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Mother said school administration told son to get autism in chec - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Mother said school administration told son to get autism in check or get suspended

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A mother said she had to pick her autistic 6-year old son up from school just days after it started for being too disruptive. She said he was told to get his autism in check or he would be suspended. A mother said she had to pick her autistic 6-year old son up from school just days after it started for being too disruptive. She said he was told to get his autism in check or he would be suspended.

School started in Acadia Parish less than a week ago, and one mother says her autistic first-grade son has already been sent home from school. 

Xavier Gresham's mother, LaKesha Peters, said when she went to pick up her son, school administration said he had been talking out of turn repeatedly and disrupting his class. Peters said that behavior falls under the spectrum of autism her son is classified in.   

"They then went on to tell us that after being sent home they would try again Monday, but if he spoke out of turn, or if he didn't get control of, as she said, 'his behaviors,' that he would go into ISS, which is in school suspension," Peters said. "If that didn't work they were suspending him for the year."

Peters is upset because her son is ahead academically, but he struggles socially because of autism. 

"Right now the only option we have is to take him out of school and to home-school him," Peters said. "He's not getting the social interaction he needs there. He's not going to develop right."

The problem is her son is not classified autistic by the school system.  He has only been classified by a doctor.  Because of that, the Acadia Parish School System does not have to provide special services.

Peters said she's requested an evaluation multiple times for Xavier, but she said she was told her child was too smart.

Acadia Parish School System officials could not address this specific incident concerning the 6 year old, but they said they have programs set up for kids with autism.

"We use the state criteria to start looking at what interventions are available and start helping that student as a team, identifying what their needs are and what direction we need to take," said Andrea Gautreaux, a social worker for the school system.

Gautreaux said they know that every autistic child's needs are different, so they try to cater to them.  She said some students can be kept in the classrooms with other students but need some additional support.  She said others are put in a "self-contained" environment. Gautreaux said they have specially trained teachers who work with the child based on a plan tailored to that specific child.

Peters emphasized it is not a learning disability that her son has, so special education is not what he needs. She wants something done, because she said she knows Xavier is not the only one struggling with this problem. 
  
"I want a class where these kids can go to learn where the teachers are trained to handle kids with needs like this not learning disabilities," Peters said. "If you give them a chance they will surpass everyone in their grade if not higher than them. I just want my son to be able to have an education in a group environment and not get discriminated against because of his autism." 

Xavier was back in school today. 

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