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School says Autistic student may not be able to go to school 7th-grade camp because his blurting is disruptive



My 7th-grade son has autism and ADHD. He has an issue with blurting out during class and school events. Blurting is explicitly discussed in his IEP in the Present Levels section and as an IEP goal. He is receiving direct instruction to decrease his blurting through his IEP. He is also receiving social and conversational skills training through Easter Seals.

The assistant principal called me this morning and told me that my son repeatedly blurted out during an informational session about the upcoming 7th grade overnight camp. He said that my son's blurting behavior is disruptive and "willful" and that he might not be able to go to camp. He says that we need to have a meeting about it, along with his IEP case manager.

I sent the assistant principal and case manager an email saying that I'm happy to meet about camp. I also said that it's important that my son not be excluded from school activities due to his disability. I do not believe that blurting is an appropriate reason to exclude an Autistic student from 7th-grade camp.

I am wondering if the school has the right to exclude my son from camp. The camp involves 2 nights away from home, sleeping in cabins and doing summer camp type activities. Do you have recommendations for how to handle this meeting and next steps? Thank you!


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I'd email the assistant principal documenting your understanding of the conversation and her position. Ask that she please let you know right away if you misunderstood something.

Depending on her response and/or how your meeting goes, I'd ask for a copy of the district's policy for who gets to go to camp and who doesn't.

If you believe the district is discriminating on the basis of disability, you could go through their 504 complaint procedures, or, you could file a complaint directly with the Office of Civil Rights. Lisa has info on that at https://adayinourshoes.com/office-civil-rights-complaint-special-education/#h-when-to-file-an-ocr-504-complaint.

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I'm with you.  Impulsivity comes with an ADHD diagnosis.  It comes from the frontal lobe not being as well developed due to the disability.  It's not willful, it's developmental (I'm also not sure the SDI to stop this will be all that effective).  I see blurting out as coming for the disability where it needs to be accommodated for by the school - not punished by the principal.  I wish that adults in schools had better training on disabilities - especially common ones like ADHD - and what to expect from a student with that disability.

I'd go into the meeting with documentation that this comes from the disability and ask what can be put into the IEP to accommodate your child and his disability...as required under IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA.

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