes with a para
and is even going to lunch and attending two classes all by herself!
What a difference. :yes:

I wish I could erase the bullying that was done by previous teachers. :umm1:
But this excellent teacher seems to be committed to working with these kids
and hopefully she will be there until my g-daughter graduates high school.



Anyhow, if your school can't give your child the proper education,
they must send him to another school and they must provide transportation.
It sounds like it's very much worth looking into.
Sooner rather than later. :grouphug:


Risperdal is also the best choice for my granddaughter, with an anti-anxiety med added.
Who wouldn't have anxiety given her experiences at school?

A great resource for information on schools and IEPs is www. wrightslaw. com.

Simmer
09-15-14, 12:54 PM
Hi, thanks, that's reassuring that we're not alone, though our experience is not a patch on yours. I don't really want him to go into a special school (or special class within a normal school) because 95% of the time he is perfectly okay, and as I say, academically he is doing well. Even when he has the episodes, he can be de-escalated in under 15 minutes given the right handling (sounds like an animal - can't think of a better way of describing this). And I think it's this handling that the new school are not doing correctly. Yes, there is a learning period to go through but a month in and they should really have a rough idea by now. I think they also give up too easily. Last time I picked him up it was only 11am, still another 4 hours of school to go. I told the principle I would bring him back after lunch when he's had time to calm down and she point blank refused to let him back in that day. I know my son as best I can but I do know that in all likelihood he would have been fine. He knows full well that if he's bad he gets sent home, yay fun fun fun, so the school are sending bad messages by sending him home.

That wrightslaw site is huge! Can anyone direct me to what schools can/can't do when it comes to behavior issues? For example, if DS pinched or spat (ugh) on a teacher/aide, yes I would fully expect him to be sent home if he did not have PDD. But since he does, and it's a recognized disability, does this change? No teacher deserves to be abused by kids: I fully understand and sympathize with that. This is one example of his behavior; other times he can just collapse in an emotional mess and be no harm to anybody including himself.

Dizfriz
09-15-14, 01:23 PM
y.



Anyhow, if your school can't give your child the proper education,
they must send him to another school and they must provide transportation.
It sounds like it's very much worth looking into.
Sooner rather than later. :grouphug:


U.S. Supreme Court decision on school costs for sending to another school and was specifically on an ADHD case.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/education/23special.html?_r=1

Might be a good thing to have in your tool kit.

Dizfriz

Lunacie
09-15-14, 02:12 PM
Hi, thanks, that's reassuring that we're not alone, though our experience is not a patch on yours. I don't really want him to go into a special school (or special class within a normal school) because 95% of the time he is perfectly okay, and as I say, academically he is doing well. Even when he has the episodes, he can be de-escalated in under 15 minutes given the right handling (sounds like an animal - can't think of a better way of describing this). And I think it's this handling that the new school are not doing correctly. Yes, there is a learning period to go through but a month in and they should really have a rough idea by now. I think they also give up too easily. Last time I picked him up it was only 11am, still another 4 hours of school to go. I told the principle I would bring him back after lunch when he's had time to calm down and she point blank refused to let him back in that day. I know my son as best I can but I do know that in all likelihood he would have been fine. He knows full well that if he's bad he gets sent home, yay fun fun fun, so the school are sending bad messages by sending him home.

That wrightslaw site is huge! Can anyone direct me to what schools can/can't do when it comes to behavior issues? For example, if DS pinched or spat (ugh) on a teacher/aide, yes I would fully expect him to be sent home if he did not have PDD. But since he does, and it's a recognized disability, does this change? No teacher deserves to be abused by kids: I fully understand and sympathize with that. This is one example of his behavior; other times he can just collapse in an emotional mess and be no harm to anybody including himself.

I meant that you seem to be where we were 6 years ago and hope that you can learn from our story
so that things don't go that far wrong for your son.

I too believe my very smart granddaughter would have been fine in an inclusion class ... IF ...
she'd had a one-on-one aide to avoid upsets and de-escalate upset that still happened.

It seems almost impossible to get that kind of help in a public school though.

Even in her special autism classroom they are short on paras,
which is probably why my g-daughter is being allowed to attend the two classes she most enjoys
(social studies and choir) without a para.

I know that wrightslaw is huge and overwhelming. We have a couple of other posters who may
be able to help point you to the appropriate sections when they check in on the forum.

ccom5100
09-15-14, 02:20 PM
It is my experience that the "good" schools (those highly rated) are less capable or most likely, less willing, to accommodate less than perfect children. It sounds to me like they are not even trying. I would hold them accountable to the IEP. Ask them what the issues are and how they are handling it. Give them examples of how the staff in the other school handled the same situations. Ask if you can sit in and observe so that you can show them how to handle situations that they can't "cope" with. Make it clear that it is their responsibility to learn how to cope.

zette93
09-15-14, 06:27 PM
Haven't had a chance to read all the replies, but here's my take:

If you can afford it, get an educational advocate NOW. At a minimum, most offer a free 1 hour consult. In my area, some advocates charge $50-$60/hr, and the top bulldog ones are $200/hr.

They cannot move your child to a special class or another school without your consent. (If they do, you can take them to mediation and due placement for violating "least restrictive environment" and your right to be part of the decision making team.) On Wed, do not agree to a change in placement. Be sure to record the meeting, and to use the phrase "Lease Restrictive Environment" when discussing things. Write a letter requesting a Functional Behavioral Analysis (you can either deliver it by hand tomorrow or bring it to the meeting). Insist on observing any proposed placement prior to agreeing to move your child there. These two requests should buy you time to get a consultant's help. Also ask about the qualifications of the classroom aides, and what the process is for requesting evaluation for a 1:1 aide.

You might also write up a one page summary of the issues seen in kindergarten and how the school successfully managed it in each instance.

Yes, if he is placed in another school, they have to provide transportation. Hopefully it won't come to that if you feel he can be successful in mainstream.

zette93
09-16-14, 07:58 AM
By they way, I have an letter that I gave to my child's kindergarten and first grade teachers that detailed how to spot an impending meltdown and manage it. For first grade I also had a list of suggestions detailing strategies that had helped in kindergarten. PM me with your email address if you'd like me to send you a copy.

Simmer
09-16-14, 11:03 AM
Thank you everyone - this is most helpful. I guess also we should offer to go in for a day to observe. We had to do this anyway at the old school until they managed to get the aide in place. Actually quite fun helping out a K class! Goodness knows how the teachers do it on a daily basis though.

To be fair to this school, they did get an aide in the very next day - actually a pair, one for the morning, one for the afternoon. But I don't think they have much training so they might be like a chocolate teapot. Our last school said they should be ABA-certified.

Thanks again - I'm a lot more confident now. Obviously I don't want to upset the apple cart but OTOH I do need to be firm and to know my rights.

Simmer
09-16-14, 03:12 PM
Last week we (and everyone else) had a letter to say that Saturday is catch up day. Any child who missed school can attend and catch up on their work. So, as DS has missed several hours a few times, we signed him up.

Today we got a phone call from the Principle to say he is not allowed to attend, unless he comes with a parent or guardian. Seeing as my wife will be asleep (working overnight Friday and Saturday nights), and we have a 2-year old daughter as well, I guess that DS is not offered the same privileges as other children. No child left behind?

Sorry if that sounds judgmental and sour grapes but try as I might, I can't see any other way of looking at this.

zette93
09-16-14, 04:20 PM
Ask for the principal to put it in writing that your son is not allowed to attend without you. It would be good documentation to have if you later need to go through mediation or due process. If his IEP calls for aide support, he is entitled to have it during extras like field trips, etc, and they can't require that the parent provide it.

zette93
09-16-14, 04:23 PM
Actually you should send him an email documenting the phone conversation. Something like, "I understood from our conversation that you have decided that my son is not allowed to attend the Saturday make-up that is available to all students without a parent or guardian present, as the aide support specified in his IEP will not be available. Please correct me if this was a miscommunication, since I would really like for my son to make up the 5 lost instructional hours due to being sent home early on Date1, Date2, and Date3."

Simmer
09-16-14, 11:38 PM
Good ideas, thanks. I've emailed her and the others at the IEP meeting politely asking for the reasoning behind their decision. I hope they reply - previous emails on an unrelated topic went unanswered. I guessed at the email addresses from the first_last@___.org the teachers have - no bounce backs yet.

Simmer
09-17-14, 01:15 PM
They've just put back this afternoon's meeting to next Tuesday. :(

No replies to the emails yet.

Simmer
09-17-14, 07:51 PM
Answerphone message: they found an aide for Saturday! I don't know whether the emails did it or what. They also said he hasn't actually missed anything, despite missing at least a full day of school in total. I suppose it's first grade so there's only so much they do at that point.

Lunacie
09-17-14, 08:54 PM
Answerphone message: they found an aide for Saturday! I don't know whether the emails did it or what. They also said he hasn't actually missed anything, despite missing at least a full day of school in total. I suppose it's first grade so there's only so much they do at that point.

:yes: That's terrific!

meesie
09-19-14, 09:07 AM
Is Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD listed as his primary educational classification on his IEP? PDD, PDD NOS, Asperegers, Autism are all 1 diagnoses now. Under IDEA it needs to be ASD. I know it should go by needs, but the proper classifiaction is very important.

I imagine it is, but I have to ask. I know a lot of parents who have EBD or SLD or OHI as IEP classification and the schools do not offer the specific types of school placement or services that kids with ASD need. Things such as Positive behavior and ABA, etc.


Another thing is it is important to follow your instincts when deciding placement. But do not let emotion take over. If smaller special classes are needed at a younger age it is okay. Self contained classes can be good if the teachers are certified, trained and the end goal is inclusion in a regular classroom.

Nothing wrong with needing help with tools to learn proper behavior and self control at this age when on the spectrum. Just make sure the credentials of the teachers and aides who work with your child are acceptable.

Also, do not forget that kids with ASD, as demands are placed on them in school, behaviors that are easy to redirect at home can be amplified in the school setting. What works at home may not work in school. For example, in school my child has crying spells over writing. At home he fills up complete Journals with writing.
The demands at school and the sensory overload effect his ability at times to keep it together.

My child misses many non verbal types of social cues that most of the kids in 1st grade catch. At this age the kids are using sarcasm and name calling. Are able to do and say things to each other without getting caught. They also make fun of the kids who they deem as acting like a baby, crying for no reason. It is these things that always in the back of my mind have me prepared if the teacher, IEP members ever want to discuss LRE and self contained types of placement. LRE does not always mean full inclusion, sometimes LRE is smaller special ed classes.

Also, Common Core places much demands on speaking and Listening. These 2 things for many kids on the spectrum are very, very hard. Even if academically advanced, as my Aspie is. He has issues with the amount of explaining of things he is required in 1st grade. It is a difficult transition from K, even for NT kiddos.

Simmer
09-22-14, 03:23 PM
I'm a bit confused by the new IEP as it looks nothing like the old one. I don't have it with me at the moment to check but I didn't even think it WAS an IEP as it only really talked about speech therapy. Which is another odd thing as part of the diagnosis included several sessions of speech assessment at Kaiser Permanente and they decided there was nothing wrong with his speech. But he nevertheless gets half an hour of group speech therapy a week within the school, same as the previous school. I don't mind as it's still time with specialists, away from the normal classroom.

His (new) doctor just wrote a "to whom it may concern" letter. In that it states PDD with ADHD. The previous doctor was beginning to suspect ADHD but originally it wasn't part of the diagnosis. Kids grow and change I suppose.

DS is rather sensitive to surprises (like making him jump) and mocking so I guess we'll have to keep an eye on that. Name calling he seems to deal with okayish.

zette93
09-22-14, 04:29 PM
I think sometimes there is a shorter doc used for kids who only need a little speech therapy for pronunciation. I would be wary. Is this his 30 day meeting that you have to have upon entry to a new school district?

What are the actual speech goals? Often social skills classes are run by the school speech therapist. Speech therapists also handle language issues (not just pronunciation).

I assume there were a lot more goals in the IEP in your son's previous school? I would bring extra copies of the old IEP to the meeting and push for those goals to be added to his current IEP. If he was receiving OT before, push for having OT goals (handwriting, tying shoes, etc.) Also bring extra copies of any reports you got from outside evaluations.

The old IEP should also show that he previously got some aide support. It might be shown as hours of "Specialized Academic Instruction" (at least that's how they noted general classroom/shared aides at our last school in CA.)

meesie
09-22-14, 04:59 PM
I'm a bit confused by the new IEP as it looks nothing like the old one. I don't have it with me at the moment to check but I didn't even think it WAS an IEP as it only really talked about speech therapy. Which is another odd thing as part of the diagnosis included several sessions of speech assessment at Kaiser Permanente and they decided there was nothing wrong with his speech. But he nevertheless gets half an hour of group speech therapy a week within the school, same as the previous school. I don't mind as it's still time with specialists, away from the normal classroom.

His (new) doctor just wrote a "to whom it may concern" letter. In that it states PDD with ADHD. The previous doctor was beginning to suspect ADHD but originally it wasn't part of the diagnosis. Kids grow and change I suppose.

DS is rather sensitive to surprises (like making him jump) and mocking so I guess we'll have to keep an eye on that. Name calling he seems to deal with okayish.

I have to say that if this is the case someone is not dong their job well at the school. There really is no mistaking an IEP meeting as one. Were you given any procedual safeguards materials. Did they go over the classification that qualifies him for speech/language? PDD is Autism, that should be listed on his IEP. You need an advocate ASAP!
You need social emotional goals, acadmic goals, and speech language goals for ASD.

zette93
09-23-14, 10:16 AM
I think your meeting is today. DO NOT SIGN to accept the IEP they give you, say you want to look it over at home and think about it before signing. (It's ok to sign the paper that proves you attended the meeting.) Take the proposed IEP to an advocate to get advise on your next step. Be sure to record audio of the meeting.

Simmer
09-23-14, 02:22 PM
Thanks everyone. Yes, we had the meeting today. It actually went a lot better than I was expecting - the bit that worried me was the "we're sending him home and we need a meeting ASAP" kind of attitude I got. But actually it seemed to be more of "we need to alter his IEP to get more help ASAP". Yes it's the 30-day one, brought forward slightly, as well as the annual review.

I was mistaken before - it WAS an IEP but as I say, was in a very different format to the previous one. It does say Autism and Speech Language. I asked whether PDD/ADHD needs to be specified rather than just "Autism" (which is just a checkbox) and they said no, it wouldn't change anything.

He is now going to get half an hour in special ed every day, to work on behavior I think she said. We talked about the aides: he gets on better with the morning aide, but the afternoon one has changed several times due to moving away, resignations, and reassignments. They freely said they need consistency here so he has the same pair of aides on a daily basis wherever possible.

The principle barely said anything during the meeting. It feels to me like she's not overly interested. However, the rest of her staff give me a lot more confidence in their abilities and plans.

We also talked about how he is socially. They said generally he's ok, he's got friends; the only real issue is with tetherball during recess (and he has talked to us about that as well) and that seems to be a lack of consistent rules so he gets upset that he doesn't understand. I think I'd be frustrated too!

So I think we're getting there. Thanks again.

Lunacie
09-23-14, 02:50 PM
That sounds much more promising. Disinterested beats discouraging.

The principal we struggled with actively discouraged the staff in figuring out what my g-daughter needed and giving it to her.

They were all afraid to speak up unless they had already presented their ideas to her in private.

We could never get aides there were there for just my g-daughter - they were to help anyone so she actually got little help.

I think inclusion classes might have worked for her if she'd had that kind of help in primary school.

Last year in the new classroom went so well that this year (7th grade) she is able to attend a couple of inclusion classes without an aide. WOOT!

Simmer
09-23-14, 03:06 PM
Forgot to say they showed us results from academic testing he had last week. It's one of those normalized systems where an average child would score 100 throughout. DS's minimum score was 100, on two subjects, and was well over 100 on every other subject! :cool:

zette93
09-24-14, 11:22 AM
So glad to hear they are working with you! I was worried when you said all he had was speech goals. Did they arrange for the level of aide support you think he needs?

Simmer
09-24-14, 09:11 PM
So glad to hear they are working with you! I was worried when you said all he had was speech goals. Did they arrange for the level of aide support you think he needs?

Not entirely but somehow - even on his old IEP - it doesn't state anything about an aide yet the district provided one, and when they "discovered" the IEP at the new school they got an aide the very next day. I'm not sure they could have done that if it wasn't stated somewhere. Maybe I'm missing something!

What I know did *not* get on the IEP before we left the last school was that the aide should be ABA trained. This actually came from home behavioral support that our health insurance provided (ie nothing to do with the school, though they did all communicate together). The idea just came too late in the term to get everybody together to alter the IEP.

We'll see how it goes with these aides. If they say he's getting on ok with the morning one, and she handles him ok, then I don't feel any urgency for pushing for an ABA aide.

zette93
09-25-14, 09:41 AM
Is the new IEP signed yet? If not, I would push for an ABA trained aide now. What happens if they switch aides sometime during the year and he doesn't get on well with the next one?

Schools will avoid actually specifying aide time if at all possible, because it creates a legal obligation to continue to supply it.

Simmer
11-10-14, 07:28 PM
Quick update: last week DS won the "outstanding achievement award" in his class :cool: and today had a parent-teacher conference. He is batting a minimum average and a maximum of top of class :). Academically then he is in the top few of his class!

On the downside, his main problems now are sharing, invading personal spaces, taking without consent, stuff like that. He gets on well with the aide, though even she is needed less. The teacher thinks he has basically settled down a lot more into the routine. The upheaval of moving house and school probably was a big factor - something his doctor warned us about.

We're now down to seeing his doctor every 2 months. He wanted monthly but his previous doctor was happy with 6-monthly unless there was a change in medication (1 month gap, then 3, then 6 in those cases). As our wonderful (not) healthcare provider would only give us a doctor 60 miles away this is a reasonable compromise (the 2 months interval I mean).

For those that are interested, he is on 1 tablet Risperadol and 0.5 Guanfacine in the morning, and 2 Risperadol in the evening.

Simmer
03-07-15, 01:10 AM
The last couple of months have been up and down but more recently a lot worse. Friday last week he was sent home early. Tuesday this week they asked that he be taken home early but instead my wife went in and calmed him down and he was able to continue for a couple of hours - but then had another meltdown and she had to collect him this time. Thursday another tantrum just an hour after school started and I had to collect him. However, when I did, he was already calm - literally 10 minutes after they called me.

I'm getting rather fed up with them calling me and asking that he be picked up. I work from home, self employed, so I'm an easy target - and now my work is severely suffering. Software that was supposed to be released today is now going to be some time next week, and I'm working late in the evening to try to catch up. Again.

What can I do to break this cycle? DS already knows that if he's naughty then he gets to go home - even though there's no TV/computer/tablet/fun, and that he has to still do his work while he's home. Frankly he has the principle wrapped around his little finger. Obviously I will be teaching the principle this lesson in the inevitable meeting that's coming up but if you can offer any other advice that would be really helpful.

I will fully admit that his behavior is unacceptable and even harmful to other children (and teachers/aides). Yet in his previous school they were able to take him out of the situation and calm him down. Maybe they got a bruise or two but they handled it. Here they seem to be calling me at the first sign of trouble. He has a full time aide - well, he has one aide in the morning and one in the afternoon, but the morning one is yet another new aide which I know is not helping (the situation, not the current aide who does seem a bit more switched on).

Not helping matters much, we finally (after 9 months) got an appointment at the Regional Center in San Bernadino. We spent an hour and a half going through the same questions we've answered time and time again, only to be told, "well, you have private medical insurance, so you don't qualify for our services anyway". What a waste of an entire afternoon! Why didn't they tell us that before we even went there?! The only thing useful she did say (apart from a psychiatric evaluation appointment in 3.5 months time - not sure why if we're not eligible) is that our health insurance should have been providing us ABA therapy all along. Given that our health insurance couldn't organise a bun fight in a bakery I am not surprised that they have not admitted this yet. My wife is dealing with them on that so I don't know the full details but the fact it's taken nigh on 9 months for them to organize precisely nothing says they're not really trying. This on top of being sent a frightening demand from a credit collection agency yesterday which today they (the health insurance) admitted was completely wrong. We really have rubbish insurance! And frequently healthcare workers get excellent health coverage - but not in this hospital.

Sorry, that was a bit of a rant. Tough day yesterday.

Lunacie
03-07-15, 11:26 AM
You're entitled to rant. We've been in that situation and ranted away ourselves.

Simmer
03-16-15, 04:02 PM
So he was sent home three times in just over a week, just before Spring Break, and the first day back he's sent home again. This time for stabbing a child with scissors. What on earth was his aide doing during this time? And the previous time when he turned over several tables and chairs?

I really am at a loss of what to do. The school seems to be handling it poorly, the health insurance don't seem to be fulfilling their obligations, we don't qualify for the regional centers, and our lives are suffering because either I have to abandon work, or my wife has to give up sleeping (she works nights) every time he is sent home.

Lunacie
03-16-15, 05:11 PM
Sorry to hear things are not going well (understatement!).

We have a great local group on facebook for parents of kids with autism.
We share support and info on schools and doctors and therapy.
Maybe check and see if there are parents in your area that help with info on
which schools have programs for SN kids, then ask your school for a transfer.

If they can't handle him at the present school, they need to help find a place
that can. Our school district has an autism specialist who helped us find a place
for my granddaughter. Call the district office and see if they have someone
who can help you.

Kansas has something called Families Together that works with families to
provide support and help in finding services or advocating with schools.
Maybe your state has something like that?