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Old 01-05-2006, 10:12 AM   #1
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Qualifications of aides in public schools

I have a question for those of you with children in public schools - have the aides who work with your kids received any kind of training to work with autistic kids or have they even received any kind of special education certification or licensing? Here in Indiana the Special Ed. law states that professionals and paraprofessionals are to be licensed or at least receive training to work with the specific kinds of disabilities the kids they work with have. I'm almost positive that the aides at my son's school have never received any kind of training related to autism, but I'm sure going to find out.
How many of you know whether your childrens' teachers have received any kind of autism training? Some of the teachers at my son's school went to a one-day workshop a couple of years ago and that's it. One day to learn about autism? Give me a break! Given the dramatic increase that we've seen in children with autism, I think that school systems should require all teachers and aides to receive training yearly!
The more I deal with the staff at school and the more I hear what other parents of autistic children are dealing with, I'm coming to realize that "Free and Appropriate Education" actually means "doing just enough to get by" or "doing the least amount possible". I'm so tired of hearing all the excuses why our children can't get more services - not enough funding, not enough qualified staff, etc. At the beginning of the school year I heard that our Special Ed. director said that my son doesn't need an aide because he is high-functioning. That made me so furious I couldn't think straight. She never would have made that remark if she had any clue at all about the needs of ALL autistic kids, regardless where they are on the spectrum. My son is fortunate to have a wonderful teacher and a wonderful special ed. teacher who really care about his well-being, but they can only do so much - they're limited by a person who is ignorant and who doesn't really have an idea what our kids need.
How can we as parents make changes happen? How can we get the school systems listen to us? I would love to hear from any of you who have fought the school system and won!

 
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Qualifications of aides in public schools

Not a parent here but the assistants in our schools have little to no training in special ed and the special ed teachers generally have no experience with autism. In most cases they are just a warm babysitting body. A shame, I know.

 
Old 01-05-2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: Qualifications of aides in public schools

I also am a hoosier and the aides that are hired in our public schools come in without any training and are paid minimum wage. They may attend workshops here and there but no certification. My son did not have an aide although we felt it might have been helpful in the beginning. Aides were generally provided for the children with discipline problems or where safety was an issue. Had we fought for it I believe we could have gotten one. I have fought the school over issues and won. I didn't get real good at it until his junior high and high school years. Fighting for your child meets with alot of resistance and you are not always well liked by the administration but they figure out real quick that you won't put up with any. Knowing the law helps. Also seek advice from advocates and don't be afraid to contact the State Board of Education.
My SIL was an aide to a disabled child for one year. The comments that were made before the parents came into the room for the annual case conference was not to offer anything and that what the parents don't know won't hurt them. This happened in the school system that my son attended. That's when I decided that I wouldn't just accept what they said my son could get or not get.

 
Old 01-12-2006, 08:33 AM   #4
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Re: Qualifications of aides in public schools

I was actually an aide in a township school in Indiana for 3 years. 1 year was spent with an autistic boy. What a sweethart! To answer your question, at that time (first year was 6 years ago) no, there was no formal training. Our special education teacher we worked with was absolutely amazing and actually specialized in autisim. He made sure we had a lot of training days and classes, but no certification at that time, and I agree with you, you can't learn about autism in one day! We got by daily by reading on our own and trying out different methods we thought might get through to the 2 autistic kiddos in our room. The parents were not involved in the schooling aspect of their child's lives at all so we were pretty much on our own. It was sad- if I were that parent you'd better believe I'd do all I could to help the aides know how to better service the kids. Anyway, now in the state of Indiana aides have to have at least an associates degree to hold a position, but many aides have been grandfathered in and do not hold any type of degree.

 
Old 01-12-2006, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Qualifications of aides in public schools

i know that my daughter's teacher has had extensive training in autism, but the aides have had no training at all. i have been having a lot of problems with the school regarding my daughter, so i was going to make an issue about the aides having no training, but then i talked to a friend of mine (who is in an upper level of the school system in another district) who said that he does not think that there is a law in our state that says that aides have to have ANY type of formal training for special needs.

now i'm kind of stuck in a corner with no way out. frustrating. grr.

 
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