Dayton Mother Upset That Her Autistic Daughter Wasn't Allowed to Go on Field Trip

Reported by: Caitlyn Jones

Edited by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 5/03/2013 8:35 am
     Two days before Keonna's field trip to a produce shop with her class at Dayton City School, her mother Pj Atha got a call from the school asking she pick up Keonna and miss the field trip.
        "I asked them why and they said because she's not behaving very well, she's not listening, she's not minding," Atha said.
      Atha says it's not because her daughter is a discipline problem, it's because she's diagnosed with aspergers autism disorder.
        "She can't help it," said Atha, "I work with her and work with her on it.  I discipline her like I'm supposed to.  I do everything in my power, but at the end of the day, the autism is her. That's who she is."
     Atha is concerned the school simply can't handle her child's disorder, and says her only option would be to move so Keonna could attend another school with specific programs for autistic children.
        "She's been there for two years.  She knows three letters.  They said that she was progressing very well.  But that's not progressing very well when you only know three letters when you've been there three years," said Atha.
    Since she didn't want Keonna to miss out, Atha brought her on her own field trip to the store.
       "We parked our car and walked just like her class did.  We went over there, she showed us around the store, let Keanna pick up her own apple just like if she was with the class," Atha said.
        She went on to say, "It's not fair to them that they're not getting treated the way everybody else is getting treated and if nobody can give them that, then there's something wrong with society, not them."
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NickAndros423 - 5/26/2013 3:00 PM
0 Votes
I don't see where anybody elected you to speak for the other children as to what they are used to; but regardless, it isn't about acceptance from the other children (or me)... it's simply about school officials determining whether the behavior of one child would or could disrupt or diminish the educational experience of the others. And I'm familiar with FAPE... I'm also familiar with the 'wiggle room' between what's written in the legislation and what actually gets implemented in real life. Many of the standards of FAPE are defined by ongoing case law; and it's been determined that FAPE need not be the best possible education, or one that maximizes each child's potential (again, wiggle room for individual states and schools). And no, the school is NOT always required to provide an "aide" for a child with a disability... maybe you should peruse the case history of FAPE a little bit, before speaking of something YOU know nothing about. It depends on the specific situation, and what kind of "aide" it is. The courts have shot this notion down before, just so you know; and THEY are the ultimate authority... NOT you. If Keonna's mother feels strongly enough that her child is being denied a FAPE according to the standards set forth by the law, then she should take it to court to fight for her child; if the court were to rule in her favor, then obviously that would bear her out as having been right. Personally, I think she has much more of an argument for this with Keonna's lack of progress than with the field trip incident... the standards are more clearly defined in that regard.

Shelley73 - 5/15/2013 11:39 AM
0 Votes
And Nick it is policy. Every child by law has the right to a FAPE. If an aide is needed to help provide that then the school is required to provide it. Regardless of cost. I dont know why you bother to speak of something you know nothing about.

Shelley73 - 5/15/2013 11:35 AM
0 Votes
This child should have a paraprofessional. The mom should have demanded it. As for the previous posters comment about the other kids trip being ruined...well boo hoo! Those kids are used to the other child. I can see tou arent teaching your kids acceptance.

NickAndros423 - 5/8/2013 6:38 PM
0 Votes
@ jaliz: I totally disagree with you on the "no evidence..." thing. And you say "all they need to do for this child, was to get her an aide that could give her 1 to 1 attention" like it's such a simple solution (gee, why didn't anyone else think of that?). I strongly suspect that doing so would be much more logistically difficult than you're implying; and for an entity or organization to implement something like that, it has to become policy... such a policy could become extremely expensive (unaffordably so, by many schools' standards), whether it was so in a given semester/year or not. As far as your last comment goes... I don't have a clue where that came from; I don't recall anyone in the article even implying that special needs children weren't "just as important as so-called 'normal' (children)"... and I sure as hell didn't. Shake your head all you want to, but there was no nerve involved. The point wasn't the importance of the child to begin with; it was simply whether she should be allowed to participate in a school function, that her condition could potentially disrupt for the other children. I personally don't condemn the decision made by the school officials... I think they probably made the right call. I do, however, respect your opinion.

jaliz - 5/3/2013 5:18 PM
0 Votes
@nick... there is no evidence that accommodating the needs to this one child will diminish the needs or experiences of the others. All they need to do for this child, was to get her an aide that could give her 1 to 1 attention. That's all was needed. Special needs children are just as important as so called "normal". smh the nerve of that person....

jaliz - 5/3/2013 5:12 PM
1 Vote
I am so glad she spoke up about her child. I have an autistic little girl too and yes it is a challenge going places with her. But she still need to be exposed to going out on trips. The schools claims that special needs kids should be in a inclusive class with their peers. Well, if they that is true then they are suppose to accommodate her disability. Please...Fight and get your child in a better school. She is not progressing where she is. There must be an advocate that can help you. They are just trying to avoid paying for an appropriate education for her. If she has asperger's then she still should be doing way better than that.

NickAndros423 - 5/3/2013 11:35 AM
0 Votes
What wouldn't "be fair" is to diminish the (learning) experience of the other children without such needs to accommodate one 'special child'. That's penalizing the many to placate the few... and it's a detrimental practice in any society. "Three letters in two years"? Uh, yeah... it may be time to consider another school with specific programs for autistic children. For the record, Keonna is adorable; I certainly hope she receives the care and education that she deserves.
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