School District Tries To Switch IEPs For Girl With Angelmans Syndrome

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Mom Says School District Changes Autistic Daughter’s IEP, Balks At Letting Service Dog Come To School

The mother of a child on the autism spectrum wants you to read this story and ask yourself why did her daughter’s school district make the changes it did.

This is the story of five year old Devyn and her service dog Hannah. Devyn has “Angelmans Syndrome” — a combination of autism and epilepsy.

Hannah rarely leaves Devyn’s side. She can alert Devyn’s mom if Devyn is about to have a seizure and just by licking her face, Hannah can interrupt the seizure and help Devyn to start breathing again. 

The handle on her harness helps Devyn walk around independently.

So Devyn needs Hannah, especially at school. But just weeks before Devyn goes into kindergarten in the Gates Chili School District there are problems. For a while, the district said the dog couldn’t come. Now they say Hannah can come to school and Devyn can get her one-on-one aid. But the district refuses to train the aid on how to handle the dog.

Devyn’s mom can’t understand it and she wants you to know about it.

“It would help me to have the community understand where we’re at right now and maybe get their support to put a little pressure on the school as to why they’re not communicating with me because there’s been a break down somewhere and I can’t really figure out why we are where we are right now,” Heather Pereira, Devyn’s mother said.

Here’s where the breakdown started

In March, Devyn had an individualized education plan, or IEP. It said Devyn would get a one-on -one aid and a service dog. (See picture above)


But in June, the same IEP made no mention of the dog or the fact that three doctors prescribed it for Devyn. (See the picture above)

So how does that happen?

Heather says she got a notice from the district in the spring asking her to sign a form to correct the IEP. If she signed it they wouldn’t have to have a meeting. She had done it before, so she signed it this time.

But, Heather says the the district told her they were only correcting “clerical errors.” There was nothing about the dog. But when she gets the revised IEP in June, all reference to the dog was gone.

The Gates-Chili School District Statement

“The District has never denied a properly documented accommodation for any student, including a service dog. Furthermore, the District has never unilaterally changed an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for any child.”


4 thoughts on “School District Tries To Switch IEPs For Girl With Angelmans Syndrome

    Life and Ink said:
    08-17-2012 at 5:52 pm

    Sadly, it looks like it is time to get a special education attorney involved. So unfortunate that it has to has to come to that, but sometimes it does.

    beyondautismawareness responded:
    08-17-2012 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve found that the threat of doing something different during a CSE meeting like recording the meeting, or inviting a Special Ed attorney to attend is the impetus the school district needs to suddenly do things on the up and up. Additionally, in this case specifically, evidence exists to indicate a substantial change was made, and the ‘clerical error’ that needed to be corrected was indeed done on less than ethical means. Another advantage for the parents in this case is that a service dog was prescribed, and evidence exists that the dog does indeed provide the needed therapeutic effect for the child. Also, there is no discussion, request or documentation submitted by either party to ‘suddenly’ discontinue the service dog from the IEP. If I’m on this School District Special Ed board, I would fear for my job!

    Hello and Welcome « Falling on Deaf Ears said:
    09-18-2012 at 2:28 pm

    […] School District Tries To Switch IEPs For Girl With Angelmans Syndrome ( […]

    […] School District Tries To Switch IEPs For Girl With Angelmans Syndrome( […]

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