Story of Justice: Alex* Gets a School Equipped for his Special Needs
Alex* is a thirteen-year-old diagnosed with Autism and Language Impairment. Alex had been recently enrolled at a school which was unequipped to handle his needs. During an IEP Meeting at school, many negative comments were made by school staff to Alex’s father. During this meeting, Alex’s father expressed that his son tends to “reach out to a person with his hands as a way of communication.” A staff member stated that she was worried that Alex may attack other kids. His father responded, “While he has had aggressive episodes at school, he just needs an area in the room where he can go to gather his emotions.” The school stated that they did not have an area for Alex to go to nor enough staff to assist Alex if he displays behavioral issues. All of these comments left Alex’s father in a state of uncertainty.
Alex had been enrolled at this school for three weeks when he got suspended for being aggressive with a staff member. The school staff even threatened to have him arrested. During those three weeks, Alex’s father had repeatedly reached out to the teachers to set up a weekly form of communication, but received no response from the staff. After Alex’s suspension, his father attempted to get more information about the incident, but never received a response.
Not knowing what to do, Alex’s father reached out to Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) for assistance. The priority was for Alex to be placed properly. LAS researched and explored various placement options to help Alex find a school that could meet his needs. After a lengthy research, LAS identified a more appropriate placement for the child and assisted Alex’ father with the application process.
Why It Matters
About a month later, Alex was accepted and enrolled at an appropriate learning center. LAS swiftly set up a meeting between Alex’ father, the ESE Department and Alex’s teachers and support staff at this new learning center. During this meeting, there was a flood of positive comments about Alex. It was clear that the new center was happy to have Alex. They understood his needs and were well equipped to handle them. The teachers gave positive feedback and were willing to listen to the father’s concerns and input.
Today, Alex is still at this learning center and is flourishing in his academics. Alex’s father can see growth and happiness in his son and can worry less knowing that he is in an appropriate placement. Alex and his father are grateful for Legal Aid’s involvement and the impact it will have on the overall trajectory of Alex’s life.
*Names, images, and some datils have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients
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