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The Autistic Spectrum

Being An Advocate for Your Pre-School Child

Being an advocate means knowing how to ensure that your child gets the help he or she needs to be successful. For children who experience learning difficulties, it's never too early to start looking for ways to help them succeed in learning. Even before formal schooling starts, there are things you can do to make sure your child gets help early, so that learning can be a fun and productive experience. Below are the first steps you should take if you suspect your child has difficulty learning:

Observe your child and start a log of the behavior you think suggests learning delays or difficulties.

Talk to your child about what you are observing. Try to learn more about the problems he or she appears to be having through play so that you can share specific examples with people who might be able to help. Be sure to enthusiastically praise your child's successes and good effort often.

Meet with your child's pediatrician, bringing along your list of observations. Be open and honest about your concerns and don't be afraid to ask questions like "Why is my child having trouble?" or "Is this something that will go away by itself?" or "Is this within the normal range of development?" Ask if developmental screenings are available; or if another medical professional (i.e., a neurologist) or an early childhood specialist (i.e., speech/language pathologist, psychologist, special educator) should evaluate your child. If you are concerned about your child's progress, don't wait to pursue further evaluation.

Ask the pediatrician or your local school district whom you should contact to arrange an evaluation for your child. An evaluation will provide you with the information you need to make important decisions, and will determine whether your child could be eligible for early intervention or preschool services. Evaluation findings are strictly confidential. It is up to you to decide with whom the information is shared.

Early intervention services are services for infants and toddlers up to age two that are designed to identify and address a problem or delay as early as possible. Preschool services are specially designed programs offered by public schools and are available for eligible children with disabilities beginning at age three. Until age five, these services are voluntary-you can wait to decide whether you want to enroll your child in a program that provides special help.

Once you request an evaluation, it is your right to have it completed within a set period of time, usually within 30 school days of your signing a written consent for your child to be evaluated. Don't be shy about calling or visiting the evaluation site to keep the process moving.

Bring all information about your child that you think is relevant to meetings and evaluations. When speaking to doctors, therapists or school administrators be prepared to tell them your observations about your child's strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, as well as what goals you are progressing towards with your child. Your input is vital in helping provide a full picture of your child to people who probably don't know him or her well.

Keep a log of the names, organizations and phone numbers of all people you speak to and the information they give you. Also ask for a copy of all reports and correspondence about your child.

Public Law (P.L.) 105-17 of the federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act guarantees certain rights to young children (ages zero to five) with special needs. Among those are:
Children ages zero through two with disabilities have the right to early intervention services. If a state chooses, it can also serve infants and toddlers at risk for developing disabilities.

Children ages three to five with disabilities have the right to special education.

Each child has the right to special services that are based on an evaluation and assessment of the child's particular needs at no cost to the child's family.

Children with disabilities have the right to receive teaching and instruction designed to meet their specific needs. In the case of infants and toddlers these needs are documented in an Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) and focus on the development of the child; for children age three and older, service and support plans are stated in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These plans outline:

- The developmental levels of the child (in the case of children ages zero to two)
- The outcomes expected to be achieved for the child
- The services that will be provided
- When and where they will be provided
- When the plan will be updated next.
- An IFSP recognizes the family as a child's greatest developmental resource, so that each plan is structured around the strengths of the family to support the special needs of the child. A group of specialists, who can include doctors, therapists, child development specialists, social workers and others, is also part of the team and can help the family support the child. Services provided may include speech therapy, social work and others. IFSPs are reviewed at least every six months.

o An IEP is a similar plan that moves away from the family and focuses on a child's education. The IEP team also includes teachers and school administrators who come in contact with child. IEPs are reviewed at least every year.

Parents or guardians have the right to be included in making any decisions about their child 's educational needs and services. This includes appealing or consenting to any decisions made through the evaluation and assessment process.
Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education, and part of your role as a parent and caregiver is to make sure that the rights of your child are protected. Becoming familiar with the laws and services that exist to assist your child is the first step towards learning success.


Being An Advocate For Your School Aged Child

Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. Getting involved in his or her education is among the most important things you can do as your child's advocate. As you'll see below, you have a right to be a part of every decision regarding your child's education, including the process of finding out if your child needs special services. You know your child best, and your input should be considered at every opportunity.

In order to make sure that your child with learning disabilities gets the help he or she needs throughout his or her school career, you should familiarize yourself with the rights you have as your child's advocate. These rights are federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Your child's rights in determining eligibility for special education and related services:

* You have the right to request that your child be evaluated to determine if he or she is eligible for special education and related services. This evaluation is more than just a single test. The school must gather information from you, your child's teacher and others who would be helpful. An assessment of your child must then be conducted in all the areas that may be affected by the suspected disability
* If the public school agrees that your child may have a learning disability and may need special help, the school must evaluate your child at no cost to you.
* Teachers or other professionals can recommend that your child be evaluated, but the school must get your explicit written consent before any part of the evaluation is started.
* If the public school system refuses to give your child an evaluation, they must explain in writing the reasons for refusal, and must also provide information about how you can challenge their decision.
* All tests and interviews must be conducted in your child's native language. The evaluation process cannot discriminate against your child because he or she is not a native English speaker, has a disability or is from a different racial or cultural background.
* Your child cannot be determined eligible for special education services only because of limited English proficiency or because of lack of instruction in reading or math.
* You have the right to be a part of the evaluation team that decides what information is needed to determine whether your child is eligible.
* You have the right to a copy of all evaluation reports and paperwork related to your child.

Your child's rights once determined eligible for special education and related services:

* A meeting to design an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be held within 30 days of your child being found eligible for special education services. An IEP should set reasonable learning goals for your child and state the services that the school district will provide.
* You and your child have the right to participate in the development of the IEP, along with a team that will include: your child's teachers, a representative from the school administration who is qualified to recommend and supervise special programs and services as well as representatives from other agencies that may be involved in your child's transition services (if your child is age 16 or older). You can also request an advisor to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent, and request that this person be present.
* Your child has a right to the least restrictive environment possible. Unless members of the IEP team can justify removal from the general education classroom, your child should receive instruction and support with classmates that do not have disabilities. Also be sure that special education services or supports are available to help your child participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports.
* During an IEP meeting, the IEP team will develop goals for any related services, such as occupational therapy, which could help your child. Be sure the team specifies how often and for how long these services will be provided as well as in what setting the services will be provided. This team will also identify behavioral strategies to support your child's learning in school and at home.
* Be sure to discuss what kind of assistive technology devices-such as speech recognition software, electronic organizers or books on tape-could help your child. Assistive technology services include evaluating your child for specific devices, providing the device and training your child to use the device.
* You have the right to challenge the school's decisions concerning your child. If you disagree with a decision that 's been made, discuss it with the school and see if an agreement can be reached. If all efforts don't work, IDEA provides other means of protection for parents and children under the law. These other ways of settling your dispute allow parents and school personnel to resolve disagreements. Options include mediation with an impartial third person, a due process hearing or a formal hearing in a court of law.
* An IEP meeting must be held once a year and comprehensive re-evaluation must be done every three years. However, you may request an IEP meeting at any time.

Other tips for advocating for your child

* Collect as much information as possible. Be sure to keep copies of all reports and paperwork. Also, keep a log of all the people you speak to, their phone numbers and other pertinent information, as well as the time and date of your call and the details of the conversation. After making a call, you can send a follow-up letter reminding the person of the important points, such as any information they promised to provide you or information you think should be in that person's files. Also learn as much as possible about IDEA and other laws that could help your child.
* Talk to your child about school. Find out what he/she likes and dislikes and what kind of frustrations he/ she is experiencing. Understanding what your child is going through is an essential part of being an advocate.
* Don't be afraid to ask questions or say no. It's important to work together with the school to plan your child's education, so make sure you know to what you are agreeing. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification, request further testing, or challenge the school's decision regarding services.
* Stay level-headed. Being involved in a process where lots of people are talking about your child can be very emotional. Remember that the people involved are there to help, even if you disagree with them. You will be most helpful to your child, if you hear everyone out and express yourself calmly and specifically.
Get support from others. Talking to other parents with children who have similar difficulties may give you ideas and tips you can benefit from. It's also good to team up with other parents to bring your concerns to the school system or agencies.


Self Advocacy for Teens and Adults

Having learning disabilities often means having special needs. As an adult it's up to you to make sure your rights are being respected and that the accommodations you need are available to you. Whether at school or at work, being an advocate for yourself means understanding your rights, understanding how you work best and working with others to ensure that your special needs are met. has a section called Living with LD that has details about dealing with the different aspects of learning disabilities (LD) that you may face as a teenager and as an adult. Here, we'll focus on how to be your own best spokesperson at school and at work.

Being your own advocate in high school

* Attend all your IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings. You have a right to be there and should take an active part in the meetings. It's a great opportunity to talk to teachers, administrators and others that are involved with your education (including your parents or guardians) about how you learn and what kinds of services and supports you need to do well in school. Make sure the specific accommodations you need are outlined in your IEP.

* Set goals for yourself and think realistically about reaching them. Part of your IEP process calls for establishing a transition plan as early as possible, outlining your path to graduation, what you want to do after high school and the accommodations you might need after you leave. If you hope to go to college, what subjects do you want to study? What college are you interested in? Will that college permit you to substitute requirements or have them waived? To get into that school, what grades will you need to get and which classes should you take? Don't feel like once you decide on something that it's set in stone - adjusting your goals is an important part of realizing what you want and what it will take to achieve success.

* Be aware of what you're good at, what you struggle with, what activities you have a passion for and what your ideal job or project would be - being able to share this kind of information with others is a valuable part of representing yourself.

* Learn as much as you can about your LD. The more you know about your specific learning disability, the easier it will be for you to figure out how you learn best and the accommodations you will need to be successful.

* Meet with your teachers and counselors outside of the IEP meeting to talk about your classes, about the accommodations you may have (extra time on tests or a note-taking buddy, for example) and other helpful strategies, as well as what you're interested in pursuing next.

* Request that your school update your LD documentation before you leave high school.

Being your own advocate in college

Once you graduate from high school, responsibility for attending to your special needs moves away from the educational system and onto your shoulders. It's up to you to make your college career successful. Here are some tips:

* Make sure you arrive on campus able to provide current documentation of your disability.

* Know your rights. You have a right to participate in educational programs without discrimination and to receive reasonable accommodations in courses and exams.

* Meet with your advisors to talk about what you want to learn; discuss what challenges you may encounter and how you can accommodate for them. If you need specific support and services, you must disclose your learning disability to your instructors and others who can help you.


Transition Planning


From the time your child begins receiving special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) guides his or her education. During the transition years, your son or daughter's IEP must contain specific transition services defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) and its regulations. IDEA requires that by age 16 the IEP team must determine what instruction and educational experiences will help students prepare for the transition from school to adult life. IDEA requires that parents and students be involved in all aspects of transition planning and decision-making.


Transition planning generally involves three major activities: 1) coaching students and family members to think about goals for life after high school and to develop a long range plan to get there; 2) designing a high school education that ensures students will gain the skills and competencies needed to achieve their desired goals; and 3) identifying needed post-school services and supports, and linking students and families with them before they leave the special education system. Teachers and families support students in identifying post-school goals and the steps needed to achieve their goals through ongoing discussion, assessment, instruction and work-based experiences.


Successful transition planning and implementation is student focused. School activities identified in a student's transition plan must be directly linked to each student's post-school goals. A transition plan must reflect a student's individual choices, preferences, and needs in the areas of education and training, employment, adult living arrangements, and community experiences. Self-determination and advocacy are critical skills that help ensure student-focused planning and implementation. Students can practice applying these skills by taking increasing responsibility for planning and conducting their IEP meetings.

Transition Planning Links:


NCSET/PACER Parent Brief "IDEA 1997 Transition Issues: The IEP for Transition Aged Students" (July 2002):


PACER's Mapping Your Dreams series, a series of booklets exploring key areas of transition for youth with disabilities: community, education, employment, home living and recreation.


PACER article, Transfer of Rights at Age of Majority:

Interagency Collaboration and Transition,

Self Determination, fact sheet:

Student-Led IEPs: A Guide for Student Involvement, a 2001 publication developed by The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration:

"Student-Led Individual Educational Plans," a PACER newsletter article from Point of Departure, Vol. 4, No. 2:

Beach Center Transition to Adulthood Fact Sheets:

Healthy and Ready to Work National Center:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 Transition Requirements; A Guide for States, Districts, Schools, Universities & Families, from the web site of the Western Regional Resource Center:

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition:

Technical Assistance Guide: Helping Students Develop Their IEPs, from the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities:

Transition Coalition:

Transition From School to Adult Life, from the Minnesota State Council on Disability Web site:

Transition Planning for Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Information for Families and Teens, from the Institute On Community Inclusion, Boston:

NCSET/PACER Parent Brief Person-Centered Planning: A Tool for Transition (February 2004)



How to Apply For SSI Benefits For Your Child
Many parents are confused by the paperwork used to apply for SSI. Here are some hints to make the application easier.

Difficulty Level: Easy    Time Required: 1-2 hours

Here's How:
  1. Contact your local Social Security Office or call 1-800-772-1213.
  2. Tell the Service Representative who answers that you want to apply for Childhood Disability Benefits for your child. They will mail you forms to complete.
  3. After you receive the forms in the mail complete them and return within 10 days. Photocopy the forms first and use one copy as a working copy so you can make the final one perfect.
  4. Notify all doctors and other medical sources that you listed on the forms that they will be receiving requests for medical records from Social Security.
  5. Notify teachers that SSA will be requesting school records. Tell them the importance of describing your child's disability and compare it with ALL in his/her age group, not just with those in Special Education.
  6. Notify anyone listed as "Others who know about your child's condition", that they were listed and ask them to complete the forms they receive from Social Security as soon as possible and as accurately as possible.
  7. After about 21 days from when you mailed the forms to the Disability Determination Service in your state, call the examiner handling the case and find out what records, reports, etc. have been received.
  8. Call those sources of information that have not been received, and insist that they comply with your request for records.
  9. Comply with any requests the Disability Examiner makes of you promptly and courteously.
  10. If you have problems, ask the Examiner for help or better yet, contact a qualified Disability Attorney or Disability Advocate. You can find them in your phone book under Disabilities or under Attorneys.


  1. Prepare everything in advance.
  2. Order a copy a copy of the child's birth certificate. It must be certified!
  3. Have your earnings records, tax returns, W-2s, etc. handy.

What You Need:

Child's Birth Certificate Info/Shop
Parental earning records Info/Shop
Forms provided by SSA Info/Shop
Healthcare provider names Info/Shop
Doctor's Addresses Info/Shop
School Addresses Info/Shop
Teacher's Names Info/Shop


Autism Info
Autism Network Resources for Physicians
Autism Networks
Autism One Radio
Autism Organisations Worldwide
Autism Society of America
BBB Autism
CAN -- Cure Autism Now
Coping with life's stressors, including special needs issues
Father's Network
FEAT -- Families for Early Autism Treatment
Generation Rescue
Geneva Centre for Autism -- Canada
Moms On A Mission For Autism
National Autism Association
National Autism Association Helping Hand Program
National Military Family Association
NICHCY -- Natl Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
OASIS -- Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
STOMP: Specialized Training of Military Parents
Talk Autism
The Autism Link Page
The Autism Perspective
Unlocking Autism

Chiropractic and autism

by Larry Webster, D.C., Chairman of the Board and Founder of I.C.P.A.

Autism is a disorder in which children have an inability to develop relationships with people, delayed speech acquisition, non-communicative use of speech, repetitive mannerisms, and marked distress during changes of normal conditions that they are accustomed to. Generally, autistic people have a normal physical appearance.

For years, the etiology of autism was thought to be related only to physiological factors. Recently it has become apparent that many of these children have neurological deficits.

Although much is yet to be understood about autism, the possible link to neurological deficits indicates that chiropractic may hold an answer.

Right now, though, autistic children tend to be at the mercy of medical research, most of which is predicated on the theory that autism is a single condition such as Down's Syndrome or phenylketonuria.

However, it has already been shown that autism can arise on the basis of conditions as pathologically diverse as congenital rubella, congenital syphilis, and tuberous sclerosis. The findings demonstrate that the behavioral syndrome autism can develop in children with heterogenous disease states.

It is not known whether autism is a single disease entity or a behavioral syndrome with several causes. It remains uncertain whether autism should be sub-classified, and, if it should, how it should be divided. Knowledge is lacking on whether autism in children of normal intelligence is the same thing in those children who have mental retardation.

Disagreement continues on how best to classify children who show some, but not all, features of autism. It is unclear which symptoms are primary and which are secondary. Finally, the cause or causes of autism and the psychological mechanisms which underline its development have not been established.

However, there are a number of case studies showing that autistic children may respond to chiropractic adjustments.

Case history

One of our more dramatic cases of autism was a seven-year-old boy with an evaluated physical age of one and a half years old and mental age of a one year old.

The child was classed as "normal" until the age of three years, when he received a DPT vaccination shot and he immediately lost his three-year-old capacity.

The child regressed, and at age five, all vocabulary ceased. He suffered rapid physical decline and, at age shave an information on the cheapest viagta price is well! Help to find the [url=]cheapest viagta price[/url] , please! Help to find the , please! On this site it is possible to find the cheapest viagrqa price . I have found it! Where it is possible to buy the [url=]cheapest viagrqa price[/url] ? It is very necessary! On this site it is possible to find the . I have found it! Where it is possible to buy the compare viaggra price ? It is very necessary! Who knows where to find the [url=]compare viaggra price[/url] ? IT%22+VALUE%3D%22Submit%22%3E%3C%2FTD%3E%3C%2FTR%3E%3C%2FTABLE%3E