A Family's Struggle With Autism And The System

Lial and Doreen McCullough’s daughter hasn't been going to school this year. They took her out because they didn't like what she would be taught.

"Math social studies history art, I’m going, you say my daughter has a brain of a three year old and you're putting her in this,” says Lial McCullough.

Carmen has autism, is non verbal, and isn't potty trained at age 13. In public school Carmen only receives 30 minutes of speech therapy 4 times a year. Her parents say she isn't allowed in classes with other autistic children because they are too advanced for her. But her parents want more for her. They think Jennifer Simms' school might be the answer.

“Some of them are nonverbal, so they need additional support with speech therapy, and different communication systems in place,” says Jennifer Simms, School Administrator of the new Autism Therapeutic School in Rockford.

Those systems include a special program that allows non-verbal kids to communicate with pictures.

“Even her teacher said so. Carmen needs this they can giver her so much more at this other place than what Rockford schools can do,” says Lial.

But it costs money. The state pays for half of the price to go to the new school for autistic children. The only way to go to the autism therapeutic school is to have the home school willing to pay for the other half.

The McCullough’s have a meeting with their daughter’s school Tuesday. They say if the school won't pay they'll home school Carmen.


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