Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Parent Power

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Parent Power

Article excerpt

Earlier this month a close relative graduated from high school. Graduation is an important rite of passage for any teenager, but for him it was an especially important event. He has Asperger's disorder, and the past 12 years have not been filled with the fond memories many graduates recall at commencement. Instead, he has endured years of distress and anxiety as he has struggled with his disability, sometimes with assistance from sympathetic teachers, sometimes without much support from ignorant instructors. But he persevered to the end, with a healthy GPA to boot.

His parents were anticipating his graduation for a long time. During the past 12 years they've had uncounted meetings with principals, teachers, and counselors. One educator wanted him to be homeschooled, but his parents and mental health providers made sure he remained in the classroom so he could learn the social skills vital for success after graduation.

His parents certainly worked hard to make sure their son had a positive educational experience, but at least they didn't have to take their case before the Supreme Court. In Parma, Ohio, the parents of a boy with autism did not think the school district's plan for their son was adequate, so they sued the school district-without the assistance of a lawyer. …

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