Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Discrimination against homeschoolers

If you are a board member of a non-profit organization that offers grants and scholarships to individuals with disabilities, please remember that homeschoolers will not have a current IEP for documentation. Please include other forms of documentation that are acceptable in order to confirm a diagnosis.

Non-profit organizations that offer scholarships to children on the autism spectrum and require either a current IEP (from the public school system) or MORE documentation than a public schooler would have to provide are DISCRIMINATORY against homeschoolers. You may not *intend* to be discriminatory. I suspect that many board members may not know families who homeschool children who would qualify for an IEP if those children were in public school.

One local non-profit's grant application process requires, "Proof of a diagnosis of Autism, Asperger's or PDD-NOS is required at the time of application and must be within the last three years." A homeschooler isn't going to keep taking a child for re-diagnosis. A public schooler will have IEPs updated at least yearly (usually more often).

The one I applied to most recently, a different organization, states:

"Applicants must provide (name-of-organization) verification of diagnosis from treating physician/s or current IEP (Individualized Education Plan)."

I suspect we're the first homeschooling family to apply.

I provided a verification of diagnosis from my child's treating physician, and was asked for more documentation, a recent report, for example. Autism is considered a lifelong condition. Once a child has been diagnosed with autism, families don’t usually have their children re-diagnosed. (Our most recent documentation, an ADOS and RDA in February of 2009, comes from our RDI® Program Certified Consultant, and that consultant is not a physician, and that does not meet the criteria.) Homeschoolers will not have a current IEP.

Please, board members, broaden your documentation criteria of diagnosis or disability for families who are homeschooling.

1 comment:

Heather L said...

Hey this is a great thing to make everyone aware. I have had problems with getting grants in my area because we homeschool. The "proper documentation is not possible". To me that sounds like a cop out! I am going to link to this post if you don't mind. My blog is looking for information just like this.
God bless
Heather L

PS I am still geeking out about meeting all my cyber buddies!:)

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