Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Here's My Letter To The Auditor/Please Send Your Own

To Whom It May Concern.

I am the parent of three former Lee’s Summit students.  Two of my children graduated in 2009.  One of them attempted college, but had not received the education that she needed to further her education.  She was required to take remedial classes in college.  42% of Lee’s Summit graduates that attend community college are forced to take remedial classes in college.  My child was one of them.

My son was supposed to graduate in 2011.  Instead he became a high school dropout.  He has been diagnosed with Early Infantile Autism/Kanner’s Syndrome, Inattentive and Impulsive ADHD, Dysgraphia, and Anxiety.  His needs were not met in the district and he was abused emotionally and psychologically.  He was forced to take medication just to walk through the doors.  The medication caused liver damage and we were forced to take him off of it.  He didn’t need the medication for any other area of his life, so we were forced to make the decision to remove him from school.  He was not receiving the services or education that he needed and it would have been abusive to continue to force him to go to school.

The school district paid a psychologist to perform an Independent Educational Evaluation.  When they received the results they refused to follow her recommendations.  She gave them very clear and concise recommendations and they stated that they did not interpret them in the same manner that I did.  My son has dysgrapia and sensory issues and they refused to provide him with occupational therapy.  He had no therapies for his autism in the entire time that he was in the school district.  We moved to this school district just because of their reputation and now we know that it was not earned. 

I could go on for several pages about the illegal, immoral, and abusive things that have been done to my son, but I am sure that you could simply look at the files and see for yourselves.

I filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.  They found that the district was not implementing my son’s Individualized Education Plan.  What they didn’t find were things that the district had removed from my son’s file.  Therefore, the district is guilty of perjury and tampering with my son’s education records. 

There has been much research into aquatic therapy and its use for autistic students.  We have a $12 million aquatic center that the district refuses to use for their autistic population.  The last numbers that I was able to get from the district showed that 250 students had a medical diagnosis of autism, but only 98 of them had an educational diagnosis.  This district has a history of denying children services that have been recommended by experts. 

One family was forced to send their child to a private school because the district was going to put their child in a life skills class so that he wouldn’t mess up their MAPS scores.  I could go on and on, but suffice it to say many families are fighting for their children and their children are being left behind. 

I pray that you use this audit to find the many immoral, illegal, and unethical things that are being done in this district.


Cofounder and President Lee's Summit Autism Support Group
Cofounder MOAFAA (Missouri Advocates for Families Affected by Autism)
In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”
-Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
 “It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.”― Carl T. Rowan

Autism and the role of Aquatic Therapy in Recreational Therapy Treatment Services
Laurie Jake CTRS, CEDS
Imagine a world where you did not see, hear, smell, feel and taste the way everyone else does. Imagine a world where lights and sounds bombard your senses and frighten you. This is often the world that children with autism live in. 

Autism is a lifelong neurological and biological developmental disability that begins at birth or during the first three years of life. Current prevalence rates indicate an incidence of about 2 in 1000. Although the cause is still unknown, Autism appears to be associated with some hereditary factors. The risk of Autism is three times more likely in males and is not isolated to any one race, culture or socioeconomic group.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV, l994) places Autistic Disorder under the broader category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, which includes Autistic Disorder, but also Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, and PDD not otherwise specified.

Autism has numerous treatment implications for recreational therapy because of the significant impact on an individual’s lifestyle. The main features of Autism include severe delays in language development, inconsistent pattern of sensory responses, uneven patterns of intellectual functioning with peak skills in some areas and significant deficits in others, and marked restriction of activity and interests. Beyond the public perception of Dustin Hoffman’s performance in the movie Rain man, most people understand very little about this complex disorder that affects every aspect of an individual’s life.

Socially, children with Autism may lack awareness of others, have severe anxiety around others, experience difficulties with reciprocity, and significant difficulties with socialization. A child with Autism will usually lack any kind of a social smile or eye contact. They lack ‘normal’ responses to people, they may laugh and giggle inappropriately or cry and tantrum easily. The usually have poor play skills, and spend time alone rather than with others. They show little interest in making friends and usually lack the ability to form personal attachments. Often children with Autism lack spontaneous or imaginative play. They do not imitate others' actions and they don't initiate pretend games like other children.

Autism involves many cognitive consequences including; problems with verbal commands, problems with verbal concepts and explanations, literal and concrete understanding, delayed processing, and problems with communicating. Children with Autism often focus on detail and have trouble with choices. They are unable to distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, which results in significant difficulty making decisions. They have trouble understanding cause and effect relationships and are usually not able to understand the concept of time.

Children with Autism have a strong need for sameness and they usually have a very hard time with any changes or transitions. These children have a strong need for rituals and routine and free time is very difficult for them to manage.

Children with Autism often have low muscle tone, self-injurious behavior, and unusual sleeping patterns. Autism is associated with various kinds of neurobiological symptoms, which may include unusual reflexes and high rates of seizure disorder. Children with Autism have significant sensory and perceptual problems, including inconsistent response to sounds. They are very distractible and will over or under react to stimuli. They usually dislike certain textures. They may have a strong sensory need to smell or lick and they have a great deal of trouble screening sounds and processing words.

The lifestyle of children with Autism includes many challenges due to their organizational and sequencing problems. These children don’t know where to start, what comes next, or when a task is finished. This creates significant difficulties with organizing their day or their activity involvements.

Recreational therapy interventions can help address many of these affected life areas. Recreational therapy can play a primary role in enhancing the quality of life and productivity of a child with Autism. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, Recreational therapists offer individuals with disabilities the opportunity to resume normal life activities and to establish/re-establish skills for successful social integration.

Among the range of interventions that a recreational therapist might choose, one unique and very successful alternative for individuals with autism is aquatic therapy. Water activities provide autistic children with proprioceptive and tactile input. Children with Autism have significant sensory difficulties, and are very distractible. These children over or under react to stimuli in their environment and have very strong reactions to certain textures. The warm water provides a safe and supported environment, which not only supports the children, but also provides them with hydrostatic pressure that surrounds their body in the water. This pressure actually soothes and calms the children, providing the necessary sensory input they crave.

Aquatics activities are a fun and enjoyable experience that have many physical, psycho social, cognitive, and recreational benefits. Research continues to support the concept that water is the ideal medium in which to exercise or rehabilitate the body. Water provides an environment, which reduces body weight by 90%, decreasing stress or impact on the body. Warm water also reduces spasticity and relaxes muscles.

For children with Autism aquatic therapy can focus on therapeutic play-based functional movement, improving range of motion, helping to facilitate neurodevelopmental growth, improved body awareness, increased balance, sensory integration, mobility skills and most importantly, having fun. The Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute defines Aquatic Therapy as "The use of water and specifically designed activity by qualified personnel to aid in the restoration, extension, maintenance and quality of function for persons with acute, transient, or chronic disabilities, syndromes or diseases". Clients with Autism present an interesting opportunity for recreational therapists to use aquatic therapy interventions as part of their overall treatment plan.

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