Many of you know that I have a grown son on the spectrum. You can read about our journey by following this link.
If you’re a regular reader or blogger you also know the amazing connections we foster around the world, and the tremendous support that flows from our blogging community.
On March 8th I received a private email from Pauline at The Contented Crafter.
Pauline had just read a post from her friend Sherri who blogs at A View From My Summer House. Sherri’s adult daughter is also on the spectrum. Moved by Sherri’s recent post, Pauline put me in touch with Sherri via her blog.
Here is Sherri’s story.
About a week later, Marlene at In Search of it All also sent me a private email, this time about an autistic child and his mother, struggling to keep her son Ben in school. The story is similar to ours in many ways, an uphill struggle of a mom trying to do the right thing for her child. Ironically, Marlene saw the story when another writer blogged the news of Ben’s plight.
Garrett Winter, a writer and an adult on the spectrum, shares the plight of Ben and his mom Tricia in this post Help Me Get Ben Back to School
And finally, here is Tricia’s heartfelt post.
I’ve reached out to both of these moms, and to Garrett as well. I’ve also donated to the GoFundMe campaign set up to cover some of the legal costs she is now facing, simply to get him the education he deserves. I know from personal experience that many of these school administrations are condescending, hostile and uncooperative, and at times violate the law by obstructing a child’s right to a public education. The fact that the family had to set up a fundraising page to raise money for legal help so her child can go back to school is infuriating.
Just last week my son’s former high school district invited me to speak to the board of directors at Campbell Union High School District. The executive director of special education put together a presentation on their program’s successes, and I was one of three guests invited to speak. Unlike our obstructive elementary school district, Campbell Union provided services and support to ease our son’s transition from a non-public school to a fully mainstreamed high school. He thrived because he got the right kind of support and because people cared and understood his needs while at the same time valuing his strengths. He is currently attending university.
Campbell’s model should be shared with other schools and programs. Funds should be available to help all children succeed. After all, our children are the future. When they do well in school, everybody wins.
Garrett, thank you for sharing Ben and Tricia’s story. Tricia, don’t give up. There are lots of people who understand and support you. Sherri, my heart goes out to you. Please know that people like Pauline, Marlene, Garrett and others you’ve yet to meet are pulling for you.